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A research programme supported by the US Army Medical Research and Development Command has developed an innovative hearing protection system for military working dogs.

The Canine Auditory Protection System (CAPS) was developed by Zeteo Tech in partnership with animal audiology expert and retired navy lieutenant commander Pete Scheifele.

Military dogs are likely to be affected by temporary and permanent hearing loss due to exposure to high-decibel noise during transport, training and operations.

Zeteo Tech developed the CAPS under a small business innovation research (SBIR) contract with the army.

The solution is designed to prevent short-term hearing loss in military working dogs.

Army Research Office senior scientist Dr Stephen Lee said: “Even a short helicopter flight can affect a dog’s hearing, resulting in impaired performance and inability to hear the handler’s commands, which can hinder the mission. This new technology protects the canine while on missions and can extend the dog’s working life.”

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The company has stated that Scheifele tested the performance of the CAPS during helicopter operations. The solution is claimed to have delivered positive results in the evaluation.

Zeteo Tech vice-president Michael McLoughlin said: “Zeteo Tech is excited to provide CAPS in response to a critical need for effective canine hearing protection in demanding environments.”

The firm has designed the solution using lightweight high-quality acoustic absorption materials.

The flexible design of the CAPS ensures ‘proper sealing around the ear and maximum sound reduction’.

The ‘snood’ style headgear resembles a close-fitting hood. According to Zeteo Tech, the headgear uniformly distributes ‘the pressure required to hold the hearing protection in place’.

Military working dogs are used by the defence forces for patrol, tactical operations, detection and search.