More often than not, active soldiers are constantly exposed to loud and dangerous situations. Leaving their delicate ears unprotected during intense field combat and even training simulation is very hazardous.
Temporary loss of hearing can result in a lot of missed instructions and leave room for a lot of mistakes which has drastic consequences. Ear protection is part of any soldier’s kit and the question isn’t “do soldiers wear ear protection?” but rather “is their ear protection reliable enough?”
Studies have shown that hearing impairment and damage is a major concern for many veterans. Over $1.1 billion was spent on providing care for hearing-related injuries back in 2009.
Without proper protection, the number is expected to rise over time, which makes the protection of ears a priority for our brave men and women fighting for freedom.
Types of Tactical Ear Protectors: Do Soldiers Wear Ear Protection?
There are many ways to keep the ears protected from the damage loud and extreme noises can make. The constant firing of a gun or a rifle fired at close range is very damaging to anyone’s hearing.
This is why it is important to block out extreme noise. Here are the types of ear protectors commonly used by soldiers in the field.
Ear plugs or “softies” are the most commonly prescribed form of ear protection that every soldier must carry with them at all times. Although they do well at blocking out noise they also block out ambient noise, which can be an issue.
Ear plugs are cheap and effective in their own way, but they are not the best for soldiers who have to stay alert at all time. In fact, many soldiers take them off to hear commands and orders from their superiors and leave them out during combat, which is why many veterans retire with hearing problems.
The TCAPS or Tactical Communication and Protective System is a new type of headset that the army has recently released for soldiers to use. These are high-tech ear protectors that are designed for both hearing protection while amplifying ambient sounds.
With the use of TCAPS, soldiers are more aware of their surroundings at any given time while also ensuring that their hearing is protected.
At first glance the TCAPS may look like your ordinary ear buds with foam inserts that are customizable, but inside it holds some expensive and advanced tech. These ear buds are capable of picking up soft background noises and amplifying them to keep soldiers aware. However the headset comes with a heavy price tag and not all soldiers are provided with it.
Tactical hearing ear muffs are another form of hearing protector outfitted with a communication system. They are also commonly used by many members of the military and offer probably one of the best solutions for preventing hearing loss while at the same time allowing communication between troop members.
There are many manufacturers that provide tactical hearing protectors, and they all have their different features. The most common combination of features is an electronic system that allows stereo and radio connection, ambient hearing amplification capabilities as well as the ability to block out loud noises.
Why Choose Ear Muffs Over Ear Buds?
You may wonder why soldiers wear ear protection like specialized ear muffs when ear buds can effectively block out noise. The answer is simple: they are the best kind of hearing protector in the market.
Ear muffs cost considerably more than ear buds, but there are more benefits and features that come with the ear muffs.
Ear muffs fitted with the three features mentioned above are the best of both worlds. Soldiers no longer have to worry about missing cues and commands while wearing hearing protection.
Since there are many brands and manufacturers that offer tactical hearing protection ear muffs they are not as expensive as the TCAPS which means everyone in the troop can have a pair of their own for protection and functionality.
Although soldiers will find protective ear muffs take some getting used to before they can concentrate and be comfortable, it’s a good idea to get used to the feel of having ear muffs on in the field. Preventing veteran hearing loss is easy to do by investing in affordable yet reliable hearing protection.