The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is providing its top combat soldiers with new earplugs that provide a selective hearing solution.
These specialist earplugs, similar to those used by musicians and industry workers, block out dangerous noises but allow oral communication between soldiers.
The hearing protection will placate noises louder than 80 decibels; reducing the risk of hearing damage from weapons or nearby explosions, while allowing the continued use of mission-critical communications devices.
The new earplugs will be given to soldiers in the elite Duvdevan and Yamas units located in Judea and Samaria.
Major Yuval Yaron, head of the Central Command branch for technology and combat equipment, said the new earplugs will allow soldiers to perform their duties more effectively and reduce the risk of long-term hearing impairment:
“If they (soldiers) shoot without earplugs, their hearing is likely to be damaged. If they use the existing earplugs, they cannot speak to or hear the other members of their team or the commanders.”
“The new earplugs solve the problem and allow them to talk to one another with no problem,” he said.
Specialist ear plugs are widely used by the British Army and specialist Police units who use guns or diffuse explosives on a day-to-day basis.
As a result of a growing number of conflicts globally, soldiers are beginning to experience a number of hearing problems related to combat. In 2011, 18 per cent of Afghanistan and Iraqi veterans received disability benefits for tinnitus or hearing problems.
Army soldiers spend will hours in or around tanks, transport carriers and heavy artillery equipment. The navy is also prone to loud noise, particularly when we account for the incessant drone of engines and loud metal-on-metal noise.
Sustained exposure to loud noises will create long term hearing problems – it is important that you take precautions.