Smart earplugs to block out harmful sound


The Daily Mail reports on special military technology used to reduce high-level impulse noise, while heightening very low signature sounds.

Solving the difficult equation of blocking out unwanted sound but letting in useful sounds has long posed significant challenges to technology developers. Now, the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Virginia has developed a new type of earbud that aims to address the problem of hearing damage by actively reducing hazardous battlefield noise and enhancing hearing and communication at the same time.

The system is called the Tactical Communication and Protective System (TCAPS) and was first developed in 2007. According to Captain Jack Moore, Project Manager on the Soldier Warrior team, “Over the years, we have seen a large amount of dollars being spent to benefit soldiers who had lost their hearing, either in training or combat. We are now trying to address that problem in such a way that we can not only get enhanced hearing protection, but we can also get an enhancement of communication capabilities incorporated as well.”

The earbud tip is placed in the ear for 15 to 20 seconds to expand to full capacity for a snug fit, and the tips can last for one week to one month. In terms of performance, TCAPS cut noise down to 85 dB, enabling soldiers to hear and exchange over loud gunfire through clear two-way audio communication. The device is also being modeled for use in headsets in day-to-day life, for instance for construction workers or music fans.

Source: The Daily Mail