Working on distribution to overseas soldiers who are exposed to explosions, weapons fire, vehicle noise, and other forms of excessive damaging decibel levels to hearing, as well as civilian sports (shooting, racing, crowd noise at events, etc.)!
These in-ear electronic amplifiers allow user to hear normal conversation, but are triggered to cancel excessive decibels to protect hearing!
I try not to think about the ringing in my ears but if things are dead quiet it's rather difficult to do. Mine have been ringing since 6yrs ago. My 45-70 Guide Gun with that 18" barrel is a loud boomer.
But then again, it might be the loud cars, rock and roll, playing drums.......
when i went in to the Army in the early '70's we would use cig. buts at the range, in the mid '80's they issued us ear plugs for use at the range. for use in combat no, as a result i have tinnitus. of course i crewed kiowa's for 10 yrs. and the last 3 yrs. were in a sp 155mm howitzer battery. ear plugs don't work in those situations, or in combat when you need to hear the slightest sound or the buddy next to you wisper info.
Most guys I know wear a peltor type head set that plugs into your IMBTR radio - its a twofer, comms and hearing pro. Only problem is your ears sweat and it hurts to wear them all night long, but they work pretty good. Still after 16 years I havesome loss, prob from days before peltors and AC noise when I was young and stupid.
At the house I have a civy set of peltors (no radio jack) for the range, my son usually pikes them and I use good old foamies! Best,
When I was in, we had the earplugs hanging in a container on our upper pocket....available whenever we felt they were needed.
Pretty much how it is now.
I know several guys that are only in they're mid-thirties and are having to get hearing aids from extended deployments to Iraq of getting blown up and shooting. They have some nifty earplugs now that block out only loud noises that are the same decibel(or higher) as small arms fire. I'll probably get a pair for afghanistan but as far as what uncle sam gives us they are usually what you see at walmart little rubber plugs.
Earplugs during training. Not during tactical ops (patrol or running up and down the hills and through the weeds).
Snipers in built-up areas: optional, depending upon the situation at hand.
I have what I refer to as "raging tinnitis". A constant hiss-whistle-ring that never goes away. Actually increases in volume with increase of fatigue/stress. Forget about hearing conversations in crowded areas with lots of background noise.
Got it from years on tractors with no mufflers. Just short pipes straight out of the exhaust manifold, or just the opening in the exhaust manifold, about 3' away. Usually all day long for days on end.
Boss Lady has developed a habit of lowering her voice and turning (and sometimes walking) away during a conversation then getting all testy when I tell her I didn't hear a word of what she just said. You'd think that after 19 years...
I have not read this entire thread and I am not from the US, but my job involves supplying our defence force. (well its actually all my job consists of)
I can tell you we supply them with "4th gen combat arms" earplugs. They are an earplug with a "filter" that can be opened or closed depending on the situation. i,e with it open it will allow in more sound to enter and vice versa.
They are reuseable and rather expensive for earplugs
I didnt, and I regret it. I cannot hear anything under 75 decibals in my left ear. The main issue is when in a combat enviroment yoou dont want to wear earplugs because you want to hear everything (for good reason) when the shooting starts or a bomb goes of, you dont have time to put in hearing protection.
in the late 60's the units I served in 'Nam were issued ear plugs made of a material sort of like felt - this was a Navy Amphib unit where most of us had long arms of different types (mine was first a M1 Carbine I traded off to the GM for a rare-to-us Thompson which served me well. but was definitely in need of TLC after 6 months w/me)
At the range yes... But typicially the average soldier is not getting into firefights on a regular basis. Some might, but probably not too common. Most of the guys I knew that walked around with ear plugs worked on the flightline, not the frontline. (For a reason, B-1 engines all day would make you deaf in no time.)
God, people are slow learners! The modern day, $40 Norton Sonic Earvalve used to be called the Lee Sonic earplug, and I had a set in 1971, when I got orders for Nam. I never ended up there, but you can bet that they were in my gear when I shipped and if I'd been carrying a rifle there, theplugs would have been in my ears, too. Muzzle blast is a big reason why troops miss with 99.99% of the rounds that they fire. Another major problem is 'suppressive fire', ranging fire, area fire, etc, which basically accomplish nothing, unless used at the platoon level, against closely packed and fully exposed enemy troops.