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Now hear this: new ear plugs on the way.

Military maintenance crews may soon be the beneficiaries of a small digital device that will protect them from permanent hearing loss caused by the roar of jet fighter turbines.

Designed by Adaptive Technologies Inc. for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. the QuietCom earplug protects from high intensity ambient noise, while permitting clear communication and improved speech intelligibility among members of Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force ground crews, a company spokesman said.

Inside the earplugs are a miniature microphone and speaker. "Sound inside the ear is actively cancelled through a process known as active noise reduction," the spokesman explained, adding that while this technology has been used in headsets. "this is the first practical application of the technology for deep-insert earplug devices."

The roar of combat aircraft is one of the "loudest sounds in the world, and can reach 150 decibels for carrier aircrews standing along the foul line during a catapult launch." he said. A single unprotected exposure can cause permanent hearing loss.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Tech Talk
Author:Williams, Robert H.
Publication:National Defense
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:165
Previous Article:Unmanned 'Little Bird' could see combat.
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