GORE Protective Fabrics

USMC Seeks Hearing Enhancement Devices

Currently, the USMC has a requirement for between 7000 and 65000 hearing enhancement devices over the next three years to be used in conjunction with, or in lieu of, the current Combat Arms Earplugs Marines already wear.

USMC photo by Staff Sgt. Ezekiel Kitandwe
The goal is to protect Marines’ hearing while increasing their situational awareness through a suite of devices. The systems can be circumaural (headset) or intra-aural (inner ear) but must include versions that are both communications enabled and versions that are not communications enabled. Regardless, they must work with Marine radios and the Enhanced Combat Helmet.

Consequently, the Marines have issued a Request for Information to industry.

In a press release, Steven Fontenot, project officer for Hearing, Eye Protection and Loadbearing Equipment in Program Manager Infantry Combat Equipment at Marine Corps Systems Command related, “Marines have the earplugs and they do provide protection, but sometimes they choose not to wear them because they want to be aware of their surroundings at all times. The new headset we want to acquire will allow Marines to wear hearing protection, yet still provide the opportunity to communicate and understand what is going on around them.”

He also explained that in February they seeded sample headsets to 220 infantry, artillery, reconnaissance and combat engineer Marines to ask their opinions on fit, form, function and comfort. Testing was conducted at the Air Force Research Laboratory and during live fire exercises with the Infantry Training Exercise 2018. Recon Marines also took headsets to Norway to conduct cold weather training and were pleased with the performance.

Based on the RFI, PM ICE plans to evaluate additional systems from industry, with procurement of systems beginning in 2020.

3 Responses to “USMC Seeks Hearing Enhancement Devices”

  1. patrick sweeney says:

    It’s about time. I’ve never understood the reluctance to wear protection. You want to remain aware of what is around you, OK.

    Let’s just pick a number out of the air, and say that foamies take away 5% of your situational awareness, audio-wise. Without protection, you’re going to lose 5% sooner or later anyway. With foamies, you get the 5% back when you take them out. Without, the 5% loss is forever. and always going to get worse, the longer you don’t protect.

    With some kind of electronic protection, you can have it all, and that is money well spent.

  2. b_rawrd says:

    Ouch rocking the Peltors under an LWH. Probably end up going with the $2000 TCAPS earbuds like the Army.

  3. JBAR says:

    Is this so that they can have extended coms with JAGS to ask permission to shoot?