“Members of the 101st Airborne Division agreed to wear special helmets rigged with hearing loss simulators,” WaPo science maven Mary Roach writes in her new book Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. “Among the top-performing teams, even mild hearing loss caused a 50% decrease in ‘kill ratio’ (the number of enemies eliminated divided by the number of surviving teammates) . . .
“Not so much because their difficulty hearing was causing them to shoot or run in the wrong direction, but because they were unsure of what was going on. With their ability to communicate compromised, their actions were more tentative.”
Chances are you’re not a Screaming Eagle. In the advent of a violent attack, you’re not going to have to move, communicate and/or coordinate initial or return fire with a team of friendlies. Then again, you probably will. “Call 911!” “Stay in your room!” Maybe even “Cover me!”
As the 101st learned, if you’re even partially deaf, your ability to coordinate with friends and/or family will be limited. Not to mention your ability to communicate with responding police officers. And make no mistake gunfire inside a house is deafening. One blast from a shotgun can permanently degrade your hearing and will reduce your ability to hear, well, anything.
Unless you wear ear protection. Then the initial gun blast won’t deafen you. Nor will any subsequent ballistic insults. Bonus! You’ll get “supernatural” (i.e., enhanced) hearing that will help you ID the position and movement of both friendlies and bad guys.
Ain’t nobody got time for that? Make time. Keep a pair of active noise cancellation earmuffs by the bedside. Bump-in-the-night or alarm goes off? Put on your headphones then grab your gun and start coordinating the troops. If you or your loved ones are being attacked in your own home, you want a 100 percent threat-stopping ratio. You hear me?