SAVER Assessment Report: Hearing Protection with Integrated Radio Communication [November 2016]   [open pdf - 998KB]

"Tactical headsets are designed to fit under, or attach to, a ballistic helmet. They combine electronic hearing protection, radio communication, and the ability to maintain peripheral hearing in a tactical environment. In August 2016, the System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) Program conducted an operationally oriented assessment of hearing protection with integrated radio communications.Six tactical headsets were assessed by emergency responders. The products chosen included models with ear cups, a combination of ear buds with three-fourths ear cups (or 'horseshoe'-shaped housings), and bone conduction technology. Standard ear tips were ordered as applicable. The products chosen were based on criteria developed by a focus group of emergency responders with experience using hearing protection with integrated radio communications. The focus group meeting was followed up with market research.The criteria and scenarios used in this assessment were derived from the results of that focus group meeting. The assessment addressed 12 evaluation criteria in four SAVER categories: Capability, Deployability, Usability, and Maintainability. The focus group briefly discussed Affordability but did not identify any evaluation criteria for that category."

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