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Combat effectiveness improves when hearing is protected

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Every day, warfighters are exposed to noise levels that can negatively affect combat performance and cause hearing damage. From impulse blasts due to ammunition discharge or continuous sound from loud machinery, excessive noise is part of the military experience. The effect of all this noise directly impacts mission success.

A wide array of equipment has been developed to enhance a soldier’s performance. Everything from inexpensive foam earplugs that block out virtually all noise, to sophisticated headsets that combine communications capability with hearing protection. Unfortunately, in the effort to protect hearing, many of these solutions block too much sound. Being unable to hear verbal orders or sense surrounding danger can jeopardize the mission. As a result, many soldiers simply forego hearing protection to be able to maintain situational awareness and protect themselves from hostile threats.

Yet, ignoring hearing protection is not the answer. In the presence of an impulse blast from gunfire or mine explosion, a soldier without adequate hearing protection will experience instant deafness for an amount of time directly correlated to the decibel level of the noise. It’s basically the same as no hearing protection at all. Disorientation and lack of situational and location awareness add up to a deadly situation where the soldier cannot hear verbal commands, is vulnerable to ambush and may be unable to distinguish friendly forces from hostiles.

Innovative hearing protection technology provides exceptional situational awareness for greater tactical success

OTTO Engineering is collaborating with tactical operators in all branches of the military to design and manufacture a better type of hearing protection for today’s warfighters. The goal is to enhance, rather than inhibit, combat performance. The result is OTTO’s NoizeBarrier® line of hearing protection. The NoizeBarrier® Micro electronic earplugs and the NoizeBarrier® TAC headset give today’s warfighters the hearing protection they need with the advanced situational awareness and communications clarity required to prevail in combat. In addition, OTTO’s Multiport Hub PTT simplifies communications with advanced audio steering to minimize distractions when using multiple communications devices.

Proprietary NoizeBarrier® technology can enhance combat performance in three ways:

1. Detect Threats with Greater Accuracy

Instead of dampening sounds completely and compromising a soldier’s ability to hear what’s happening nearby, the NoizeBarrier® TAC headset and NoizeBarrier® Micro electronic earplugs feature proprietary technology that actually improves situational awareness. NoizeBarrier® technology enhances low frequency sounds, like nearby voices and movement, and minimizes distracting and damaging noises to enable soldiers to hear essential commands and approaching danger with greater clarity. With the NoizeBarrier® true 360-degree soundscape, soldiers can easily determine with near certainty the direction sounds are coming from and how far they are away from the current location.

The NoizeBarrier® Micro electronic earplugs take situational awareness to the next level with an enhanced mode that provides 5X amplification of soft sounds. With enhanced mode on, soldiers can hear clearer than ever, providing greater safety in the field. When quick reactions matter, verbal commands issued in barely detectible whispers and sounds as minimal as clothes brushing against skin can be clearly heard and quickly pinpointed. In combat, soldiers can identify potential threats and recognize friendly forces faster and with greater certainty.

2. Improve Communications Clarity

With NoizeBarrier® hearing protection, soldiers do not have to rely on their ability to interpret hand motions or read lips to react quickly and follow orders. Proprietary situational awareness technology allows normal-level sounds to be easily heard, while suppressing loud noise and impulse blasts to internationally accepted safe levels. Verbal commands can be heard completely and clearly without distortion, clipping or cutting out.

The same holds true for incoming radio transmissions for soldiers using the NoizeBarrier® TAC headset. Some headsets indiscriminately distort and cut-out incoming transmissions when the noise in the surrounding environment is too loud. Essential transmissions can be fragmented or even lost, which clearly jeopardizes the safety of the mission. With the NoizeBarrier® TAC there is no clipping of transmitted commands or shut-down of situational awareness, allowing soldiers to remain focused, alert and primed for mission success.

3. Simplify Control of Communications Devices

In today’s combat arena, soldiers are connected to multiple communication devices. Control of the devices can be distracting and compromise safety and combat performance if not managed well. The Multi-Port Hub PTT is designed to integrate seamlessly with the NoizeBarrier® TAC headset to centralize control of as many as three different communication devices. Incoming transmissions from different devices are sent to separate ears (audio steering) for clarity and safety in critical engagements. In short, the Hub simplifies communications and helps soldiers maintain situational awareness, location awareness (when used with a ATAK-type device), clarity and focus during critical operations.

Safety is paramount to winning the mission

Providing today’s soldiers with advanced hearing protection that allows for exceptional situational awareness is a win-win for all. With the right hearing protection, soldiers won’t be tempted to go into combat without protecting their hearing. They will be confident they can hear clearly, execute effectively and maintain greater safety overall.

About OTTO Engineering

OTTO Engineering supplies advanced two-way radio accessories to seven of the eight major radio manufacturers, and is also recognized for excellence by military forces, law enforcement agencies, public safety agencies, retail and commercial customers worldwide. The company engineers, manufactures and tests tactical communication headsets, push-to-talk (PTT) systems, speaker microphones, cable assemblies for connecting accessories to radios, plus tactical surveillance kits and wireless intercoms in Carpentersville, IL, U.S.A.

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