Innovative ‘Neckmic’ Provides Clear Communications In Highly Noisy Environments

By James Careless

Ensuring clear, intelligible communications on noisy incident scenes has long been a problem for first responders and military users. This is why headset/microphone [headset] manufacturers have come up with smart solutions such as bone conduction microphones and noise-canceling technology. This being said, none of these solutions are perfect, which is why new ways to deliver clear communications are always welcome.

One of these new ideas is known as ‘neckmic technology’. Developed and patented by Tactical Headsets Sweden AB for its own line of lightweight (50 grams) tactical headsets, neckmic technology works by pairing a neckband-mounted microphone pressed directly against the wearer’s neck with noise-suppressing earbuds (aka ‘in-ear speakers’).These headsets come with numerous connection options, so that they can be used with smartphones, land mobile radios, and push-to-talk (PTT) control interfaces.

“Neckmic looks like a traditional throat mic, but it is a brand new technology,” said Carl Franzén, CEO of Tactical Headsets Sweden AB (aka Tactical Headsets). “It picks up my voice directly from my neck skin and is thus isolated from ambient noise, so you can be standing right next to a jet engine and still talk normally. And then you have these small ear speakers that offer full sound protection, so you don’t need over-the-ear headsets. With one speaker in each ear, you get very crisp and clear audio coming straight into the middle of your skull — in any noisy environment.”

Tactical Headsets began developing neckmic technology in 2004 in partnership with the Swedish Defense ministry, which adopted these headsets for its own soldiers in 2007. The units meet Sweden’s requirements for military ruggedness, along with the IP68 standard for dust and water resistance. The neckmic headsets are also rated to ‘SNR25’. SNR stands for sign-to-noise ratio, while the 25 indicates that they reduce ambient sound levels by up to 25 decibels (dB).

Don’t Hear the Noise

It is easy for anyone to make product claims these days. This is why Carl Franzén has built a portable ‘noise booth’ that he takes to trade shows, which generates 105dB+ white noise inside.

Now for some context: According to the website, “100 decibels is a high decibel level. It is considered dangerous to human hearing and can cause hearing damage or hearing loss if your exposure to it exceeds 15 minutes.”

To prove that neckmic technology actually works, Franzén puts one of his tactical headsets on the test subject, plugs the headset into a smartphone, and puts the person inside the 105dB noise booth. The results can be experienced in the following video, and they are startling:. Without the neckmic’s noise blocking system, Franzén’s voice is inaudible — overwhelmed by a roar of white noise that sounds like he is standing next to a giant jet engine. But once his neckmic is flipped on, the background noise all but vanishes.

“I am now standing in 105 decibels of white noise and I have full hearing protection,” Franzén said in the video. “I can use a helmet. I can use the protective mask. It doesn’t matter.”

Is the audio perfect? No, it is a bit thin and brittle-sounding, based on Franzén’s demo video. But is the audio clear, intelligible, and relatively noise free? Again based on the demo video, the answer is yes. Anyone using this neck mic headset in an equally noisy environment could be heard and understood by anyone else monitoring their comms traffic.

Other Benefits

Beyond providing clear, intelligible communications for wearers, Tactical Headsets’ neckmic headsets are small and easy to wear. The in-ear speakers will fit under any helmet or hat, while the neckband-mounted throat microphone is completely clear of the wearer’s face.

Since the neckband is made of flexible plant-sourced plastic, it can be shaped to fit snugly to whoever’s neck it is worn on. There is nothing to get in the way of the wearer’s face; no ‘boom mike’ to get knocked around and interfere with mask-wearing.

As for the cost? Depending on the version selected, a Tactical Headsets’ neckmic headset will cost anywhere from US$329 to US$450 per unit. Although this company is seeking an American distributor —- entrepreneurial readers take note! — Tactical Headsets is currently selling and shipping them from Sweden via their website at

“What we are trying to do at the moment is to set up distribution in different countries and different areas of the world,” said Franzén. “Our goal is to sell most of our units directly to distributors, who will then sell them to resellers and different end users.”

One thing is certain: Tactical Headsets’ neckmic technology is an innovative, effective, durable, lightweight, and low-profile solution to the problem of first responder/military communications in high noise environments. For law enforcement agencies looking for a better way to deal with this issue, neckmic headsets are worth checking out.


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