Advanced Hearing Protection

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: F49620-01-C-0003
Agency Tracking Number: F013-0108
Amount: $98,434.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2001
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
9813 Admiral Dewey Ave., NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87111
DUNS: 175521103
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Nancy Winfree
 Principal Engineer
 (505) 822-0005
Business Contact
 Joseph Kang
Title: Principal Engineer
Phone: (505) 822-0005
Research Institution
 Tony G Waldrop
 Grants & Contr, 109 Coble Hall, 801 S. Wright St
Champaign, IL, 61820
 (217) 333-2187
 Nonprofit college or university
Some ground crews for aircrafts are exposed to ambient noise levels up to 150 dB SPL: at these levels, conduction of sound through tissues is significant and may be responsible for hearing loss. Protecting the ear canal with earplugs and earmuffs cannotprevent damage caused by tissue-conducted sound. Our research partners at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, experts in bioacoustics and audiology, will use finite element analysis to investigate the reception and conduction of sound through hardand soft tissues of the head and torso. From their work we will determine the attenuation characteristics that protective gear should possess. We will demonstrate methods to increase the attenuation provided by passive earmuffs. Similar improvements canbe made to helmets and garments, but these will await completion of the tissue conduction analysis. Finally, we will begin to assess the feasibility of incorporating active cancellation of air-borne noise into headgear other than earmuffs; effectiveactively controlled earmuffs already exist on the market.The technology developed to protect the hearing from high-intensity sound can have numerous military and consumer applications. Potential military devices include 1) hearing-protection for aircraftground crew, and for maintenance, repair, and testing personnel of aircraft engines, 2) helmets for ear and brain protection of pilots in military aircraft, and 3) ear protective device for crews in the engine room of a ship. Potential commercial devicesinclude 1) hearing protection for patients and operating room personnel during extracororeal shock wave lithotripsy, 2) protective helmet for patients undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging, and 3) ear protection devices for people in variousindustries using tools that produce high sound pressure.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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