Using Two Way Radios in a Noisy Environment

Published: 22nd January 2010
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Handheld two way radios have been used in factories, quarries, arenas and other noisy

environments for many years with great success. Two way radios improve safety, boost

efficiency and increase productivity by saving steps and providing immediate

communication to just one or everyone at once.

Unfortunately two way radios may provide a false sense of security if the environment is

so noisy that accurate communication is not reliable? The audio port on the side of most

handheld commercial grade two way radios offers the solution.

To understand the problem of noise it is important to first understand the difference

between loudness and volume. Loudness is a subjective term that describes your ears

perception of sound. On the other hand volume is an objective term that describes the

amount (or volume) of air that is being effected by sound.

For example if someone snapped their fingers close to your ear it would seem loud.

However you may not be able to hear this sound at all if you were in the next room.

Volume is demonstrated in a movie theater when one of the actors whispers. The

whisper fills the entire theater (it moves a large volume of air). Here, we have lots of

volume but very little loudness.

The issue of volume verses loudness is of importance when considering the use of two

way radios in a noisy environment. If the two way radio user has his radio attached to

his belt in a noisy environment the only way to defeat the noise is by having a radio that

is louder and creates more volume than the ambient sound.

Enter the speaker mic. Speaker mics plug into the hand held two way radio's audio port.

The two way radio speaker mic rests on the users shoulder or lapel and therefore

moves the radio's sound much closer to the users ear. Now the radio only needs to

defeat loudness. (The volume needed between a person's shoulder and ear is nominal.)

The needed volume is reduced even more when an earpiece is used. An earpiece fits in

or just outside the ear canal. Volume is nominal and because outside noise is blocked

with the earpiece the two way radio does not have to overcome loudness.

Two way radios can also be fitted with headsets that actively reduce outside loudness

by 25 or more decibels. Typically headsets are somewhat uncomfortable and a

combination of earpieces and earplugs provide as much noise reduction with more


Most two way radio equipment dealers offer OSHA approved earpieces, speaker

microphones and headsets. (Each brand and model radio has a specific audio port

configuration that needs to be consider when purchasing audio accessories.)

Properly equipped two way radios can improve safety, boost efficiency and increase

productivity even in a noisy environment.

Manzie Lawfer is president of 2 Way Radio Express, a full service two way radio and

radio equipment dealer. He can be reached at or by

phone 800-557-3083.

For more information about 2 Way Radio Express please move

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