Friday, 24 January 2014

The Comfortable Earpiece. Even the shape of your own ear changes with time.

The shape of  everyone's ears and ear canal is slightly different.  The shape of your own ear canal may even change so if even you use a generic eartip or a custom molded earpiece the right earpiece for you will change.   

Generic Eartips
The 2 most common types of generic eartip are the Mushroom shaped eartip and the Flanged style eartip. The tapered design of the flanged can be a little less forgiving on ears.

These bung style earpieces are inexpensive and they effective in high noise environments.  However their drawbacks are that they can be uncomfortable and that they block the flow of air to the ear canal. As a result the ear canal can warm up and this can be the cause of irritation.

To avoid an itchy ear the most important piece of advice is to keep your ears clean  before using an earpiece.  Good hygiene should by common sense reduce the possibility of irritation and will also prevent wax building up in the eartip.  If wax occludes the hole in your eartip sound will not pass out of it (see future blog Common Reasons Why Your Earpiece Doesn't Work).

Semi Custom Eartips
An alternative to a bung is the Skeleton ear insert.

 These are flexible inserts that directly replace your eartip. The Skeleton eartips are more comfortable to wear and are held in place by the little ridge in your ear. There are various models the best in my opinion being made from medical grade silicon.
The Skeleton insert does not block the ear allowing fresh air to pass by into the ear canal alleviating itching.   As such they offer no isolation against external sound. They are therefore unsuitable for use in high noise environments.

Skeleton eartips are available to fit the Left or Right ear in 3 sizes Small, Medium and Large.

Custom Molded Eartips
The most comfortable earpiece is a Custom Molded Earpiece made from an impression taken from the shape of your ear. (TV presenters may require both a left and a right side earpiece depending on the camera angle).  For many years the custom process was expensive and time consuming. Fortunately times have changed and a more affordable inexpensive fixed price Mainland UK service is now available called Proguard.

Custom Molded earpieces are made using an impression taken from your ear.  These can be a standard impression which is mostly the external shape or covert wireless earpieces a deep ear impression is required. Ear impressions should only be taken by a suitably trained person.

Custom molded earpieces are produced from hard clear acrylic plastic or softer squidgy substances into which various sound drivers can be fitted.
Custom earpiece may have a small air breathing  hole or even a valve fitted to allow air to circulate.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

30 Second earpiece fitting guide

The 3 most common comments I hear regarding earpieces on our exhibition stands are:
  • My earpiece falls out when I move.
  • My ear itches after a while.
  • How do I get a molded earpiece made.
Most earpieces are supplied to fit the largest ear. As a result the tube is generally too long and the earpiece tends to fall out. A well fitted earpiece will sit comfortably behind your ear lobe and not ride up above it when you place your earpiece into your ear. You can check to see if this happens using a mirror or ask a colleague to check.

If this does occur it is easy to fix. It is a simple case of trimming the tube to length using  a decent pair of scissors.  First remove the eartip. Next pull out the right angled joiner that the tip was fitted over from the acoustic tube. It might resist as the tube has expanded to accept the joiner but it is possible.
Earpiece 90 degree right angle joiner
Now replace the tubing over your ear and note the correct position of the end of tubing where you put the eartip into your ear.  It will be more accurate if you can allow for the short length of the right angle joiner.  Remember it is always easier to cut off a little more tube, it is impossible to put it back on!
Before using the scissors remove the acoustic tube from over your ear. 

Earpiece fitting adjustment instructions

Push the right angle joiner back into the acoustic tube and fit the eartip. 

Did you know if you swing the right angle joiner 180 degrees in the opposite direction you can use your earpiece as a Left or Right side earpiece.

Finally the clip should be attached to you collar at the position on you collar so that when you turn your head to the opposite side it the coil expands without pulling your earlobe down and when you turn to the same side it does not pile out onto your shoulder (in TV world it stays out of shot).  
You may need to adjust the length of the tube from the end of the coil to the collar clip.
Earpiece Collar Clip

Finally if your earpiece still falls out it is time to consider either a semi custom earpiece insert such as a Skeleton eartip or a custom molded earpiece - more on these items to follow on our blog.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

It only takes one or two shared batteries in a large fleet of radios to create an apparent multitude of poor batteries.

It only takes one or two shared batteries in a large fleet of radios to create an apparent multitude of poor batteries. It is a model that can be applied to headset sockets, earpieces, antennae and so on.

A duff  battery or indeed a radio with a duff battery will go straight back in the most convenient slot in the charger and the next user will pick it up. If the last radio back in the charger was also duff and has now gone green the first user will also have walked off with another duff battery. Before long several duff batteries will be circulating in the most commonly used slots and people will be saying none of the radios are reliable. 

This model can equally be applied to earpieces, headsets sockets, antennas (how often do you see people carrying their radio by the antenna).

The biggest money saving tip I can offer customers is
If you do not already mark your radios now is the time to do it.

A simple unique number on the radio, the battery and the headset will quickly enable you to pull out possible culprits as a pattern evolves.  Who knows it could be a particular charger socket, a particular battery or a particular headset socket causing all your reliability issues.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Tetra Radio accessory Orders to Isle of Man and Gibraltar

We were pleased to recently to send orders to both the Isle of Man and Gibraltar
Isle of Man Parking Administration

Gibraltar Health Authority

EUROS - Showcomms we have made it even easier with Euros

From 17th January  payment can be made directly in Euros on the  SHOWCOMMS website.

To switch the price of item
from £ to Euro 
click on the European Flag at the top left of the page.


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