An Evaluation of Selected Communications Assemblies and Hearing Protection Systems: A Field Study Conducted for the Future Force Warrior Integrated Headgear Integrated Process Team

Report No. ARL-TR-3475
Authors: Angelique A. Scharine, Paula P. Henry, and Mary S. Binseel
Date/Pages: April 2005; 35 pages
Abstract: Radio communications and hearing protection are two critical components of the Future Force Warrior (FFW) ensemble. A field study was conducted to evaluate three different communication system concepts: bone conduction, communications earmuffs, and communications earplugs, all of which are being considered for the FFW ensemble. Eight Soldiers participated in a series of activities to evaluate each of the systems regarding communication effectiveness, comfort, environmental hearing, hearing protection, and ease of use. Objective and subjective data were collected in each of the following tasks: a road march, speech intelligibility in noise, speech intelligibility in noise in a moving vehicle, and speech intelligibility when chemical/ biological protective gear is worn. The results of the study suggest reducing selection to two concepts: the bone conduction system and the communications earplug. However, further testing and development are needed in order for either system to be in an acceptable form. Furthermore, a determination should be made regarding whether communication systems should be independent from the helmet. Both the Soldier's comfort and the Soldier's need for communications should be considered.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2005