Padded hood is made to protect army dogs' hearing
Military personnel are regularly exposed to loud noises, such as when they're being transported by helicopter. And while human soldiers usually wear hearing protection in such situations, the same can't always be said for their "working" dogs. A new garment has been designed to address that problem.
First of all, other canine hearing-protection wearables do already exist. However, these reportedly tend to be rigid, difficult to mount on the dog, and are only somewhat effective. In order to address those limitations, the Canine Auditory Protection System (CAPS) was invented.
With funding from the US Army, it was created via a collaboration between Maryland-based startup Zeteo Tech and Dr. Pete Scheifele – the latter is a retired Navy lieutenant commander, and an animal audiology expert working at the University of Cincinnati's FETCHLAB research center.
The garment itself is essentially an acoustically-padded, elasticized sleeve-like hood, which is soft and flexible enough that it easily conforms to the contours of the dog's head. Once in place, it is claimed to maximize comfort by evenly distributing pressure, while also maximizing sound reduction by thoroughly sealing around the ears.
It has already been tested for usability on military and law-enforcement dogs, plus it's been found to significantly reduce short-term hearing loss in dogs after air travel.
"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," says Dr. Stephen Lee, senior scientist at the Army Research Office. "This new technology protects the canine while on missions and can extend the dog's working life."
Source: US Army