Back to Top Skip to main content

With success comes ‘great momentum’ in hearing center’s future

Marine Staff Sgt. Charles Mitchell takes the annual audiogram test at Camp Pendleton, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Khoa Pelczar) Marine Staff Sgt. Charles Mitchell takes the annual audiogram test at Camp Pendleton, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Khoa Pelczar)

Recommended Content:

Hearing Loss | DoD/VA Sharing Initiatives | Innovation

For service members, the ability to hear affects their safety, mission, and quality of life – and remains critical out of the military. The care service members receive is influenced by more than fancy devices and doctors’ visits. The Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence works behind the scenes to help ensure that warfighters receive the best care possible for hearing and balance issues.

“It’s part of our job as the Military Health System to make sure that the people we’re sending in to do their jobs, whether it’s in training or in a combat situation, are able to hear and perform to their maximum ability,” said Air Force Col. LaKeisha Henry, division chief for the Hearing Center of Excellence, also known as the HCE.

While it doesn’t directly care for patients, HCE impacts the care patients receive for hearing and balance issues across the DoD and VA. Established in 2009, HCE serves as a platform for collaboration as it builds partnerships with the VA and other organizations, including the National Institutes of Health. Together, their work focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of hearing and balance issues.

The center gives providers in the DoD and VA access to current information, education, and training through its development of clinical best practices. These best practices, which serve as recommendations, help shape how providers care for patients with hearing and balance issues.

“It’s our responsibility to do what we can to prevent, diagnose, mitigate, treat, and rehabilitate hearing and balance injuries in service members and veterans, giving them the best opportunity to maintain fitness for duty and the quality of life that they deserve,” said Lynn Henselman, deputy division chief for HCE.

Exposure to loud noises is common in the military. While the wearing of hearing protection isn’t always practical in combat zones, the HCE is helping service members prevent noise-induced hearing loss through its Comprehensive Hearing Health Program. The program promotes proper use of protective equipment, such as earplugs or earmuffs. It also teaches veterans and service members about the effects of noise and why wearing protection is so important.

The HCE is developing an Armed Forces registry to track data on hearing loss, as well as auditory and balance injuries. It shares the data with the VA to help the departments understand the impact of prevention and clinical best practices as service members move from active duty to veteran status. For patients, this allows for continuity of care.

Roughly 1.6 million veterans had a service-connected disability for tinnitus – the humming, ringing, buzzing, or other sounds in the ears or head – and more than 1 million veterans had a service-connected disability for hearing loss in 2016, increasing every year, said Henselman. According to the Veterans Benefits Administration, tinnitus and hearing loss are the top two service-connected disabilities among veterans.

“HCE has a great network of advisors from the MHS, DoD, VA, and NIH who come together to understand what research is ongoing, what research capabilities are available, where we have gaps, and how to close those gaps,” said Henselman. The center provides expertise that informs and advises many important outlets, including Congress and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. It also provides information to leadership across the DoD, VA, Veterans Health Administration, and Defense Health Agency.

DoD and VA audiologists offer a variety of prevention, diagnostic, and rehabilitation services for members of the military and veterans, as well as state-of-the-art hearing aids, tinnitus maskers, and cochlear implants. Henselman recommended a discussion with a health care provider for anyone who suspects a hearing or balance issue linked to a traumatic brain injury.

“Our focus on advocating for hearing and balance health initiatives for service members and veterans, especially when tinnitus and hearing loss is on the rise, is important,” said Henry. “There’s a great amount more to be done and I believe good things will come.”

Learn more about the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence.

You also may be interested in...

Air Force NCO resumes career after tumor, hearing loss

Article
5/16/2018
Air Force Master Sgt. Geoffrey VanDyck, the 707th Force Support Squadron’s first sergeant, views an image of the tumor found on his auditory nerve, at Fort Meade, Maryland. In May 2005, VanDyck was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, a noncancerous, normally slow growing tumor that develops on the main vestibular nerve that leads from the inner ear to the brain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Veronica Pierce)

He had the constant feeling of water in his ear – he knew something was wrong

Recommended Content:

Hearing Loss

Dedicated audiologists use clever tools to combat hearing loss

Article
5/11/2018
Army audiologist Maj. William Gottlick, (right) Lyster Army Health Clinic, Fort Rucker, Alabama, conducts an otoscopic exam during an annual hearing test. (Army photo by Jennifer Stripling)

Hearing loss and tinnitus have steadily increased over the last two decades among Veterans

Recommended Content:

Hearing Loss

Research network works to combat number one disability claim among veterans

Article
5/4/2018
From flight line operations to firearms qualification ranges, aircraft maintenance back shops, vehicle repair shops, or civil engineering shops, noise brings the potential of hearing loss if proper personal protective hearing equipment is not available or utilized. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Noise brings the potential of hearing loss if proper personal protective hearing equipment is not available or utilized

Recommended Content:

Hearing Loss

From an award ceremony to panel talks, senior leaders will have presence at HIMSS

Article
3/8/2018
Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of Defense Health Agency, will be honored as a recipient of the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards on March 8 in Las Vegas.

Federal health, IT experts come together for discussion on hot topics

Recommended Content:

Access to Health Care | Health IT Research and Innovation Strategy | Innovation | Patient Safety | Quality and Safety of Health Care (for Healthcare Professionals) | Research and Innovation

Traumatic Brain Injury and the Art of Paddling

Article
3/7/2018
Collins enjoys stand-up paddle boarding for how it helps him with TBI. His service dog, Charlie, likes it too. (Courtesy Photo by U.S. Army Special Operations veteran Josh Collins)

A U.S. Army veteran’s recipe for embracing life after several TBIs

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Hearing Loss | Men's Health | Physical Activity | Physical Disability | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Traumatic Brain Injury | Vision Loss

Air Force robotic surgery training program aims at improving patient outcomes

Article
2/9/2018
Air Force Col. Debra Lovette (left), 81st Training Wing commander, receives a briefing from Air Force 2nd Lt. Nina Hoskins, 81st Surgical Operations squadron room nurse, on robotics surgery capabilities inside the robotics surgery clinic at Keesler Medical Center, Mississippi. The training program stood up in March 2017 and has trained surgical teams within the Air Force and across the Department of the Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue).

Robotic surgery is becoming the standard of care for many specialties and procedures

Recommended Content:

Technology | Innovation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

2017 Year in Review: Places where Military Health System leaders, experts gathered

Article
12/21/2017
Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director, Defense Health Agency, speaks at the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium, July 25, in Orlando, Florida. Conferences like this one help MHS and other health care personnel to exchange ideas and information to help improve care to beneficiaries. (Courtesy photo)

Conferences offer opportunities to focus on the best health care for beneficiaries

Recommended Content:

Innovation | Military Health System Electronic Health Record | MHS GENESIS | Health IT Research and Innovation Strategy | Warrior Care

First cold storage platelet unit collected in Southwest Asia

Article
9/15/2017
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Flannigan, NCO in charge of the apheresis element with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group, monitors the Trima Accel Automated Blood Collection System machine used to obtain blood platelets from donors at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Apheresis element Airmen are tasked with collecting and storing platelet products and providing them for distribution throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cynthia A. Innocenti)

It is likely that cold storage platelets, a method developed by the military, will eventually be the standard practice around the world for handling and shipping platelets

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Health Readiness | Innovation

Combat medic students train using hologram technology

Article
9/7/2017
Alonzo Gonzales, a Combat Medic Program emergency medical technician course instructor, lectures students in Alpha Class 70-17 about different obstetrics complications  utilizing a specialized OB training manikin. The OB manikins resemble life-size pelvic cavities inside which the “fetus” can be positioned to replicate any number of complicated situations. (U.S. Army photo by Lisa Braun)

The Combat Medic Training program is the first METC program to incorporate hologram technology to augment training

Recommended Content:

Technology | Innovation

Possible cause for severe eczema has been found

Article
8/21/2017
Some patients living with severe eczema – a possible disqualifying factor for military service – have been found to have mutations on a gene called CARD11. Identified as a possible cause for the condition, the discovery can lead to exciting possibilities for advancements, according to the researchers.

Some patients living with severe eczema have been found to have mutations on a gene called CARD11 – Identified as a possible cause for the condition, the discovery can lead to exciting possibilities for advancements, according to the researchers

Recommended Content:

Conditions and Treatments | Innovation | Warrior Care

Government agencies join for inaugural disability quality assurance summit

Article
8/11/2017
The Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration seals.

The Quality Assurance Summit helped identify some of the common themes addressed by all three agencies

Recommended Content:

DoD/VA Sharing Initiatives

FAAST symposium: Helping those who help warriors with limb loss

Article
8/10/2017
Marine Corps Sgt. Ivan Sears participates in a yoga class at Joint Base San Antonio. Topics like yoga and other therapeutic recreation programs for wounded warriors were covered during the Federal Advanced Amputation Skills Training or FAAST Symposium in Bethesda, Maryland. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tomora Nance)

FAAST is a three-day training symposium to help those who help warriors dealing with limb loss

Recommended Content:

DoD/VA Sharing Initiatives | Warrior Care | Extremities Loss

Health IT team working on creating an information ecosystem

Article
7/25/2017
Health IT team working to create ecosystem of information for patients, providers.

Highly interactive environment benefits patients, providers

Recommended Content:

Technology | Innovation

Counter-hemorrhaging medical device saves service members' lives

Article
7/18/2017
U.S. Army Spc. Courtney Natal provides aid to a simulated casualty. Born out of necessity on the battlefield, a new medical device is buying vital time for critically wounded patients in combat and in emergency care environments worldwide. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Harley Jelis)

Born out of necessity on the battlefield, a new medical device is buying vital time for critically wounded patients

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Innovation

Partnership improves care, prosthetics for wounded warriors

Article
7/10/2017
Experts across the DoD and VA come together to collaborate on research and innovation through the Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Anastasia McCarroll)

The Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence brings DoD and VA together to conduct research aimed at saving extremities and improving care for patients with amputations

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Extremities Loss | DoD/VA Sharing Initiatives | Innovation
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.