The US Army takes the protection of all it’s members very seriously, and this now extends to their canine members as well.
Army researchers have developed a type of headgear designed to protect the dog’s sensitive hearing when they are working in noisy conditions or likely to be exposed to explosive blasts or helicopter rides.
This new very high-tech cap is the latest in combat armor and is designed to fit any of the breeds of dog used by the armed forces. It will replace the hard helmet that is currently used.
The new soft sound-deadening cap will be simple to fit as the hard headgear presently in use is difficult to put onto the dog.
It is called CAPS, which stands for Canine Auditory Protection System, and it is aimed at stopping the short-term hearing loss that many dogs experience when they work in the vicinity of loud machinery or vehicles.
The cap is approximately an inch thick and is made from a soft, very flexible material that absorbs sound and filters out loud noises that can impair or permanently damage a dog’s hearing.
As the military use a variety of breeds of dog, the cap had to be made in such a manner as to stretch or shrink to fit the head of any of the breeds.
It is designed to seal properly around the animal’s head to ensure maximum sound reduction.
Working dogs in the military are already equipped with goggles, helmets, and other types of protective headgear, and this new cap will work with all of the existing protective gear.
An Army research technical expert, Stephen Lee, said, “Even a short helicopter flight can affect a dog’s hearing, resulting in impaired performance and inability to hear the handler’s commands, which can hinder the mission. This new technology protects the canine while on missions and can extend the dog’s working life.”
This protective headgear has been developed under a Small Business Innovation Research Grant given by the Army to a collaboration between a biodefense and medical technology company, ZeteoTech, Lieutenant Commander Pete ‘Skip’ Scheifele MD, Ph.D. (Ret), and the University of Cincinnati.
This cap has been subjected to strenuous testing by both the military and law enforcement agencies to ensure that it adequately protected those sensitive ears and ensured that the dogs could always hear commands given, irrespective of the noise around them.
The use of this new CAPS system will, in the future, allow military working dogs to be used in a broader range of operations.
It has the potential to extend the dog’s ability to work in a more extensive range of environments, both with humans or with automated systems.
Researchers paid particular attention to dogs that regularly traveled in helicopters.
The noise of helicopter engines typically goes above 90db, which is particularly damaging to dogs’ hearing ability.
Dogs’ ears have three times as many muscles as human ears, and they hear up to 50Hz while humans cannot hear sounds above 20Hz.
Military dogs came to the attention of the public when a Belgian Malinois, Conan, was decorated for his role in a recent military operation in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed.
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