3M has added five hearing protection devices to the US AbilityOne Commission’s Federal Procurement List (FPL), effective September 3, 2012, to help military personnel who are often exposed to excessive noise levels.

As part of a co-branding agreement, New Dynamics Corporation will assemble, package, and distribute the 3M devices through its government and commercial contracts, providing employment opportunities for more than 20 employees with and without disabilities.

The hearing protection devices being added to the federal procurement list include a series of 3M Combat Arms Earplugs and the 3M E-A-R Yellow Skull Screws earplugs. Combat Arms Earplugs provide hear-through capabilities, which enable military personnel to hear low-level sounds, such as footsteps or spoken commands, while protecting against damaging impulse noise from explosions or firearms.

Yellow Skull Screws earplugs provide high-attenuation, easy insertion and compliance with Foreign Objects and Debris (FOD) requirements in proximity with military aircraft and flight lines.

The Combat Arms Earplug is made of a washable plastic, has a triple-flange eartip to keep it in place, and features a rocker switch that is operated without removing the earplug. Military personnel can adjust the rocker with a quick “click” depending on the type of protection required for the mission. When it’s in the open or “weapons fire” position, sound can travel through the sound channel filter into the ear. For noisy environments that don’t require a hear-through listening capability, such as being near helicopters, troop carriers, or generators, the rocker can be closed for “constant protection.”

New Dynamics Corporation works closely with NISH, a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities by securing federal contracts through the AbilityOne Program.

“People with disabilities are the nation’s largest untapped labor force and nearly 80 percent of these individuals do not have jobs,” said NISH President and CEO Bob Chamberlin. “It is our mission to help secure work for people with disabilities, and it is particularly fitting that we work with New Dynamics and 3M as their hearing protection products and services can help reduce the number of hearing-related disabilities within the military and other at-risk populations.”

The official government procurement order is available here.