Hear Hear! Army's New In-Ear Device Augments Soft Sounds; Levels Out Loud Ones

It's a hard thing to say that warfare has "improved" over the years, but at least the technology that keeps our soldiers safer and more prone to survival has certainly made leaps and bounds.  From 3-D printing new limbs for amputation patients to sending in drones for tough tasks, we're able to keep more soldiers alive to fight another day.  Now, we can offer something of a superpower to help solve a major sensory issue of wartime...

When you need all of your senses sharp, this makes perfect sense.
(Image courtesy soldiersystems.com.)

According to NPR, over half of soldiers deployed into a combat zone in Iraq or Afghanistan have experienced some type of hearing loss.  Between the regular bombs, RPGs, IEDs, loud vehicles, loud personal weapons, and motivational heavy-metal music, there's no dearth of decibels when death-dealing draws near.  Fortunately, a device has been developed to combat these combat-related issues.

A "smart earplug" known as "TCAPS" (Tactical Communication And Protective System) has been created to not only ameliorate the loud noises that soldiers are exposed to, but also to augment softer sounds for better situational awareness.  Some 20,000 units have already been deployed into the field.

Keep only the best decibel levels, thanks to TCAPS.
(Image courtesy slideplayer.com.)

Lt. Col. Kristen Casto, the audiology consultant to the Army's surgeon general explains, "Your ears can't handle loud sounds without suffering mechanical damage to the inner ear that results in permanent hearing loss."

This permanent loss is evaded by the TCAPS, which looks like an ear bud with some extra tech involved.  It operates like a "volume knob" for the real world, in which loud noises are diminished to safe levels in real-time, and soft noises (like a telltale sneak-attacker coming up from behind you, or a door creaking open in preparation for an ambush) are augmented, offering a stronger sense of safety via situational awareness.

Here's how it works!

While the devices are still catching on in the field, it's hoped that their use will help promote better awareness, as well as preventing further damage down the line.  That means not only super-human hearing skills to subvert saboteurs and skullduggery, but also hearing more parade music and the cheering of grateful citizens when a soldier returns home!  Now if only they could invent a device that filters out the bullshit from American politicians...

Safe acceptable decibel levels around these two?
(Image courtesy bostonglobe.com.)

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