Loud sounds with fast rise times, like gunfire and explosions, can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Unfortunately, current models do not adequately explain how impulsive sounds cause NIHL, which makes it difficult to predict and prevent NIHL on battlefields and other hostile or rugged environments. Fortunately, the impulsive sounds experienced by soldiers and others working in rugged environments can be recorded using a compact, portable system that acquires, digitizes, and stores high-bandwidth audio data. An example of this system can be mounted on a helmet or other article and used to record hours of audio data at a bandwidth of 20 kHz or higher, which is broad enough to capture sounds with rise times less than 50 ms. An analog-to-digital converter (ADC) digitizes these broadband audio signals at rate of 40 kB/s or higher to preserve the impulse information. A processor transfers the digitized samples from a buffer to a memory card for later retrieval using an interrupt-driven processing technique.
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. HR0011-12-2-0007 awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and under Grant No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.