3M Peltor COMTAC III ACH supports critical communications, helps preserve hearing

ComTac ACH ARC 2

ST. PAUL, Minn., 13 July 2013. Engineers at 3M in St. Paul, Minn., have debuted the 3M Peltor COMTAC III Advanced Communication to support service members’ operational effectiveness and help preserve their hearing.

Noise often obstructs critical combat communications and can inflict permanent hearing impairment, the top service-related disability among U.S. veterans.

“Despite all the military’s efforts to prevent hearing loss, traditional passive protection often goes unused because it decreases a soldier’s ability to hear and communicate in quiet,” says LTC Eric Fallon, a retired Army audiologist and part of 3M’s Personnel Safety Division. That lack of use likely is a major reason why the Veterans Administration paid more than $850 million for hearing-related compensation in 2011, he adds.  

 “The tactical cost is not as easily calculated, but perhaps even more significant,” Fallon explains. “Service members who’ve had to communicate face-to-face or over radio systems while surrounded by high noise levels can tell you it’s a major challenge. Enhancing communications while protecting our combat personnel is a top priority within the military’s hearing community. Devices like the COMTAC III ACH are a critical component of that effort.”

The COMTAC III ACH helps soldiers maintain clear tactical communications, even in the noisiest combat environments. Using advanced “talk-thru” capability, the COMTAC III ACH helps attenuate loud sounds, such as weapons fire or vehicle noise, to safe levels. The device also enables warfighters to hear discrete ambient sounds, from a footfall to a whisper, to help them maintain situational awareness in quieter environments. The result: increased survivability, lethality, and mission effectiveness, says a company representative.

Today, the COMTAC III ACH is fielded by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the U.S. Army Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI), and Special Operations Forces.

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