Electronic hearing protection has become increasingly popular in recent years. Advances in technology have allowed users to protect their hearing, while still being able to interact with those around them.
Any noise that is above 85 decibels (db) is harmful to your hearing. For reference, a conversation is typically around 60 db and a concert can be over 100 db. Which is why your ears are typically ringing while driving home from watching your favorite rock band.
The first and foremost consideration when selecting any hearing protection is the level of protection it provides.
Hearing protection is rated by how much it lowers the ambient noise around you; this is called the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) and it is also measured in db. For example, if you were wearing hearing protection with an NRR of 20db and you were mowing the lawn and the sound of the lawnmower was 100db, then the sound reaching your ears would be 80db. This is below the safe threshold for your hearing.
Your hearing protection selection needs to be appropriate for where you will be using it. The noisier the environment, the more NRR you will want. However, more NRR generally comes with a tradeoff of being bulkier and more expensive.
After NRR you should consider comfort. Electronic hearing protection is typically worn for long periods of time such as an entire workday at an airport or construction site. Sacrificing comfort can lead to sore spots, and earmuffs that you can’t stand to wear won’t provide any protection at all.
Finally, the factors of price and style apply here as they do to all purchases. We all want to get the best value for our money, and who doesn’t want to look good?
The Tactical Pro is the top end electronic earmuff product offering from Peltor. It is designed for use in the noisiest environments and boasts the highest NRR of their product line at 26db.
To get a feel for the differences in the model offerings a good comparison is the Peltor Tactical 6s. The 6s is noticeably slimmer and cheaper than the Tactical Pro, but only offers an NRR of 19, a full 7db less than the Tactical Pro.
The Tactical Pro was certainly designed with the professional in mind. This is evident from the ground up in the design. The larger form factor provides superior noise reduction and the headband and ear cup padding are extremely comfortable for long-term wear.
One feature I particularly like is the large size of the recessed control buttons. This may seem like a small thing, but while wearing a pair of bulky gloves at the end of a long day of work, the attention to small details like this will be greatly appreciated.
The external microphones are set to capture 360 degrees of ambient noise, ensuring you don’t miss anyone talking to you, even if your back is turned to them. Many competitors such as the Howard Leight Impact Pro use recessed microphones. While this may lower the form factor of the earmuffs slightly, in my opinion the recessed microphones come with the tradeoff of less amplification coverage.
The Tactical Pro is also designed to work with portable radios. This can be a must have features for environments such as airports and heavy machinery operators who must be able to make frequent radio calls when doing their job.
Price is definitely a concern when looking at any Peltor product offering as they are at the top end of the category. While I’m writing this, the Tactical Pro is listed at $195 on Amazon while the comparable Impact Pro by Howard Leight is listed at only $66. Peltor is absolutely the biggest name in electronic earmuffs, but that is a large price difference for a very comparable product.
Some users have also reported battery life issues while using the Tactical Pro. The most common complaint is that the low battery warning doesn’t give the wearer much time before they go dead, only about 5 minutes. So if you don’t have a set of fresh batteries handy you might loose the noise amplification and radio integration features.
Let’s take a quick look at the advantages of the Peltor Tactical Pro.
Protection: The Tactical Pros have an NRR of 26. This is ample protection for many job sites. Competitor products do have NRRs of up to 30db, but this is still a very respectable level of hearing protection.
Form Factor: These were designed with the worker in mind. The comfort and ergonomics with the large control buttons mean that these will easily be able to be worn for all day comfort.
Radio Integration: This is a must have for jobs that require the wearer to be on the radio to communicate throughout their workday.
Price: The Tactical Pros are expensive. If price is a consideration there are comparable models on the market for far cheaper. However, none of them come with Peltor’s reputation for outstanding hearing protection.
Battery Life: Some users have reported battery life issues and complained about the short low battery-life warning indicator. Make sure you purchase a pair of spare batteries to keep with you while using them.
As you can see from this Peltor Tactical Pro Review, they are an outstanding pair of electronic earmuffs. For most work environments you couldn’t go wrong with choosing these as your daily hearing protection.
That being said, if price is a concern, you can find some very comparable offerings on the market at a much lower price. If you are willing to stray from the Peltor brand name this can lead to significant savings.