Electronic Noise Protection Impresses Farmer!
It’s true to say that farmers can be a tough bunch to please (or was that just my Dad?) anyway, they usually have enough on their plates to worry about the latest gizmo. Particularly when it comes to spending money too, come to think of it. And when you are no longer officially a country-lad.
If you want to skip the story and go straight to what other people said, go to the botom of this post. Otherwise read on….
Men with Guns
So it was with a little trepidation and some feeling of being a prodigal son that I met up with a bunch of heavily armed Bucks farmers for a day’s shooting on one of the last days of the 2012/13 season in January. Slightly worried about the social implications of looking after my hearing in public, I also took along a few sets of our electronic noise protection from Etymotic Research.
Fortunately, things have moved on since I was a lad, and earplugs are very acceptable (I wonder if this extends to the unacceptability of being the culprit of your own hearing problems?). So there was a range of Hocks filters and solid plugs on show, much like the ones that we manufacture at PC Werth. Less in the way of over ear muffs too, come to think of it: over ears tend to get in the way and be a bit sweaty. However, I went electronic – mainly because I could, but also because I wanted to see if they really would be as good as I wanted them to be:
- electronic means you can hear normally until you need protection
- the hearing enhancement feature boosts faint sounds, which could be good out on the peg
- but I was worried that wind noise would be a problem…
So I trialled a pair of Etymotic GSP1s. Nice thing about these is that they are not custom fit, so you can whack them in there and then (and then get a custom tip afterwards for comfort and an even better seal)
Out in the Woods
First things first. I left my plugs in all day. No one let off a shot unexpectedly, but I guess there is always that risk (assuming you are not in the way, in which case your ears are the least of your problems), but it did mean less phaffing about putting plugs in and taking them out every 5 minutes. So, with a GSP1, you are always protected: put them in at the beginning of the day and you won’t forget to put them in for the next drive. Vital that – it only takes one shot to do you damage, after all.
I Can Hear You
Next thing – toggling between hearing enhancement on and off. Hmmm – ok it was very useful, but in truth, it was pretty much better with it on the whole time. You could hear when the drive started, so you could get ready nice and early. Try that wearing a set of solid plugs! That said, there were the odd occasions, when turning it off worked better too, so this is another useful feature.
Whistle Down the Wind
Yes there was windnoise. It was a very windy day (which made for some great shooting) but the main thing was that it was not a problem. You hear the wind with your ears uncovered after all, so the worst I can say is that wind was comparably intrusive to being au-naturel.
The End Result
My GSPs were better than I remembered when I first tested them (I tested the HD-15 version chainsawing last summer): the only way I can describe it is that my head did not feel battered and “full-feeling” at the end of the day. No ringing, no temporary hearing difficulty – just notable feeling of normality round the table at supper. This was a first for me and was also commented on by the other users (note that these are farming folk – not known for their love of hearing protection or H&S)
If you don’t beleive me here’s what the others said….
2 other chaps shot with GSPs this fine day – here’s what they said – I love the comment about the pickers – and well, the less said about the last sentence the better!
“They are every thing I was hoping for, comfortable and effective without the bulk of sonic ear defenders which I cannot get on with. They enhanced every sound, weird at first when I started hearing the disillusioned mutterings of the pickers up.
“I can see benefites in the farming work place. Lack of bulk and sound enhancement might encourage longer periods of use rather than the desperate want to get ear defenders off ones head on a hot day. Watch the cost, we are tight bastards, maybe improve the storage so we can see longevity in our investment.”
“A note to say that I thought you electronic ear defenders a massive improvement on anything I have used before. On a day involving 500 12 bore shots I can honestly say that my hearing was as sound at the end of the day as at the beginning: I have never been able to say that before. And the earplugs were a snug & comfortable fit, almost as if you didn’t know they were there. And they stayed in place all through the day. Your ear plugs are a real must.”
Just to cap it all off, Etymotic GSP and HD series noise protection can be bought from PC Werth and from the PC Werth store