Return to blog

Think about headsets, there are many options available for industrial customers to consider these days. From simple passive headsets that deliver a basic hearing protection solution to sophisticated electronic headsets that use Digital Signal Processing to separate speech from noise.

But when it comes to Intrinsically Safe Headsets the options are more limited because developing and manufacturing an Intrinsically Safe Headset is a massive undertaking in both financial resources and engineering capability.

As a result of the investment and technical know how needed to commercialize this type of headset only a handful of leading headset companies have committed the funds and devoted the necessary resources to commercialize an Intrinsically Safe Headset.

Furthermore the time and costs involved with obtaining global certifications is another barrier manufacturers have to build into the commercialization process. This certification process can take many months as engineers and the certification bodies conduct a stringent testing process that requires iteration and modifications to the product so that it meets all the necessary standards.

The Intrinsically Safe Headset commercialization journey for Sensear began in 2009 and it took almost 2 years to launch the final approved product in early 2011.

We started with the idea that if we were going to bring an Intrinsically Safe Headset to market it needed to be embedded with bleeding cutting edge technology and a full range of robust features.

After consultation with a number of leading Oil and Gas companies we selected the SM1xSR (a product with headset to headset communication capabilities) to re-engineer into our Intrinsically Safe Headset. This product had the most comprehensive suite of features that would be required in demanding and hostile Oil and Gas Industry environments.

Firstly, the backbone of all Sensear’s products is the SENS (Speech Enhancement, Noise Suppression) high noise communication technology that separates speech from background noise so that workers can communicate in high noise background.

This technology also ensures that workers have full situational awareness and guaranteed hearing protection as volume limiters in the Sensear headset limits noise into the ear to 82dB.

Secondly, because we anticipated the use of Bluetooth would increase within the Oil and Gas industry we wanted to ensure the Sensear Intrinsically Safe Headset would offer a full range of communication capabilities. To this end, the product now in market offers face-to-face, two-way radio and Bluetooth communication capabilities so workers can connect to any communication device used in their work environment.

It also has the capability to enable short-range communication for workers working in small groups who want work group communication while remaining connected to the rest of the work force on their Two-way radio.

Thirdly, Sensear’s digital communication headsets were developed so that they could be customized to meet a range of challenging environments and client expectations. On a number of occasions Sensear has been asked to adjust firmware settings to meet specific customer needs with regards to noise tolerances and communication device requirements. Sensear is the only digital intrinsically safe headset on the market that was able to ensure that customers needs were met.

When the above product capabilities were agreed and finalized the digital technology and complex electronics made for a challenging certification process. In fact, our certification partner claimed it was one of the most challenging intrinsically safe certifications they had ever worked on.

But after twelve months of iteration and technical modifications the Intrinsically Safe headset was ready to pass the global Certification Standards. Sensear has a complete set of Global Certifications for its Intrinsically Safe Headset including ATEX , CSA, IECEx and UL approved (Class I, Division I).

Digital technology has driven a new era in headsets for the Oil and Gas Industry. Now workers can be confident that they can enjoy Intrinsically Safe communications, guaranteed hearing protection and ability to know what’s going on around all from the one headset solution.

This is a remarkable step forward from just a few years ago. For more information about Intrinsically Safe headsets click here

  Download Sensear's 7 Degrees of Hearing Loss Infographic