MSA Africa has introduced Bluetooth technology into several product groups in its Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) range, such as hearing devices. This latest development in technology enhances health and safety even further in dangerous working environments such as underground mining.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances, using short wavelength UHF radio waves in the ISM band from 2.4 to 2.485 GHz, from fixed and mobile devices. A Bluetooth product contains a small computer chip with a Bluetooth radio and software.
When two Bluetooth devices want to speak to each other, they first need to be paired up. One common application is to stream voice or music from a phone or tablet to a wireless audio headset or hands-free connection in a car. Until now, connected items have been part of our daily personal life. This trend is now entering the world of PPE.
There are three different categories of hearing protection. Passive ear muffs are the most commonly used, offering mechanical attenuation, and containing no electronics. This solution is suitable for applications where there is no need for communication, or a critical need for awareness of the surrounding environment.
Active hearing protection supports the wearer in many situations such as when they need to communicate with co-workers, or need to hear environmental sounds crucial for safety. Here MSA´s CutOff technology allows for awareness of surrounding sounds, as the sound is reproduced inside the ear muff with an adjustable gain.
However, in some applications, workers need to communicate in a very noisy environment with the client or the back office. People working alone while operating noisy equipment, such as underground mineworkers, need to remain connected in order to receive incoming communications from a team-mate or foreman.
Connected hearing protection such as MSA´s new left/RIGHT Wireless World (WW) technology meets this particular need. With its integrated Bluetooth function, the hearing protection can be connected easily to any compatible mobile phone or Bluetooth radio. Incoming calls can be received while working in noisy environments, and while staying protected, with a safe sound level inside the ear muff. For optimal performance, highly-efficient microphone filters eliminate surrounding noise for the caller.
Two product configurations are available, namely left/RIGHT WW with Bluetooth and AUX input socket and left/RIGHT WW Dual with CutOff environmental sound function and a built-in FM radio tuner. The left/RIGHT WW products are available as a headband version or helmet-mounted version, with enclosed adapters to fit various helmet models.