Prolonged exposure to loud sounds like gunshots and explosions can permanently damage a person’s hearing. At a gun range and in training scenarios, soldiers can protect their hearing with ear plugs, but they can’t afford to take the risk of drowning out sounds in a battlefield where situational awareness is essential. To solve this dilemma, the U.S. Army has developed a hearing aid that protects the ears, filters out unwanted background noise, and boosts softer sounds.
The new device picks up sounds through a system of microphones and sorts the noises based on their decibels. This way, the hearing aid can turn down the sounds of gunshots and turn up the volume on other sounds, such as commands or enemy footsteps. The device gives soldiers a safe way to protect their hearing, and not only do they not have to sacrifice situational awareness, but their hearing is actually enhanced. The device, called Tactical Communication and Protective System (TCAPS), has already started to roll out to soldiers.