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TCAPS and Hearing Professionals

Transcript

Fortin

“Ship, Move and Communicate” is at the core of what we do.

Richardson

Our job is to be able to use weapons effectively and secure or maneuver on enemy forces.

Reinbold

Effective communication in an operational environment is probably the most important aspect.

Richardson

Hearing for an infantryman is part of our toolbox.

Fortin

You gotta be able to hear your guys. You gotta be able to hear your squad leader, or your team leader, directing you and know where to go and what to do.

Richardson

And without having the ability to hear, we literally will not be able to serve and do our job.

Vause

It’s just really very important for every scientist, you know, and every clinician, to walk a mile in the shoes of whomever they’re wanting to understand and trying to help.

Hamilton

It’s critical for all clinicians who work with soldiers from a communication perspective, to understand what they experience in the field.

Yankaskas

Researchers are in quiet labs; it’s a different type of an acoustic environment. And they need to be in the other world.

Narrator

In April 2014, a select group of hearing professionals, including audiologists and researchers, participated in an exercise in communications and hearing operations, or ECHO training, at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The goal: to understand the communication challenges faced by service members in the operational environment.

Crawford

I think the most valuable part of the ECHO training was hearing what it is to have passive hearing protection versus active hearing protection. That was significant.

Hamilton

Put yourself in the soldier’s position. Understand what they deal with.

Yankaskas

I was prone; it was hot, it was dusty. You know, I fired live rounds. You know, I have the smoke in my face and sweat dripping in my eyes.

Hamilton

We were down firing, and had foamies in, and did not hear the calls to fire, because you simply couldn’t hear. And I understand from a soldier’s perspective, if I wanna stay alive, and these are gonna completely knock out what I need to hear, I’m probably not gonna wear them.

Crawford

They’re gonna use what works, and if they feel like it’s compromising their ability to do their duty, their safety, their effectiveness, they’re not gonna wear them.

Hoffer

You have to understand what the noise threat is, and what the noise environment is, so you can best do two things: protect against loud noises and, at the same time, allow people to hear what they need to hear.

Crawford

Having time to talk with the special operators and to hear what their experiences were with TCAPS – that was useful.

Yankaskas

I want to hear what they have to say. And in those meetings with a war fighter, it’s really nice to be able to say, “This is something I’m working on, what are your thoughts on it?”

Dominguez

I have a better understanding after speaking with those Special Forces guys, what their needs are. And hopefully I can take that information and implement it into what we are testing and be more sensitive to their needs.

Vause

How can I design research experiments that are relevant if, in fact, I don’t understand what the person has to do in their job and how they do it?

Hamilton

It’s exciting to be in audiology now because technology is finally at a place where we can make a real difference, where we can give clear calm, where we can reduce background noise, where we can block out things that are interfering with effective communication.

Vause

The ability to communicate in combat or even just organizing on patrols, it’s just really critical in order for them to be able to do the job.

Brungart

People have come up with solutions that are, what we call TCAPS – Tactical Communication and Protection Systems. What they do is they typically use an electronic system that has a microphone outside of an earmuff or earplug. So it can pass through sounds that are not dangerous at a normal level. But when a loud sound comes in, they attenuate that sound so the person can hear it, but it won’t be presented at a dangerous level.

Hoffer

And basically they aid hearing; they amplify what’s going on around you, and at the same time protect your hearing.

Reinbold

My first impression of TCAPS were they were the best thing to hearing protection that I’ve seen so far.

Richardson

TCAPS absolutely helps me with my hearing and situational awareness.

Fortin

The greatest advantage of TCAPS by far is situational awareness. So it’s gonna protect my hearing, and at the same time it’s gonna give me more effective means of communication.

Clark

I think the biggest advantage that TCAPS offers actually, is the ability to use dual-comms. And as a leader, that’s absolutely critical.

Reinbold

I’ll be on one company net, one platoon net, makes communication a lot easier.

Richardson

I can amplify ambient noise, or I can block out ambient noise if I want it to be quiet. Or I could turn up my receiving volume to be able to hear orders issued to me from a further distance.

Clark

I think it just enables the soldiers to communicate much more effectively.

Crawford

I can see how useful it was to be able to have, not just my hearing protected, but to actually be able to have ambient sounds amplified. I can hear everything, better than I could before.

Vause

Certainly I’m gonna try to do everything I can to influence the fact that this is something that’s needed, for not just the elite forces – the special operations forces – but for the typical people who are going into combat. And it will improve their ability to do their job and to succeed at their mission.

Dominguez

There’s nothing more gratifying than doing something for someone that’s out there defending your country.

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