U.S. Army Employs New Hearing Protection Technology

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One of the many lingering effects of serving in the military is hearing loss associated with the loud noises caused by weapons and explosive devices.  As of 2012, tinnitus and hearing loss were the second and third most prevalent service-related disabilities suffered by veterans, behind only post-traumatic stress disorder.  Since 2014, the U.S. Army has gradually utilized technology to protect servicemen and -women from high noise levels while still enabling them to hear what’s going on around them.

While Army personnel need to preserve their hearing by minimizing the volume of the explosive sounds around them, it is also vital they are able to hear subtler sounds nearby such as whispers, leaves rustling, and doors closing, to name a few.  The Tactical Communication and Protective System (TCAPS), which resembles a standard pair of earbuds, has been employed by the Army, with around 20,000 of the devices in use up to this point.  The TCAPS is capable of boosting faint sounds while lessening the impact of harsh noises.

Since NCC was founded in 2002, we have provided services to those with hearing loss including open- and closed-captioning; sponsored and participated in events like Walk4Hearing; and provided AV, live event, transcription, and captioning support for dozens of military-related events and projects.  We applaud the efforts of the Army in protecting the hearing of its soldiers and, in turn, improving their ability to communicate, hear commands, and recognize possible enemy movement.

We are hopeful the technology will continue to improve, allowing servicemen and -women to retain a strong ability to hear long after they retire from the military.

Information from the NPR.org story titled “Army’s Smart Earplug Damps Explosive Noise, But Can Enhance Whispers” was used in this post