protects hearing and morale

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Review by Greedo posted 11-06-2011 11:15 AM 3533 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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A hearing protector with built in radio is something i had always wanted, but it was hard for my pragmatic brain to get over the price tag for something that i thought was an unnecessary luxury.
The first thing i do when i enter the shop is to turn on the radio with my favorite station, i like to listen to music, comedy programs, debates etc… It occupies my mind and makes work less monotone.
One problem is that in woodworking you are using noisy machines half the time and wearing a hearing protector so you can’t really follow any programs or enjoy music.
I even admit that when there was a song i liked allot, or an interesting debate, i would just wait for it to end before continuing to work. The other option was to continue work frustrated on having to miss out on something.
I even arranged my work so that i did most of the noisy work before 4PM because then starts a comedy show that i like to hear, so i don’t miss out on the jokes… thats wasn’t always possible.

So i finally decided to threat myself to a hearing protector with built in radio.
I went for the Bilsom radio from Howard Leight, i liked the looks but it wasn’t cheap around €90 including 21% VAT, still alot less expensive than some others that were around €400-600 but had built in walky talky and such. I ordered it from a dutch site that had the best price, most others were selling it around €120.

I had a few fears about it that all proved to be wrong,

-that it wouldn’t receive my favorite station well because i need to hang my normal radio in awkward places in order to receive well in my workshop. Wrong, i can receive it perfectly anywhere around the workshop with great sound quality.

-That the channel selection knob would constantly unset the channel through vibrations or manipulation, Wrong, the knob is quite sturdy to turn and won’t move by accident.

- That i would need to change or charge the batteries weekly or more. Wrong, it’s been 5 weeks since i had the radio, i use it several hours a day, even left it on an entire night by accident. And still no signs of battery weakening.

- And lastly that it would hurt my ears, as all the hearing protectors or headsets that i had up to now were painful to wear for long periods. Again wrong, it’s a pleasure to wear for hours and doesn’t hurt my ears.

This little investment has made my work less monotone and increased my productivity, it doesn’t distract me when i am doing risky operations as i just ignore it when i am concentrated. It still works well when using protective glasses underneath.

Only negative elements could be that some powertool engines disturb the reception, like my Bosch drill( the festool doesn’t somehow), the routers and miter saw.
Channels are selected with a turn knob, no preselection possible and no possibility to connect to mp3 player, which in my case is not a problem as i wouldn’t use that anyway.
And it comes with 2 non rechargeable batteries, i will need to buy rechargeable ones when the current ones decide to go dead.

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 4085 days

13 comments so far

View ajosephg's profile


1898 posts in 4686 days

#1 posted 11-06-2011 01:30 PM

Thanks for sharing, I had never heard of this brand.

-- Joe

View CampD's profile


1832 posts in 4611 days

#2 posted 11-06-2011 06:48 PM

I do the exact same time wasting things you did.
I had the same fears about wearing a headset all day.
Never heard of that brand here in the states, I’ll look it up
Thanks for the review, makes this guy one step closer.

-- Doug...

View Mike's profile


409 posts in 3812 days

#3 posted 11-06-2011 07:33 PM

I have a similar pair by another vendor and I love them. I even got a Whole House Transmitter that I connect to my computer so I can stream my own playlists and webcasts. I really am glad that I have these so I don’t wreck a radio with the saw dust.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3818 days

#4 posted 11-06-2011 07:34 PM

I want one of these too. I just installed a new audio system in my shop yesterday (literally). I just turn it up louder than the tools. You think this is a bad strategy, lol? ;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View mmax's profile


185 posts in 4580 days

#5 posted 11-06-2011 11:04 PM sells them in the U.S. for $145.99. Grainger also sells one for $68 that does have capability for mp3.

-- Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3905 days

#6 posted 11-07-2011 05:24 PM

Ahhhh, if you turn the sound louder than the tools, then you need the hearing protection anyway ?


-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View CodyJames's profile


78 posts in 3531 days

#7 posted 11-07-2011 06:43 PM

I do something very similar except with an Ipad and the Time Warner Cable application so I can watch TV, I use wireless headphones with my iPad.

Radio Shack has wireless headphones for like 60 bucks, hook them to the radio or whatever, TV, stereo, computer, ipod….

View 308Gap's profile


337 posts in 4128 days

#8 posted 11-07-2011 11:21 PM

I’ve been using this brand for a few years without any issue. They are for shooting primarily and then in the garage also. Great value for the price, the peltor brand does the same thing but for more money. The model I have has aux. jack for an ipod also or 2 way radios. The nice part is you adjust for ambient sound level like normal speech but still block harmful sound levels. I would buy another pair without question.

-- Thank You Veterans!

View TimberMan's profile


115 posts in 4589 days

#9 posted 11-08-2011 03:00 AM

Nice post. I have never seen this brand.

For those that are using this type of hearing protection, what are you using for eye protection. I find that any type of glasses that I try to wear under the ear cushions ends up causing discomfort after a short period of time. I also like to use my to listen to music while cutting my lawn and have the same problem with sunglasses.

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 4085 days

#10 posted 11-08-2011 08:56 AM

TimberMan, i am using regular protective glasses under it, the cushions are very soft and the spring action on the set is quite hard so it really presses the set on your ears. Feels weird in the beginning because its rather heavy and very tight, but it doesn’t cause any discomfort so you literally forget you are wearing them.
My protective glasses are of the softer plastic kind with wide and flat braces, they don’t hurt when pressed against your head. They may have been designed with that in mind.

View CodyJames's profile


78 posts in 3531 days

#11 posted 11-08-2011 12:35 PM

308Gap, those look nice, I always wondered about the claims of “Letting conversation be heard while blocking out harmful noise”.

I wasn’t even going to look at anything like this until I spoke with someone who used them with success.

For glasses, I recently got progressive prescriptions but they bug me when I am looking around to much(hard to explain). SO I use Dewalt cheapies I get from Lowe’s. THey do “ok” they have to big of a gap between your cheek and lower eye piece that will sometime let sawdust blow in to your eyes, but other than that I barely know they’re there. Plus with the lathe I use a full facer.

View 308Gap's profile


337 posts in 4128 days

#12 posted 11-08-2011 09:56 PM

Cody the ambient sound level is adjustable, so you can turn normal conversation up or down. I can talk normal to the guy on my left while the guy on my right is shooting. The second the sound exceeds the db limit it goes quiet for a second. With 25 guys on the line I can hear everyone complain or I can dial it down to just the guy next to me. I can also plug in my walkie and talk to the guy pulling my target and be able to hear him clearly. Battery life is great also, as they have auto shut off.

-- Thank You Veterans!

View Kelen's profile


270 posts in 3517 days

#13 posted 11-08-2011 11:39 PM

Great review. I do the same thing that you do when I enter my shop, turn on the radio. I’ve been in the market for one of these but have been a little cautious about some of the reviews I’ve been reading. I’ll have to look into this brand a little more. With Christmas around the corner, I’m sure my wife would love to purchase one of these for me!

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