Combat Earplugs

I saw an short article on the American AFN TV channel this weekend, talking about Combat Earplugs that are now being issued to American soldiers.

Was wondering what the view is on the usefulness of these things?

More info here
Arrgghhh the American propaganda channel, quality tv, however, has anyone else noticed that they look like the ear defence we used to be issued years ago before the yellow squidgy ones came into being??

No wonder i am deaf now.

I for one wouldn't wear them on a dark night out on patrol. I want to hear everything and ear plugs are just going to get in the way. Even if nothing's there I'm going to think I'm missing it wearing them. Once any shooting has started I'm not going to waste time putting them in.

Sat in a helicopter or in the back of an APC, is a whole different game. If the shooting has started ynd you already have them in, why not keep them there as long as you can still hear your PRR, crack on.

But it does seem to be a bit of a compromise doesn't it? Risk loosing your life now because you can't hear a threat approaching in order to save your hearing for the future.
Erm how about the electronic ear defenders you can get - apparently let you hear everything except for the LOUD stuff like gunfire etc, and can change the volume down for if you are in an AFV or something else continually noisy. Look like earmuffs and apparently you can get some that you can plug your PRR and a mic into...
^ i've used them on ranges, great bit of kit. You still feel as though you are missing things though.

Edited to add that those ear plugs are the same ones used by the Fire services. I have used them on ranges and they work no better or worse than the old yellow squidgy ones we got before aplivox.
If its true that with these earplugs you can either block out sounds such as gunfire or noisy machinery and still here sounds you need to like talking or movement, then great stuff.

They'll be a lot better than the option we have now of wearing the earmuffs and protecting your ears but hearing practically nothing, or going without and being a lot more "tactical" but probably deaf in the future!

I don't think that a pair of earplugs can really do this though. How can they let through quiet sounds (someone whispering QBOs to you just before you go into a noisy attack, or leaves rustling as someone tries to creep up on you for example) while stopping the sound of gunfire or engines etc? It just doesn't make sense.

I wear orange "GI" earplugs now as I find the yellow squishy ones to be crap, but even they're not great. You can hear a bit more of what you need to than with the earmuffs but you still miss a lot, and the protection against BANGs is less. So its all a trade-off I guess...

Now tell me of the electronic ones, they sound like they could be the answer... But they're issued to arty only I hear :(
^ the electronic ones ar rather cumbersome, bigger than the aplivox. They take batteries and are pretty non-tactical(the ones i've used).

Incidently the Liverpool armed response unit use them aswell, although black and a bit more tactical.
Whether its earmuffs or plugs or whatever it is, someone needs to get something into service that cuts out the loud stuff or droning stuff like shooting, engines, NCO attacks etc and still lets you hear everything else like you weren't wearing them and use the rest of your kit like radios, intercoms etc. Otherwise we are going to continue to have either deaf soldiers or worse, dead ones...

Edited to add: Jesus christ did you see the price on some of those ESP thingymabobs? 2000 dollars??!!! They will never get bought on a Pte's pay, and imagine losing them! Whats wrong with the big earmuff electronic ones?
^Yep $2000 is bloody steep and you have to get them specially fitted. Can't see that being ran out across the army.

The big electronic ones are larger than amplivox, heavier and you do still feel as though you are missing things, even if you are not! Battery operated and this alone could be an issue.

They work by cutting out noise over 70 dbs and increasing noise like speach and the likes up to 70 dbs thus everything is heard at the same level, it does make sounds feel a bit artificial.
I posted this on the 'Ear Defenders' thread about a month back, but I can very much recommend the custom moulded ear plugs from a company called Green Leopard, who usually have a stall at most game fairs. Really comfy and better sound attenuation than muffs, plus you can wear them with a headset. Cost is only ~£45, but for another £20 they will fit an impulse noise filter. The filters let normal speech through but block gunfire etc. A big plus is that there are no batteries to run out.

After all the years struggling to get comfy with an ear defenders/hat/glasses combination or the dreaded yellow foam nasties, they really are a revelation.
I have the expensive (£300) electronic ones for civvy shooting. I treated myself to them because I thought that being able to hear in 30 years time is worth the money. These go in the ear and are moulded to suit you like a hearing aid. You can actually turn them up to pick up stuff you wouldn't normally hear but they still protect you from loud noises. Could be good for patrols and LPs.
I think they would need to be ruggedised for issue use though.

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