Intelligent hearing protection: Extreme tech from the Special Forces

Intelligent hearing protection: Extreme tech from the Special Forces

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Intelligent hearing protection is one solution that has been both pioneered and championed by all branches of the military under the category of “Tactical Communication and Protection Systems” (TCAPS). This integration of hearing protection and communication technologies enables soldiers to communicate in combat scenarios without compromising their hearing ability.
 
TCAPS provide both passive and active hearing protection for the soldier, enable situational awareness of one’s environment, and facilitate clear communication with other soldiers in the combat through one-on-one or tactical radio communications. TCAPS integrate:
 
  • Advanced hearing protection technologies such as Active Noise Reduction (ANR) for continuous noise hazards
  • Adaptive protection from impact or impulse noise
  • Increased hearing capability
  • Transmission of clear speech communications through either external boom microphones or internal in-ear voice transmission.
 
They are available as headband earmuffs and in-ear models that fit like an earplug and can accommodate Ops-core helmets or other protective equipment.
 
TCAPS provide soldiers wearing helmets and CBRN gear with better sound localization — allowing them to discriminate between the direction of enemy troops or other risks in combat settings. Over the past ten years, TCAPS have gained greater acceptance and use by soldiers in all branches of the armed forces. While many had perceived TCAPS as an expensive niche device, soldiers now consider the devices as an essential part of their equipment and combat systems. By providing “bionic” hearing and adaptive hearing protection in all noise environments, TCAPS enable soldiers to have a fuller sense of situational awareness – the difference between hearing “get back” and “attack” is a matter of not only mission success, but ultimately life and death.
 
In a study of a variety of TCAPS by Defence Research and Development Canada, QUIETPRO was cited as a preferred integrated hearing protector, with “the best combination of speech quality, hearing protection and usability.”(1) The study cited that “given that hearing protection will be required in most operational environments, the QP (from Honeywell) provided the best combination of speech quality, hearing protection and usability.”
 
Ultimately, there is no more extreme environment than military combat. And, often, once “proven” under the most rigorous of environments and extreme handling – and not to mention life-critical situations – such emerging technologies are adopted by industry.
 
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(1) Nakashima, Ann and Sharon M. Abel. “Effects of Integrated Hearing Protection Headsets on the Quality of Radio Communications.” Defence Research and Development Canada, July 2009.

 

 

 

 

Blog Author:  HearForever  
Blog Catagories:  VeriPro  TCAPS  Intelligent Hearing Protection  

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