A bit more peace (and quiet) for war dogs wearing CAPS



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The US Army, industry, and academia have teamed up to develop hearing protection for working dogs, which face temporary and permanent hearing loss from the high noise levels in their daily work.

Training, transport, and operations are all hazardous for the hearing of canines employed in jobs such as sniffing out explosives, counterterrorism, and law enforcement operations. Cumulative exposure can result in permanent hearing loss, reducing the dog’s working life.

The new technology developed to increase protection for dogs is called Canine Auditory Protection System (CAPS), from Zeteo Tech, Inc. It was created in collaboration with Dr. Pete “Skip” Scheifele of the University of Cincinnati, a renowned animal audiology expert, and consists of a "snood" type of headgear for the animal, uniformly distributing the pressure required to hold the hearing protection in place, avoiding difficulties associated with straps. The protection itself uses lightweight acoustic absorption materials to block unwanted sounds, and is constructed of flexible materials, easily shaped to a dog’s head.

CAPS has been tested extensively with military working dogs and federal law enforcement working dogs. Dr. Scheifele measured the hearing protection effectiveness of CAPS during helicopter operations, and the dog’s short-term hearing loss was significantly reduced.

“Even a short helicopter flight can affect a dog’s hearing, resulting in impaired performance and inability to hear the handler’s commands, which can hinder the mission,” said Dr. Stephen Lee, senior scientist at Army Research Office. “This new technology protects the canine while on missions and can extend the dog’s working life.”

Source: Homeland Security Today