Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Innovative military hearing health programs showcased at national conference

Lt. Col. John Merkley, Army Public Health Center, tests out a boothless audiometry headset system, one of four systems demonstrated by manufacturers during a workshop hosted by the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence at this year's National Hearing Conservation Association Conference. (HCE photo) Lt. Col. John Merkley, Army Public Health Center, tests out a boothless audiometry headset system, one of four systems demonstrated by manufacturers during a workshop hosted by the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence at this year's National Hearing Conservation Association Conference. (HCE photo)

Recommended Content:

Hearing and Balance Injuries

Hearing standards for new Air Force recruits saved the military service millions of dollars, according to a presentation by the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence at the annual National Hearing Conservation Association conference last month. Experts from the center shared the latest advances in hearing conservation programs and “boothless” technology for hearing tests. The Hearing Center of Excellence is a division of the Defense Health Agency Research and Development Directorate.

Air Force Col. LaKeisha Henry, the center’s division chief, moderated a panel session titled, “Building an effective Hearing Conservation Program and the value of prevention.” The session highlighted an HCE-led effort to standardize military recruitment and separation hearing testing standards across the Department of Defense. The effort led to a change in the Air Force’s policy, which initiated accession testing for all recruits at Basic Military Training and Officer Training School. Henry explained the ability to identify recruits with disqualifying hearing loss (or other conditions) in 2016 showed a DoD cost savings of $7.1 million. Henry said the value of hearing conservation efforts and associated cost savings is expected to increase.

The center’s Dr. Kathy Gates led a workshop on mobile hearing test technologies. Gates explained that boothless audiometry enables audiologists to conduct hearing tests without a traditional sound booth, enabling in-theater hearing assessments supporting readiness requirements, and encouraging early and direct access to hearing health services. Participants tested four of the latest boothless headset systems demonstrated by manufacturers during the workshop, and learned how each device can be used for hearing conservation services.

The center’s Kari Buchanan and Robert Williams discussed hearing protection devices required for different occupations and how to calculate how much protection is needed for various environments during a workshop titled, “Selecting Hearing Protection Devices Using New and Updated Standards”. Buchanan said noise can interfere with a person’s ability to communicate and to detect, identify, and localize sounds that may be crucial to work performance, and hearing conservation programs need to know what criteria to use to assess device capabilities for different job needs and environments. “We are shifting the paradigm from looking at hearing protection only as something that attenuates noise. The only way to make the right selection is go through the calculations to determine your situational awareness and sound localization needs,” said Buchanan.

You also may be interested in...

Patients Contribute to Shape Future Hearing Loss Treatment

Article
6/21/2021
Barbara Kelly from the Hearing Loss Association of America hosting a meeting

Patient-focused meeting could lead to improved hearing loss therapies

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing and Balance Injuries | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

MHS and MOS Town Hall: "To Your Health"

Article
6/8/2021
Images of Dr. Theresa Schulz and Colonel Mark Reynolds

MHS and Military OneSource: To Your Health: A Discussion with experts from the Hearing Center of Excellence and the Vision Center of Excellence

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing and Balance Injuries | | MHS and Military OneSource To Your Health

Researchers find key senses impact readiness, survival

Article
6/8/2021
Military personnel in driver and casualty evacuation training

Sound localization is a critical component of situational awareness, or to put it in layman’s terms, knowing what is going on around you

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing and Balance Injuries

Strategies for hearing loss prevention help service members stay ready

Article
3/3/2021
An infographic with the words "World Hearing Day" at the top, images of people using their hears to listen, and "educate, protect, monitor" at the bottom

The Defense Health Agency is one of many healthcare entities celebrating World Hearing Day on March 3.

Recommended Content:

Hearing Center of Excellence | Hearing and Balance Injuries | Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

New report finds military hearing health is improving

Article
12/3/2020
Military doctor inspecting patient's ear

Noise-induced hearing loss is decreasing for active-duty service members.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Hearing and Balance Injuries | Hearing Center of Excellence

Audiologist demonstrates importance of hearing conservation

Article
11/10/2020
Woman demonstrating how to insert a foam earplug into the ear

Hearing loss is a significant health and readiness issue for the U.S. military.

Recommended Content:

Hearing and Balance Injuries

Navy audiology increases medical readiness and hearing awareness

Article
10/29/2020
Soldier wearing mask, sitting at laptop with a container of ear plugs close by

"The mission of Navy Audiology is to prevent occupational-related hearing injuries and increase medical readiness."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Hearing and Balance Injuries

Pilot DoD/VA hearing program virtually trains technicians

Article
10/9/2020
Military personnel sitting in front of laptop

HCE virtually trains hearing technicians during COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Hearing and Balance Injuries | DoD/VA Sharing Initiatives

HCE celebrates 10 years focused on hearing health

Article
7/14/2020
Woman exhibiting correct earplug insertion

Look back on 10 years of service, and what’s been done so far in support of the mission.

Recommended Content:

Hearing and Balance Injuries

Center develops tool to help service members select optimal hearing protection

Article
5/21/2020
Marine holding and aiming a rifle

Hearing loss can have severe consequences for our health and future well-being.

Recommended Content:

Hearing and Balance Injuries

Portable system demonstrates capability to save hearing downrange

Article
5/13/2020
Image of three soldiers looking at an iPad

Army audiologist demonstrates new hearing test system while deployed to Iraq.

Recommended Content:

Hearing and Balance Injuries

World Hearing Day shines light on global hearing loss

Article
3/2/2020
Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Finigan, 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft hydraulics systems journeyman, puts on a second layer of hearing protection over his dual in-ear headset at RAF Mildenhall, England. The headset enables communication by transmitting sound waves through the bones in the user's ear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Hearing loss declines among service members, DoD civilians

Recommended Content:

Hearing and Balance Injuries
Showing results 1 - 12 Page 1 of 1

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.