Did you know that the Renault F1 team use custom earplugs? As they are working on the track the team need to hear conversation whilst being protected. With cockpit noise often topping a whopping 130 decibels (dB) custom hearing protection is perfect for this, allowing them to keep their earplugs in whilst hearing important and often critical instructions. Disposables in this type of environment would have to be removed constantly, and the team wouldn’t be able to communicate properly with this type of protection.
Hearing protection is a big deal in Formula One, from the track team, spectators to the drivers themselves. In an interview in The Daily Mail in 2006 Sterling Moss talked publicly about his battle with hearing loss due to the sport, he said: “I used to stuff my ears with cotton wool to muffle the sound and make me more comfortable. But after every race, I’d have a sound like a rushing waterfall in my ears. It went on for days, an annoying noise in the background. Then you’d be on to the next race. After a while, the noise just never went and it remained always in the background. I know now this was tinnitus, a warning sign that my hearing was being damaged.”
As standard, the hearing protection currently provided most to Formula One drivers is that of custom earplugs with built-in speakers and the Renault crew have clearly been given this treatment. Two scientists from the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Hazard said a while back that the whole crew should also be offered this kind of protection and that awareness should be brought to spectators too.
Fingers in ears, or custom moulded earplugs that also enable you to hear what you need!
Radio Accessories such as SpeakHear® are also important for Formula One teams to communicate; with custom moulded earplugs clients can also be connected to radios. This means that they would be able to communicate to each other, without the need to remove the earplug – the protection is very much like ear defenders but offers a more advanced way of staying protected, whilst also being able to hear surroundings.