The sound of live ammunition can be pretty loud. The sound of music festival can get quite loud as well – perhaps even louder.

While festivalgoers and musicians might not be subjected to as sustained or harsh sounds that army infantrymen might be, they’ve both been suffering from the same problem – hearing loss.

Well, the U.S. Army has invented a new type of earbud that protects their soldiers from the harsh ringing of live ammunition while still allowing them to communicate with their fellow soldiers. This system is called TCAPS, Tactical Communication and Protective System, and has been in deployment since 2014 and currently there are about 20,000 of them deployed in the field, so far.

This smart earplug system allows wearers to hear quiet sounds, which could mean life or death from a soldier’s perspective, but also protects them from the sounds of explosions and live ammunition close by. These sounds include the sounds of a “door opening or a twig breaking” so you can get a sense of just how precise the earplugs are.

While there’s currently no plans in store for civilian use just yet, you can obviously see the practical application that this technology has for festivalgoers and musicians. One of the problems I have when using conventional earplugs and attending shows is that half the times I have to take them out to talk to the people around me. Hopefully, if this technology ever gets revamped for use among the general public it’ll save a lot of the possible ear damage that festivalgoers and musicians get every time they play or attend shows – even if you don’t realize the damage your ear sustains every time you go out.


H/T: NPR | Featured Image Source: Sgt. Jon Heinrich/U.S. Army