View Full Version : Corps promotes, practices hearing conservation

12-11-05, 10:42 AM
Corps promotes, practices hearing conservation
II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story by Lance Cpl. Josh Cox

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Dec. 11, 2005) -- The sense of hearing is one many people take for granted. In many instances, conventional ear plugs have been viewed as an inconvenience because verbal communication is often limited while using the protection.

“Hearing loss is the number one claim by veterans for disability to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs,” said Lt. Col. Mike Miller, safety officer, Safety Office, II Marine Expeditionary Force, (FWD).

The Marine Corps recently updated the uniform order (MCO P1020.34G; Marine Corps Uniform Regulations), requiring Marines to carry specific ear protection while in combat and training environments.

The order states, “Marines in a training/combat environment are required to carry double-ended Combat Arms Ear Plugs as part of their tactical combat utility uniform.

“When not in use, CAE’s should be maintained inside their protective case inside their utility uniform pockets, or attached to their outer tactical vest or flak jacket while in a training or tactical environment.”

According to the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, the new hearing protection muffles gun fire and loud noises, while allowing service members to clearly communicate and hear noises in tactical environments.

“In combat [verbal communication] is particularly important,” said Miller. “Marines need to be able to hear instructions. Verbal signals are imperative in combat, particularly in urban combat.”

Information from the center about the hearing protection states, “they function like sunglasses that cut down glare reducing the noise to a level where the ear is not ‘overloaded.’”

The plug uses specialized filters to cut down on loud noises and bursts, and consists of two types of plugs per pair. One side of the double-ended plug is specifically used when being exposed to sporadic sounds like gun fire, while the opposite side is used for steady state noise.

The separate plugs are color coated. The yellow end is for gun fire blasts, and the olive drab side for steady state noise.

The development of these new Combat Arms Ear Plugs was designed specifically to enable a Marine to insert his earplugs at the beginning of the operation when he has reason to believe that he’s going to have to fire his weapon or be exposed to loud impact noises,” said Miller.

For more information about hearing conservation, and the Combat Arms Ear Plugs, contact your local safety office.