Last year we looked at a pair of Peltor Ear defenders from the 2000s here. This was by no means the first set of ear defenders issued and tonight we have a much earlier pair, produced by the firm of RACAL:The design of these is very similar, with a sprung head piece, supporting two separate ear pieces:These can be folded inside to reduce the size down for storage and to prevent them getting damaged when not in use:These ear defenders date from 1988 and the date, partial NSN number and a /|\ mark are moulded into the sides of the ear pieces:The makers mark is moulded into the head band:The design of these is very similar to the Peltor example with foam being used as the sound insulator:This pattern of ear defender feels cheaper and cruder than the later Peltor examples, but the principle remains the same.
This design of ear defender is obviously of no use on the battlefield, but was issued for use on ranges and in other training scenarios. It was recognised that hearing loss was a real problem to those exposed to rifle fire on a regular basis and where it was practicable it was best to try and minimise the damage. These large ‘ear duffs’ are not popular with troops and many try and get their own earplugs of a smaller and more comfortable nature, it was however an early recognition that the MoD had a duty of care towards troops and their hearing and the fact that thirty years later similar designs are still issued shows that on some level it must have been an effective policy.