Do soldiers wear ear protection

Individuals serving in the military are exposed to high-intensity noise especially in combat. In video games and movies we see characters emerging from huge explosions unharmed. Therefore most people are left to wonder, do soldiers wear ear protection?

Most veterans suffer hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Over the years the number of veterans suffering from hearing loss has continued to rise. Veterans who suffer hearing loss are compensated by the department of veteran affairs (VA). The increased compensation budget for hearing loss led to a critical look at ways of preventing hearing loss.

History of ear protection in the military

You will be amazed to discover that ear protection in the military is a recent invention. Over the years soldiers would go to war without ear protection. The battlefield requires one to be alert and be able to react to any advances from their enemies. We can conclude that the appropriate technology was not available to assist the soldiers to remain vigilant in the battlefield as well as shield them from deafening noise.

As recent as the Vietnam War and the Gulf war, US soldiers went to war without any protective gear for the ears. One might suspect negligence on the part of leaders in the military. Even recently in 2010. Some of the US soldiers would go to ballet without ear protection. Ear protection in the US army was implemented in 2014.

Effects of going to battle without ear protection

  • Temporary and permanent ear loss
  • Ruptured eardrums
  • Bleeding eardrums
  • Insomnia

Are military ear protection devices different from what civilians use?

Most people are aware of earplugs and earmuffs ear protection devices that are used by civilians. Ear protection devices used by the military are different.

In the last two decades, the US army has developed high-tech headsets to protect soldiers from hearing loss while in combat. These devices are referred to as TCAPS (Tactical Communication and Protective System). They were developed following a recommendation by the department of veterans that hearing loss and tinnitus were the most common service-related disabilities among veterans.

Soldiers in aviation need these devices to prevent hearing loss as a result of noise from helicopters and fighter jets. Those on the ground are exposed to various forms of noise from gunshots, explosions, to sounds emitted by the armored vehicles.

How military ear protectors work

These ear protectors are designed differently. They amplify ambient sounds while deafening sounds such as explosions and gunshots that can lead to hearing loss.

Military noise protectors work by filtering noise while the civilian ear protectors block all forms of noise. This technology is essential since a soldier in combat needs to be aware of their surroundings or else their enemies will kill them.

Apart from filtering noise, the TCAPS unit has additional features that are useful in combat. The protectors can be charged using solar power, conventional AC or vehicle batteries. They can also connect to other devices like radios, smartphones, or other communication devices. Thus these military ear protectors can be used by soldiers in combat to communicate with each other.


Though ear protection is a recent development in the military, they are critical in the prevention of hearing loss, communication, as well as improving the welfare of soldiers on the battlefield. Armies in different countries need to embrace these ear protectors to prevent hearing loss and promote the well-being of their soldiers.