Combat is loud, and gunshots are an occupational hazard of being a soldier. A single gunshot can temporarily blow out a soldier’s hearing, reducing situational awareness and the ability to overhear commands. Prolonged gunshot noise exposure over a soldier’s career can do irreparable harm to hearing.

Which is why the U.S. Army has developed an all-in-one hearing system that not only boosts the hearing of troops in the field, it also acts to cut down the noise of battle. The system, known as Tactical Communication and Protective System (TCAPS), is currently rolling out to units in the field.

In the past, protecting a soldier’s hearing has traditionally come with a trade-off: the inability to hear quieter sounds, particularly human voices. Ear protection also deadens sounds to the point where the wearer can’t figure out where they’re coming from—a necessity when someone is shooting at you and you need to figure out where they are.

Now, the U.S. Army’s PEO Soldier program has come up with the best of both worlds. TCAPS is $2,000 pair of earbuds designed to limit battlefield noise exposure, cutting off noise that reach a set decibel threshold. The wearer can still hear gunshots and estimate their direction, but the noise is dampened to a non-damaging level thanks to microphones that detect the noise, and internals that use sound canceling technology to modify it for a wearer’s ears.

At the same time, the decibel cap allows TCAPS-equipped soldiers to hear the voices of others around him, including through radios and other communications equipment.

Read More: Popular Mechanics

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