TCAPS – that’s Tactical Communication and Protective System – are a sort of combo connected earplug/hearing aid currently being deployed by the US Army to both reduce hearing loss from explosive sounds and enhance perception of quiet tones.

The system, currently priced at a (perhaps unsurprisingly) lofty $2,000, is designed to address the problem of hearing loss in the military, one of the most widely reported disabilities among veterans. The issue has been attributed, in part, to soldiers’ unwillingness to wear traditional foam earplugs for fear of missing commands and enemy sounds.

The smartphone-connected TCAPS both block out loud sounds like explosions and gunfire, and are capable of enhancing whispers. The systems come in a variety of sizes and shapes for different ear canals and can by charged via solar, standard outlets and even vehicle batteries.

At present, the Army has issued 20,000 of the devices.

via NPR

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The US Army is deploying smart earplugs that block out loud noises and enhance quiet ones