The 3M You Are Going to go Deaf Noise Indicator

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noise-indicatorI originally saw the 3M Noise Indicator NI-100 model in a Tool Monger review by Benjamen Johnson. Now, I know 3M is a solid company and they have some fantastic products. I myself won’t use anything but their adhesive transfer tape, for instance. But, the Noise Indicator seems a bit of an odd product to me; though I can just picture a certain, well known “on the job safety” organization licking their collective lips over it. I guess it’s meant for those who are either A) too dim irresponsible to wear ear plugs when the noise becomes unpleasant or B) maybe already borderline deaf?!?  

The 3M Noise Indicator is outfitted with LED light sensors that flash red when noise levels are above 85 dBA, apparently the danger level, and green when the noise level is below, indicating you probably don’t need hearing protection. I just don’t see where a flashing light is going to inspire someone to use hearing protection if they aren’t already inclined to do so. Me? I usually rely on the screeching, banging or otherwise unbearable…noise level…to prompt me to take action.

The Noise Indicator is small and clips on to your shirt, or any spot within your line of vision so you can see the light, thereby forewarned of impending deafness. I suppose if one is absorbed in his work, and not paying rapt attention to the light, he could rely on instincts and personal discomfort to save the day and compel him to use earplugs.  The rechargeable battery operates for up to 200 hours in between charges.  The Tool Monger article mentions a selling price of $30 before shipping, but I’m seeing a starting price of about $40 for the 3M Noise Indicator on Amazon.

“Huh?”…I said $40…”What did you say?”…For God’s sake, take those damned plugs out of your ears…”Did you just call me queer?”… Oh, never mind.

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About Liz

Liz is a professional, custom picture framer based in Central New York. She and her contractor husband are currently renovating their second home together. At the time of this writing, they are not on speaking terms. Her love of making stuff with wood and DIY home projects began by watching her Dad. (It was also around this time Liz's incessant use of "colorful language" took root.) She's an avid gardener, stellar cook and doesn't throw like a girl: an all-around rad chick.

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4 thoughts on “The 3M You Are Going to go Deaf Noise Indicator”

  1. What’s really odd about this is that both exterior and interior noise levels frequently go above 85dB SPL. Worship service at my church has sustained (C-weighted) levels of up to 96 dB SPL.

    Plus, OSHA guidelines say that you can listen to 90 dB SPL for up to 8 hours per day. 8 hours! And they are ultra conservative in their ratings. 85 dB SPL doesn’t even make their list… so with that said – is the 3M Noise Indicator even useful at all? It seems to fire prematurely – and if there is no intensity, then it’s all but useless since you don’t know whether you’re at an “8 hours a day” level or “more than an hour of this and you’re going to be deaf!” level.

    • Aha, Mr. Sound-Level-Meter himself has weighed in! 96 db at church? I thought church was supposed to be quiet and serene? That must have been during the Christian Industrial Thrash-Metal service. ; ) Actually I think full-on rock concerts tend to chime in around 115 db.
      I agree the 3M Noise Indicator seems to lack precision when it comes to weighing the extent of noise danger. Not sure if if’s mainly a compliance/CYA thing, or just a general warning device indicating the user might be at risk of losing hearing. Kinda like those radiation patches that let you know when you might start glowing in the dark or growing an extra extremity. I personally prefer to err on the side of caution, so I’m often seen running around with hearing protection at seemingly random times.


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