The US Army's smart earplugs shields soldiers from loud noises

The US Army has begun to roll out its new smart earplugs – named TCAPS – which can actively block out loud explosions and boost whispers.

Much like a touring musician, a soldier in a theater of war can be subjected to a barrage of ear-damaging sounds. Whereas the former just needs to stay on beat and in key, a failure to hear a command or a warning can mean life or death for the latter. Now, the US Army has begun rolling out a new set of smart earplugs to solve this problem.
Named TCAPS (or Tactical Communication and Protective System), the new set of smart earplugs are capable of adapting to the fly in dynamic combat situations. The device, which is linked to a smartphone, softens louder noises such as explosions or gunshots and amplifies quieter ones such as the sound of a human voice.
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Some versions of the smart earplugs are capable of linking directly with existing communications gear, and will even integrate with hearing aids.
However, it’s unlikely every rifleman in the US Army will eventually get their hands on the set of smart earplugs; TCAPS cost around $2,000 USD per set, and so far only 20,000 such units have been deployed.
With hearing loss standing as one of the most widely reported disabilities among US veterans – attributed in part to soldier’s reluctance to wear foam earplugs for fear of missing a command – it is hoped that TCAPS will address a pressing concern for the US military.
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What are your thoughts on the TCAPS smart earplugs? Could such technology be beneficial in other areas beyond the military? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA
Source: NPR