Hearing loss may occur in military canines in the same way that it can occur in human troops when they are exposed to excessive levels of noise.
The military of the United States makes extensive use of highly trained canines in a variety of roles. Approximately 1,600 canines assist human soldiers in crucial activities such as searching for targets and locating explosives while working side-by-side with the troops. This year, for instance, a military dog by the name of Conan had a moment of notoriety after supporting special military troops in the assassination of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, in Syria.
As John Vandiver of Stars and Stripes reports, the Army is working on creating new equipment that will undoubtedly better protect the ears of K-9 partners while they are working. In the same way that human personnel is routinely exposed to high levels of noise during training and on the field, army dogs are frequently exposed to high levels of noise in the same way that humans are prone to both acute and long-term hearing damage.
According to Stephen Lee, a senior researcher at the Military Research Study Office, ” Even a brief helicopter ride may influence a dog’s hearing, resulting in degraded efficiency and inability to hear the handler’s directions, which might impede the operation.”
Hearing protection systems are now available for military canines; however, the devices are bulky and difficult to fit on the dogs because of their rigidity. Therefore, with assistance from the United States Army Medical Research and Development Command, the clinical device business Zeteo Technology has been collaborating with Peter Scheifele, executive director of the animal acoustics lab Fetchlab, to produce better equipment.
This device, also known as the Canine Auditory Protection System (or CAPS), is a small hood constructed from acoustic absorption materials that prevent the dog from hearing loud noises. The hood is both lightweight and flexible, which enables it to comfortably fit over the head of a dog while still protecting its ears from excessive noise. Because it is just an inch thick, CAPS does not make it difficult for dogs to move about while they are working in confined places, and it may be used in conjunction with other protective equipment like goggles.
According to the Army Lab, the research team tested CAPS “extensively” on military and government enforcement canines “for wearability, usage, and comfort.” These tests were conducted to determine whether or not the device was suitable for use. In the course of helicopter operations, tests were reportedly carried out, and the results revealed “a considerable decrease in temporary hearing loss.”
It is not the first time that the protection authorities have invested in technology to keep military canines safe; this is just the most recent instance. For example, in 2017, Kyle Stock of Bloomberg reported that the Department of Defense was procuring very lifelike dog mannequins, some of which featured a pulse and an inside bag that simulates breathing, in order to assist in training medical personnel to care for wounded dogs. The welfare of the dogs is not the only thing that is put in jeopardy; there is a huge demand for specialist working dogs, and the acquisition of these animals may be rather expensive.
“With terrorists attacking public transit and tourism places all over the globe, the demand for bomb-sniffing canines on a worldwide scale has actually increased,” writes Supply. ” ” Dogs with highly educated noses presently pay upwards of $25,000 in the open market, which is where border patrol units, the State Division, and private security firms go with dog expertise.
According to Vandiver, the specific date on which CAPS will definitively become accessible to military forces that work with canines is not yet known. However, experts are optimistic about the hoodie’s potential powers. According to Lee, “This new technology will increase the capacity of canines to function in a wide variety of conditions, and enable a larger usage for army working dogs in operations.”
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