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Editor’s Choice #3 of Rotorcraft Professional’sEditor’s Favorite Five

There are two physical systems pilots and aircrews simply can’t do without. Good eyesight and good hearing. Loose either and the story is simple. So, protect­ ing both is high on the priority list. The Attenuating Custom Communication Earpiece System (ACCES) is one option that warrants a serious look.

ACCES, a product initially targeted at the military market, is fast becoming a popular choice in the civil market as well. Having tried a number of hearing pro­ tection products, in addition to the tradi­ tional flight helmets and headsets, I have always searched for a product which would mitigate the ambient noise in the cockpit. Some headset systems, such as the Bose Aviation X and A20, work great and are gaining in popularity. But, these are not adaptable when the job requires wearing a flight helmet.


The unique feature of the ACCES system is that it is custom fitted to the end user. Ten minutes at your local audiologists office for a custom impression of each of your ears is all it takes to get the process started. Most audiologists will send your impressions directly to Westone for manu­ facturing. A week to ten days later your custom fitted ear molds, along with speak­ ers and wire harness, should arrive in your mailbox.


There are two components to the ACCES system, the aforementioned indi­ vidually fitted ear mold harness, and another wire harness and receptacle which needs to be installed in the helmet. Installation of this harness is fairly simple, with instructions available on the Internet.


but once I figured out how to correctly place them, they were quite comfy. At

first my ears felt a little warm, but that too seemed to subside over time. What I found most remarkable was the level of noise these devices filtered out. Not quite a noise cancelling level, but damn close, and at a very reasonable cost.

Westone, the company, which invented and manufactures the ACCES system, has been in business since 1959, and their product line in pretty extensive. Should you need any of their other custom hear­ ing products, no worries, they’ve already got your molds prepped, and your order will only arrive that much faster.

Westone Laboratories, Inc.

30 Westone Lab’s ACCES

But, if you are not comfortable installing the harness yourself, all you have to do is take it to your local avionics shop and they can handle it for a modest fee.


The ACCES system works remarkably well, both inside and outside the air­ craft. I found that it took a little while to get fully com­ fortable with the earpieces,

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