- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The U.S. Army is giving tens of thousands of troops superhuman hearing with a device that can drown out loud noises while amplifying a battle buddy’s instructions.

Military personnel often use earplugs to muffle the sounds of gunfire and explosions, but using them comes with a downside — the ability to detect softer, (possibly life-saving) sounds suffers. The Tactical Communication and Protective System (TCAPS), changes the equation.

TCAPS devices, which have steadily improved since 2014, are now deployed to soldiers on a larger scale. Roughly 20,000 troops have been issued TCAPS, although the $2,000 price tag will keep them from becoming standard-issue for quite some time, the technology website Engadget reported Sunday.

“Soldiers have told me quite openly, the main reason they refused to wear, or partially wear, hearing protection while out on a mission was because it hindered their overall situational awareness,” Capt. Jennifer Noetzel, audiology chief, Fort Drum, New York, toldU.S. Army reporters in March 2014 as the technology rolled out.

“I wish this would have been available years ago,” a staff sergeant added.

Only 2,000 TCAPS units were issued at the time.

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