Protect your hearing: Silynx CEO Matt Hein shares why it matters
In addition to enabling clear communications and full situational awareness, it’s essential that your radio headset protect your hearing on the job
The following is paid content sponsored by Silynx Communications.
By Police1 BrandFocus staff
It’s no secret that an officer’s hearing is vital to the job. Hearing loss among law enforcement officers not only impacts their safety and operational effectiveness, it can seriously diminish their quality of life. Building on more than a decade of experience providing communications solutions for the military, Silynx Communications is working to raise awareness of hearing loss in the law enforcement community and provide effective and affordable solutions.
Here, Matt Hein, CEO of Silynx Communications, discusses why hearing protection is an important issue and how his company is addressing it.
Why is hearing protection for law enforcement and SWAT officers important?
Hearing loss is cumulative and non-reversible, and hearing loss has now been tied to cognitive decline. There’s no reason for them to assume these risks any longer. There are solutions out there that can protect them, cost-effectively. And we’re not just talking about gunfire. Sirens, vehicle noise and slamming doors all contribute to long-term hearing loss.
How do you balance hearing protection with comfort, clarity of communication and the need for full situational awareness in your products?
Rather than going over the ears, our systems are configured into highly integrated “earbuds” – about the size of commercial headphones for music – which go into the ear canals to protect the user’s hearing. Then, using speakers on the outside of the earbuds, we electronically pick up the sounds of the ambient environment and pass them through to the user. Loud, dangerous impulse noise, like gunfire, is electronically filtered out. Also, our headsets have a microphone built in to the earbud itself, so as long as the earpiece is in the ear, the police officer can speak and they’ll be transmitting.
What are some common misperceptions about this technology?
The first one is that all in-ear systems use bone conduction technology, which has proven to have several limitations in tactical environments. Silynx doesn’t use bone conduction, which relies on the vibration of the inner ear to communicate messages. What we utilize is called “True Voice” technology, which uses proprietary design and complex algorithms to capture and process the “the inner aural echo” of the user. The best way I can explain it is, if you plug your ears with your fingers and talk, you hear your own voice in your head. That’s what the Silynx system is capturing with its internal microphone. Capturing the voice in this manner, rather than relying on vibrations of the skull, improves the capability of the system, even in a situation where the police officer is forced to whisper.
Another misperception would be that in-ear systems block the sound in your surroundings. These users know their jobs can be dangerous, and they can’t sacrifice that situational awareness. The “hear-thru” functionality really eliminates that concern by providing electronics that pick up the sounds you need to hear while filtering out potentially harmful noise. When people put our systems in their ears for the first time, they’re thoroughly impressed by their ability to have a normal conversation. Beyond that, it’s a misperception of the price of these systems. Historically, they’ve been significantly more expensive. We’ve worked very hard to reduce the cost and pass that along to the users. We have a range of systems for any price point and any capability to offer to the police officers on the force.
How did Silynx achieve these improvements in the technology while maintaining a lower price than people expect for this product?
We focused on the core capability of our hearing protection headsets and cut out any noise, no pun intended, to reduce the cost and pass on those savings to the users. We’re now offering police officers the tried-and-true Silynx combat-proven protection at a price point closer to the $300 to $600 range.
How does Silynx work with end users to integrate feedback from the field?
Our customers range from Tier 1 military operators to SWAT and patrol officers to hunters and shooters, and even industrial workers in the U.S. and abroad. These customers are highly enthusiastic about providing feedback from the field. We stay in touch. It’s a big part of our customer service, staying in close contact with our customers after they’ve used the product in the field. By getting more teams outfitted with our equipment, we’re going to learn more and more. We’re going to get questions. We’re going to receive feedback that we will weigh and discuss and then help the next evolution of our systems to ensure that we are providing exactly what’s needed.
What are your customers telling you are the key differentiators for the CLARUS headsets?
We’ve got more of an ergonomic shape. Obviously, users in our market, both military and law enforcement, have limited space where they can attach gear to their clothing or to their vests without causing some kind of interference or burdening them with undue weight. The first comments we get are like, “Wow, I really like that size and that shape.” The other thing is the comfort. They find very quickly that it’s a comfortable, easy-to-wear, easy-to-use, simple system.
Most technology gets smaller and smaller every year, and that’s a good thing. Companies can fit more technology into their solutions, but our equipment needs to fit snugly into your ear. It needs to be in there reliably, and the user has to be comfortable that it’s not going to fall out and fail them when they need it most -- and the push-to-talk segment of the device needs to be the right size. They need to be able to find it in situations where adrenaline’s running and they can’t be searching for a tiny device.
Another key benefit is the modularity of our systems and the ability to pick and choose what you want with your Silynx headset. You can have the most simple system at the lowest price point, or you can tack on a variety of accessories, including integration with a smartphone, wireless push-to-talk accessories that connect to the weapon rail or a covert system, which will allow plainclothes officers to still have that in-ear communications capability.
What’s next for Silynx and headset technology?
What’s next for Silynx is the continued focus on the law enforcement market. There’s plenty of room for us to grow, but really the focus is providing products to law enforcement professionals that can help ensure that they return home safely every night.
For more information on in-ear headsets, contact Silynx Communications.