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Posted: 6/1/2001 5:27:58 PM EST
For those of you who know... Do our forces utilize ear protection in battle? Seems like an active protection device could eliminate the dangerous sound while actually enhancing a persons hearing. I know my AR is real loud. I can't imagine having several going off all around me with no ear hprotection. Just one of those questions that make me go hmmmmm....
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 5:47:41 PM EST
I too,wondered this after recieving my AR-15 carbine,and after hearing it's robust "BOOM" noise on the range.I talked to an Army friend of mine (jump school,sniper school,etc) and he said they were issued plugs,but they would not "completely" use them,for example,some guys only protected one ear.I would imagine wearing them on patrol would significantly reduce your hearing awareness,plus when shots start happening,the LAST thing you would worry about is hearing damage.Adrenaline and other body juices start flowing,so you can focus,so the loudness probably won't effect you as much as we would think,since you are "pumped" on stimulants.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 5:49:23 PM EST
Shots fired in battle, I suspect, are the same as when hunting, you don't notice them. I don't mean to imply that the sound isn't harmful to ones hearing.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 5:50:21 PM EST
I never been in actual combat, but in USMC training we wear foam ear plugs. In actual combat, I would guess it would be up to the individual if he wanted to wear ear protection. It's not like your platoon sergeant is going to check if everyone is wearing ear protection while in the processes of getting shot at by the enemy. Then you must choose what is more important, ear protection or the ability to hear commands. But today, many commands are done by hand signals. Here is a similar question. Do infantry wear eye protection? With the exception of wearing headgear with special vision equipment or goggles while driving a tank or other vehicle, you won't find anyone wearing safety glasses like you do on the range. [(:)]
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 5:55:28 PM EST
I keep hearing (no pun intended) about "hearing" being so important in battle etc... and why ear plugs are not used because they limit your senses... ummmm ok... after squeezing off a 30rd magazine with no hearing protection... will your ears be any good anyways?!?!? Wear hearing protection, don't hear commands. Don't wear hearing protection, don't hear commands or anything after that for the rest of your life. Hmmmm...
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 5:55:36 PM EST
The fact is my hearing and sight come second to making sure my @$$ goes home alive.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:02:22 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:05:36 PM EST
I have heard that some of the speedy SF types use devices like the SWAT Ear. These provide hearing protection while amplifing ambient sound. (Like good electronic ear muffs.) They're small and fit in the ear like an old fashion hearing aid. Lightfighter, you want to chime in here?
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:14:46 PM EST
I have a set of the Peltor Tactical 6-s earmuffs. If I had a choice, I'd use them. I have moderate hearing loss, I couldnt hear range commands before I got them. Now I hear guys on the next range talking during a match.This is a few hundred yards away. Truly awesome. Eric
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:20:31 PM EST
Originally Posted By FrankTheSpank: I keep hearing (no pun intended) about "hearing" being so important in battle etc... and why ear plugs are not used because they limit your senses... ummmm ok... after squeezing off a 30rd magazine with no hearing protection... will your ears be any good anyways?!?!? Wear hearing protection, don't hear commands. Don't wear hearing protection, don't hear commands or anything after that for the rest of your life. Hmmmm...
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The point is not so much what happens after the first shot fired in a firefight - but what you NEED to hear prior to the world turning to mud. If you have never been in that situation then you don't realize how your hearing goes into "hyper" mode when you are straining for every little sound that might bring death at any moment... that is what you can hear over the thumping of your own heart as it strains to jump right out of your chest.... [sniper] [b]The Sniper
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:25:20 PM EST
In street survival courses, there are certain physiological reactions that occur when you engage in a gun battle. One of these is auditory exclusion, or the body shuts down the ears ability to hear the loud bang, to a muffled pop. This occurs in conjunction to numerous other body functions such as the bladder letting loose if there is to much liquid present. This function has to do with a massive increase in adrenalin, and it is to protect the bladder and kidneys. There are other things that happen to individuals, however these physical functions do not occur when practicing. There should be more info on medical sites as they relate to the stress of combat.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:31:01 PM EST
a buddy of mine was unassigned s2 in somalia and showed up only with a 9mm. he borrowed a m16a2 and was near a wall with some other marines when a fire fight started. m16's and a m2 were blasting in a walled in area. he can't even remember hearing the 50cal go off. steve
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:31:12 PM EST
My Patrol rifle instructor told me that in Viet Nam, after fire fights he would go to bed with out any ringing in his ears. (due to Auditory Exclusion) But, now when he is exposed to a discharge of a firearm on the range he gets the ear ringing. (no Adrenalin)... its strange.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:48:47 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 6:59:35 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/1/2001 6:59:45 PM EST by 700PSS]
In "Black Hawk Down" at least one of the D-boys (Howe p.234) was said to be wearing earplugs.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 7:28:13 PM EST
Yeah, but what kind of ear plugs? The foam thingys or? You are definently going to be hearing better [i]after[/i] the first shots ring out but what about before? Can you hear the ambush coming? Or, especially for the SF guys, are they really trained to rely on eyesight and not sound at all? They allways work in teams, their back is supposed to be in someone elses sector of view/fire. This kind of reduces the need for audio warning of things out of your FOV perhaps. Anyone who has taken Urban Rifle at Thunder Ranch- where you are required to wear hearing protection- should be able to answer this; did you react to the sound of the hidden "pop up" or "pop out" targets starting to move- or did you track on the sight of the [i]movement[/i] itself?
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 7:31:52 PM EST
FWIW there is something called the stapedius reflex. There is a very small muscle that attaches to the stapes, one of the bones of the inner ear that is connected to the eardrum. It moderates the intensity of heard sound when it is extreme. In animals, such as dogs it is a more effective reflex. The problem is the initial shock effect of an unexpected loud noise. Naturally, this will only have a moderating effect and hearing damage to the hair fibers within the cochlea can still occur. High frequency sounds are picked up by the hair fibers nearest the beginning of the cochlea and are the most prone to damage.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 7:50:41 PM EST
HUUUUUUUHHH? It's amazing that from pure chance, we Humans have crawled from primordial soup to Combat and adrenalin protected hearing, isn't it? Or, are we stunning examples of a Creator that knew exactly what was needed to survive in His world? I, of course, believe in the Creator. Fantastic design---Humans.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 7:58:03 PM EST
Whaaaaaaat??? Ear what ???
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 8:09:17 PM EST
During the Korean War (opps. make that Police Action), We were issued the standard M1A little finger which you stuck in the ear which was closest to the big bang. [;d] When you were shooting your own weapon or whatever, with both hands busy, you were on your own. I know that today I have partial hearing loss due to those experiences. I guess we didn't have any adrenaline to protect our ears, back then like they do now. [:)] (I do remember of not being aware of others shooting, sometimes.)
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 9:03:01 PM EST
Was involved in quit a few firefights during my time in the army and am now cursed with tinnitis in both ears. Loud ringing all the time. In fact, now that I think about it, I don't remember ever being issued earplugs.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 10:14:54 PM EST
When I was in the Army in the late 80s I only wore earplugs at the range. When we were out in the woods playing cowboys and Indians I never wore earplugs. You need to be able to hear movement in the brush. Also if you have to whisper a command or comment its hard to with ear plugs in. Funny thing though happened when I had my exit physical. When I went to the hearing test I did very poorly. You have to push a button every time you hear something. I was pushing when there was no beep and not pushing when there was one. I would say no to earplugs in battle, but yes on the range.Unless you are in an artillery or mortar unit. No Slack!
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 10:24:58 PM EST
I'm currently in the Army - we only wear earplugs at ranges. I've done field training without earplugs ( blanks don't make much noise anyway unless its an M-2 .50 two feet from your ears). In Kosovo, we never had earplugs or cared about them. If the sh#t had gone down, I wouldn't be too worried about something as trivial as ear protection if/when bullets are bouncing off concrete and your a-- is on the line.
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 10:53:40 PM EST
Originally Posted By EdAvilaSr: At least in the military of the late 60's we did not wear ear protection in combat,and I doubt they would today.Even if they did I got the feeling many would not wear them. When your adrenalin is pouring out into your veins,shots,bombs,artillery/mortar shells,claymore mines,etc are distinctly heard but they don't bother you. There are other things that bother you more than the ringing of shots in battle.....and they do for a loooong time.
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Yep, I know a few friends and family that are STILL bothered by OTHER things too!
Link Posted: 6/1/2001 11:26:42 PM EST
There is a reason the term "Battle Deafness" was coined... As of 1990-1991, we were beginning to be issued earplugs AND orders to wear them, but we chose not to. After all, I know I was more worried about getting home than protecting my ears. Besides, I say the most useful device for protecting my hearing is a good suppressor rather than a good pair of earplugs... I know that there are quite a few active suppressoin devices for hearing protection, but with having to keep track of radio traffic and the other noises of the field, I preferred to keep my ears open rather than covered. Magnified noises can be disorienting when you haven't got time to think about them! Will troops be issued ear protection? Possibly, it COULD become a standard, but I honestly hope not. Anyone who has spent enough time in the field will tell you that a good suppressor and well-placed rifle shots will serve to keep the battlefield quieter... FFZ
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 1:29:54 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 3:21:28 AM EST
Here's the way it works in the real Army world: Like all things Army, it will depend on alot of things. You are issued earplugs. You get them in basic, and you get them all the time. If you don't, then your safety officer is screwing up. These are soft plastic and come in different sizes. You are supposedly fitted for them, but mine never quite fit right. The foam ones are available through supply, and they even recalled a certain lot because they weren't up to spec (typical, right?). They get dirty fast, and can lead to ear infections. After all they are disposible. The soft plastic ones are easy to clean. Now as to wearing them: Obviously if you are doing something that is in a high niose impact area, you wear hearing protection. That's like Artillery firing, working on running aircraft, flying in ANY Army aircraft, even driving some of the vehicles that have been shown to be too noisy. Obviously you wear them on the range. Blanks are not quite as loud, though they do pose a danger because of frequency loss. They aren't as loud as live ammo, so people tend not to wear plugs (myself included), but they are loud enough to cause damage that you won't know about until way down the road. You should wear them in most MOUT operations. You may need your hearing more if you're sneaking around a city, but if you're firing rockets or ATGMs and setting off explosives in a confined space, you'll loose what hearing you have pretty quick. Like all protective gear, it isn't any good unless used. However it may pose an increased risk over not wearing them. For instance a flak vest and helmet offer great protection, but may be a liability in some situations. Ear plugs are the same. If you need to hear, then don't wear them. If you're in a loud enviroment the protection they provide may offset the lower hearing acuity. Unfortunately many units do not realize the trade-off and will make people wear plugs when they shouldn't, or not wear plugs whne they should. In a perfect world the individual troop should be trained well enough to make that decision for himself, and make the right one. That is rare. Hearing loss from constant noise, like engines, is probably the largest factor in hearing loss to day in the Army. The engine on a duece-and-a-half puts out a whine that will destroy your hearing. It's a constant exposure, though it doesn't seem loud, so few units actually make drivers wear ear protection. The thing about hearing loss is it can happen from an acute event (like gunfire) or from a chronic event (like engine noise). If you have to shout to be heard, then you should be wearing ear protection. ALL Army aircraft are too loud to be in without ear protection. The turbine noise is a frequency that will destroy your hearing in that range after repeated exposure. The standard flight helmet is sound protective, but you still have to wear earplugs in the UH-60 Blackhawk and the OV-1 Mohawk (if they still have them) in addition to the helmet. I found that after flying Hueys for 6 years, it cut out the background noise if I wore the foam plugs in addition to the SPH-4. I would not wear them on maintenance test flights because I had to listen for things falling off or breaking. The SPH-4 gave adequate protection for the UH-1H. However after all my years in the Army, I have hearing loss in certain frequencies. Usually the same frequency my ex-wife speaks in [:D] Ross
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 3:36:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/2/2001 3:48:52 AM EST by Ross]
Now as to eye protection: The Army issues industrial eye protection for people doing shop work just like the civillian world. There are also LASER protective glasses to wear whne working on LASERs. Usually safety glasses get all scratched up and troops don't use them. There's also a lack of command emphasis on using them in most units, so it's less likely to find a troop wearing them when they should be. There are goggles issued for dust and wind. These are the WWII pattern "Rat Patrol" goggles. They provide little protection from much of anything except dust and wind. There are also the same goggles issued with protective lenses that provide impact protection of the same level as saftey goggles you get at Home Depot. They also have lenses for LASER protection, which will protect in certain color bands that most rangefinders operate in. There is also the SPECS system. This consists of a series of lenses (clear, dark, LASER) that are curved like Gargoyles. They are industrial strength protection, and they come with the nose piece, two types of temples, and a retention cord. They come in a hard plstic case that has ALICE clips on the back. In a word they are BAD! They work great, the case is way cool, and really it's one of the better pieces of protective gear ever issued. They come in two sizes regular and X-large. The size is marked on the lens ("R" or "X" on the side panel of the lens) so they even fit us big meloned guys. The only problems are that some oldtimers in leadership positions feel they are just "Joe cool" fad glasses, so they don't let troops use them. There's also the cost factor. Believe it or not, each unit has a budget and has to buy this kinda stuff out of it's own funds. Sometimes they don't have to, but that's only because a higher command has made the decision to foot the bill. In the end, whatever gear you get issued means less of something else. Those trade-offs are what Command is all about. The flight helmet has eye protection built-in and comes with clear and dark lenses. If I were flying at night, I'd fit the clear lens and wear sunglasses in the daylight hours until it got dark. That way I had eye protection all the time. If I was flying during the day, I'd just fit the dark one and use it. You can't use the lens and NVGs at the same time, but the old PVS-5s gave great protection (though lousy visual acuity) because they were this big plastic box strapped to your helmet. The newer ANVIS-6 doesn't give as good protection because it's just the tubes hanging there, and the mount is designed to breakaway during impact so you don't break your neck from the extra weight like the 5's had a good chance of doing. There were LASER protective lenses issued for the helmet when you'd fly the IGB (Inter-German Border, i.e. cold war) because the other side would shoot at you with their rangefinders to try and blind you and make you crash. Or at least blind you permanently. LASERs are qutie dangerous to eye-sight. The NVGs provide great LASER protection because the image has to go through the tube, and it isn't a direct view deal. GLLDs and other LASERs are fully capable of blinding all sorts of targets (i.e. people). The Army lawyers (JAG) has issued a decision that blinding by LASER is not illegal under the Law of Land Warfare and can be utilized by US troops to produce casulties. Ross
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 3:47:17 AM EST
My damn AR10-T is so loud with a 16" bbl and that Armalite recoil check that I can't see after a few rounds, much less hear. I guarantee if you don't wear ear protection, you soon won't need it.
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 4:36:08 AM EST
Soft foam (I like the baffled ones) earplug in the left ear with a radio earplug in the right. You can still hear relatively well that way and you've got a decent level of noise protection. If you need to, you can pop the soft earplug with the left hand and still retain control of your weapon with your right. Gives a good advantage in that you can also still hear your team communication. The left earplug makes it much easier to hear the radio plug. As for the goggles... always in the urban environment. -SARguy
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 5:51:26 AM EST
I got "artillery ears" from my nine years in the army. There are a lot of sounds that I don't hear anymore, thanks to the 8 inch howitzers I dealt with. We were issued ear plugs then, but very few ever used them. In the early 70's things were different I guess. We'd cover our ears and open the mouth so the concussion would not rattle the head so much. But sometimes, get caught off guard and ears would ring. The only good thing that came of this is that it is easier to tune out the wife when she gets to "raggin" me.
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 8:14:42 AM EST
If you're snoopin' and poopin' ear plugs could get you killed because you're dulling one of your senses. If the bullets are already flying, put them in if you can (No one says you have to cram 100% of it into your ear either). I was involved in [i]one[/i] live fire exercise where I didn't use ear plugs. The noise from my own M16 wasted my left ear and the M249 on my right took care of the other. It wasn't combat by any stretch of the imagination, but I'll never forget my ears feeling cold and wet from all the noise. I'm confident that protected ears would retain enough sensitivity to be able to detect someone shouting orders through the ear plugs (especially if that yelling is audible above the gunfire), same as when someone yells 'cease fire' at the range.
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 8:38:32 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 8:43:35 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 8:45:56 AM EST
When in training you wear plugs, But in combat this never happens. After two tours in Viet Nan I never saw any troops wear hearing protection. When you go out on patrol, you need all of your senses, (even smell, fish heads smell real bad)do you think anyone has their ears plugged up, I think not. When a fire fight brakes out the last thing you need is to plug your ears.
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 9:46:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/2/2001 10:34:46 AM EST by STLRN]
The Marine Corps is working on that very issue now. The interim solution is an item called a combat arms ear plug. Made by Aerro corps, they are dual sided, on side is a standard ear plug and is black, the other side is yellow and a sonic valve type ear plug. When you do range training, you wear the black side in, you will get normal protection. When you live fire with maneuver, you place the yellow side in and it shut out only sounds over something like 85 dB. The Marine I have know that have tried them said that sonic valve side works pretty well, don't interfere with normal hearing and are comfortable enough to wear all day. The long term solution is something like the swat ears, but the one of the draw backs is the high cost of each item. Most live-fire ranges require the use of hearing protection. But on most Marine Corps ranges where fire and maneuver are done, they normally don't allow you to wear hearing protection. They logic behind it is that it makes it too difficult to hear fire commands, etc. At TBS we did quite a few ranges that you couldn't wear hearing protection. Since I was an artillery I was one of the few whose ears where not ringing after going through those ranges. But than again I don't hear very well these days. Ross, secondary blinding, effects of a LRF or LTD I think is a little different from weapons designed primarily for blinding. The US, although not a signatory, abides by a treaty basically saying we will not deploy weapons primarily designed to blind people. The US military had a system called the Cobra, that looked similar to a flame thrower, its primary use was blinding, we no longer have it in the inventory. Our current LTD can blind out to 80,000 m if they hit people looking through direct view optic like binoculars or scopes. We know that the FSU and a few other nations have laser dazzler that was designed to fire lasers at any object that shines. If the beam hits unfiltered optics, it would blind personnel looking through them. If it hit optical devices, it would damage or destroy the item.
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 9:56:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By dr jarhead: FWIW there is something called the stapedius reflex. There is a very small muscle that attaches to the stapes, one of the bones of the inner ear that is connected to the eardrum. It moderates the intensity of heard sound when it is extreme. In animals, such as dogs it is a more effective reflex. The problem is the initial shock effect of an unexpected loud noise. Naturally, this will only have a moderating effect and hearing damage to the hair fibers within the cochlea can still occur. High frequency sounds are picked up by the hair fibers nearest the beginning of the cochlea and are the most prone to damage.
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The stapedial reflex has an insignificant effect on noise trauma from gunfire. The reflex can only reduce noise by approximately 4-5 decibels and would fatigue with rapid fire. I believe the military is doing our soldiers an injustice by not purchasing effective electronic hearing protection. The technology is available and is relatively inexpensive considering a life-long service connected disability which will cost the government much more in the long run.
Link Posted: 6/2/2001 12:27:11 PM EST
STRLN- The JAG decision I refer to came right out of the text for the LASER coutermeasures block of instruction given at the Army officer advanced course. It may have changed since 1990, but it was in force back then. We also have(had) a blinding system mounted on a Bradley chasis which has been tested in Bosnia. It was termed a "target aquisition system" in the press (International Space and Technology Weekly), called Stingray. It works the same way you can see a cat's eyes when you hit it with a flashlight. It uses a low energy pulse to detect the reflection of optical systems. It can then simply warn of their direction, or be set to automatically fire a high energy pulse back at it, blinding the operator or burining out the sytem. This was in the late 80's, when I went through the briefing on it. I suppose the FSU developed a similar system as you said. It only makes sense. Maybe the Pentagon got goody-two-shoes and changed doctrine and got rid of the thing. Stranger things have happened. Since they got rid of the Cobra system you mentioned, it's quite possible they reversed policy. All I know is looking at a US Army formation through binoculars, missle tracker, or sniper scope may not be a safe thing to do in the next war. After looking at the Killflash system for scopes, I'm pretty sure it's development was in response to systems like this and not the need to reduce unwanted reflection on the battlefield. Ross
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