Your hearing is vitally important, and if you’ve ever left from shooting with your ears ringing, you know just how fragile it can be. That’s why professionals in hazardous noise environments wear hearing protection.
3M Peltor has an extensive line of electronic earplugs in the TEP and EEP series.
EEP – Electronic Ear Plugs
TEP – 3M Peltor Tactical Earplug
LEP – Level-Dependent Active Ear Plugs
We explain the difference between the two later in the article, but first, we will review the 3M Peltor TEP 200 Tactical earplug.
The TEP-200 is Peltor’s upgraded electronic ear plug offering. As a result, they really compare best to other electronic earmuffs, such as the Peltor Tactical Pro, which is aimed at the same target consumer. The Peltor TEP-100 Tactical earplug, as its predecessor, is still available.
The first thing to note is that they have an outstanding NRR of 30 with the Skull Screws ear tips. This is much higher than the NRR of 26 of the Tactical Pro and higher than other brands, such as the Clarus Pro, which only has an NRR of 25. This makes it an outstanding choice for loud and challenging environments.
- High NRR: Provide hearing protection with the Skull Screws tip; the 3M Peltor TEP-200 provides an NRR of 30. This is outstanding and surpasses nearly all other electronic protection-style earplugs.
- Comfort: Multiple tip designs in varying sizes means everyone should find a fit that works for them.
- Charge-on-the-Go: An innovative charging case allows you to recharge the earplugs while on the go using only AA batteries.
- Improve situational awareness: 3M Peltor TEP-200 uses environmental microphones to amplify certain sounds.
TEP 200 Two-Way Radio Communication
There is communication type environmental listening to pick up audio signals with the neckloop accessory. For two-way communication, two-way radios are needed for monitoring radio frequencies and receiving communications wirelessly.
Communications can also be received wirelessly through your cell phone via shoulder microphones in the neckloop, which is sold separately.
The small antenna in the 3M Peltor TEP 200 allows it to communicate with the neckloop accessory. This neckloop accessory provides wireless connectivity to cell phone sound sources or external audio input.
3M Peltor TEP-200 Comfort
The 3M TEP-200 rates high in comfort. Users tend to report finding them very comfortable for all-day wear. In addition, the kit comes with 4 sets of replaceable tips, and additional ones are available for purchase in several materials and sizes, so finding a comfortable fit shouldn’t be a problem with a little trial and error.
The ear pieces are also comfortable under face shields and some helmets.
Long Battery Life & Rechargeable Feature:
The 3M Peltor TEP-200s have an interesting recharging design to extend battery life. The case holds 3 AA batteries that you can use to recharge the earplugs. Micro-USB through the case is also an option. The earplugs have a long battery life lasting up to 16 hours of continuous use. In addition, you can charge on the go with the case.
3M Peltor TEP 200 Noise Amplification
With this ear protection, environmental microphones amplify ambient sounds for clear communication when being worn. One issue users have reported with the TEP-200 is the quality of noise reproduction. The noise amplification does not tend to be as crisp as over-ear electronic hearing protection. Wind noise in outdoor environments, in particular, is a problem as it can drown out all other sounds you may want to be amplified.
This is a general problem with the inner ear electronic hearing protection category more than just this product. It’s difficult to fit the electronics necessary for the noise amplification into such a small package, so quality issues, compared to the larger over-ear electronic earmuffs, are not surprising.
3M Peltor TEP-100 vs. TEP-200
The Peltor TEP-200 Tactical Earplug Kit is a newer model, with several differences between them and the Tep-100. First, you’ll notice that TEP-200 has an NRR of 23dB, much lower than the TEP-100, which is 30 dB. Second, the battery life will last you about the same time, up to 16 hours of continuous operation. You can then recharge the TEP-200 via Mirco USB or a 3 AA battery.
The design of both models is the same, meaning there shouldn’t be any difference in the comfort they bring. Regarding the price, the 3M Peltor TEP-200 has a slightly higher price than the TEP-100.
Both improve situational awareness and help protect your hearing from harmful noise levels; any Peltor electronic earplug helps, has a great price for what you get, and you can’t go wrong with any of the models.
3M TEP-100 Peltor Ambient Listening Earplugs. Utilizing state-of-the-art, sound-level-dependent hearing protection technology, the TEP-100 is a compact, lightweight, and rechargeable electronic earplug designed for military, tactical law enforcement, construction, manufacturing, and maintenance applications.
Ambient listening earplugs help protect your hearing and can help improve situational awareness and communication in challenging environments. Integrated with state-of-the-art level-dependent technology, the 3M Peltor TEP-100 helps provide hearing protection in noise and situational awareness in quiet environments.
LEP vs TEP
The LEP earplug has a level-dependent function which adapts to your hearing environment. The 3M Peltor Tactical earplug is more suited for impulse noise suppression.
Peltor Ambient Listening Earplug Features
- Rechargeable electronic earplugs help reduce loud noise while amplifying low-level sounds
- Intuitive one-button operation turns unit on and off and selects high or normal volume setting
- Lithium-Ion battery provides up to 16 hours of continuous operation between charges
- Portable charging case powered by 3 AA alkaline batteries or USB (Micro B) port
- Choice of replaceable communications ear tips designed to fit most ear canal sizes: UltraFit™ Communication Tip (23dB), Triple C Communication Tip (27dB), and Skull Screw Communication Tip (30dB)
- Tactical earplugs and portable charging station (with cover and USB ports closed) are IP67 compliant and water-resistant
- immersion of up to 1 meter for 30 minutes)
- Innovative microphone port design helps protect ear canals against water ingress.
- A portable charging station helps protect earplugs in wet and austere environments.
- Compatible with most head borne Personal Protective Equipment such as helmets, hardhats, eyewear and Faceshield
- Optional earplug cord can be attached to earplug for additional security
- GSA APPROVED PRODUCT GSA CONTRACT #GS-35F-228BA
Hearing protection falls into two major categories, inner ear and outer ear. Inner ear products are inserted into the ear canal itself. Oftentimes this is a simple piece of foam, but as you’ll see in this 3M Peltor Tep-100 review, it can be considerably more advanced.
Outer ear products are better known as earmuffs. These cups sit over the ears, typically with a headband running between them.
Each type of hearing protection has its advantages. For example, inner ear protection offers greater protection, referred to as Noise Reduction Rating or NRR. It is also more comfortable to wear with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as hard hats or helmets.
Outer ear protection or earmuffs are generally more comfortable for long-term wear and easier to remove and put back on if walking in and out of a hazardous noise area. However, if you wear them outside on a hot day, they may feel too hot on your ears. In addition to this, generally, you can’t wear earmuffs with some helmets. But yes, noise-attenuating headsets are intrinsically safe and are better for long-term comfort.
My Criteria For Choosing The Right Hearing Protection:
No matter what type of hearing protection you are considering purchasing, the main consideration is always NRR. NRR is measured in decibels (dB), and the higher the number, the better the protection it provides.
The more challenging the noise environment, the higher NRR you will want to purchase. For more hazardous noise environments such as indoor shooting ranges, factories, and construction sites, you will want an NRR of near or above 30.
Outdoor activities such as hunting or mowing the lawn typically require a much lower NRR in the lower 20s. More protection isn’t necessarily better or worse; you need to ensure it’s appropriate for the environment you will be using it for.
With inner ear protection, next, I look at comfort. Inner ear protection can get uncomfortable, if not downright painful when worn for a long period of time. The outward pressure on the inner ear canal can lead to soreness when worn for hours. After being on your feet for a long shift, the last thing you want is pain caused by your hearing protection.
Finally, battery life is always a concern with any electronic hearing protection. The noise amplification technology is only as good as long as it has power, and short battery life can limit its practical usefulness.
Electronic vs. Non-Electronic Hearing Protection:
Within each category, there are electronic and non-electronic offerings. For example, non-electronic hearing protection blocks the sound entering the ear by creating a physical barrier.
The Best electronic ear plugs include a microphone to pick up sounds that aren’t hazardous to the user and then relay them through the physical barrier of the hearing protection. The result is that you are protected from the sounds that will harm your hearing but can still hear the ones that won’t, such as human speech.
Inner ear electronic hearing protection, such as the Peltor TEP-200 and TEP-100 we’re reviewing today, are some of the most advanced on the market. So let’s dive in and take a closer look.
You may also want to check out the Walker Game Ear Hearing Amplifier Review.
If you’re looking for inner-ear electronic earplugs that protect your hearing from hazardous noise levels, then the 3M Peltor TEP-200 and 3M Peltor TEP-100 Tactical Earplugs are the best to consider.
The overall protection, comfort and form factor make them an excellent choice. In addition, they have a high 30dB noise reduction rating, so if you are shooting at an indoor range or out hunting, they’ll provide a high level of protection.
With the long battery life of the 3M Peltor TEP 200, you can use them for up to 16 hours straight. In addition, these earplugs come with a portable charging case, which allows you to recharge the batteries on the go.