In the late 1990s, the U.S. military requested earplugs to offer protection from high-level impulse noises – like gunfire – while still allowing the user to hear lower-level sounds – like speech – with limited interruption. To meet this need, Aearo, a predecessor company of 3M, developed the early prototypes of the CAEv2 product, and its design features were requested and accepted by individuals acting on the military’s behalf. Testing by the military, 3M, and Aearo, as well as independent labs and other organizations, confirmed that the CAEv2 product decreased noise as intended at every frequency.1, 2
3M shared information with the U.S. military about the importance of proper fitting for the CAEv2 product, and the U.S. military requested that it be responsible for providing fitting instructions to service members. When used according to those fitting instructions, the CAEv2 product helped provide hearing protection to service members in combat environments.
Hearing loss unfortunately has always been a potential side effect for individuals serving in the military.3 According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, today these conditions are by far the most prevalent service-connected injuries. The CAEv2 product was designed to mitigate against those risks, and it worked as intended.
1. Air Force Research Laboratory, Wideband Hearing, Intelligibility, and Sound Protection (WHISPr) (2008) Institute of Medicine, Noise and Military Service: Implications for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus (2006), mdl-2885-dkt-1071-7-air-force-research-laboratory-wideband-hearing-intelligibility-and-sound-protection-whispr-2008-compdf
2. James Lovejoy, Hearing Protection Evaluation for the Combat Arms Earplug at Idaho National Laboratory (2007), https://inldigitallibrary.inl.gov/sites/sti/sti/3661877.pdf
3. Institute of Medicine, Noise and Military Service: Implications for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus (2006), https://www.veteransdisabilityinfo.com/files/noise_and_military_service_iom_study_report.pdf
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