Back to Top Skip to main content

Pilot DoD/VA hearing program virtually trains technicians

Military personnel sitting in front of laptop Army Lt. Col. John Merkley, Army Hearing Program manager with the Army Public Health Center, prepares for a virtual course to train DoD hearing technicians from across the globe in August 2020. The course is part of a first-ever distributed learning DoD/VA hearing technician training pilot program. (HCE Courtesy Photo)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Hearing Loss

According to the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately 37.5 million American adults aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing.

To help to improve service member and veteran access to hearing health care, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs recently initiated a pilot program designed to train by virtual means more than 5,000 hearing technicians.

The DoD-VA Hearing Technician Training and Certification Program is a Joint Incentive Fund pilot project initiated by the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence in 2019, to train hearing technicians to the nationally recognized standard of the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC). The pilot will also seek to demonstrate the efficacy of distributed online training, and if it is as beneficial as onsite training for this particular course work.

“The DoD and VA hearing technician course is leading the way in establishing a distributed learning CAOHC course,” said Dr. Theresa Schulz, prevention division chief for the center. “If successful, this will become another effective way for the audiology community to conduct CAOHC-approved courses.”

According to Schulz, training to the national CAOHC standards ensures that the course meets best practices in hearing health care delivered across the continuum ­ from service member to veteran status. Course graduates who pass the standardized exam receive CAOHC-approved certification that meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration and VA Office of Disability and Medical Assessment requirements.

The initial pilot training focuses on Army and VA hearing technicians. According to the center’s Dr. Kathy Gates, the pilot program has already graduated 187 Army hearing technicians and 60 from the VA. Gates, who helped to design the training, also stated that recertification is required every five years.

Hearing technicians are trained and certified to perform basic hearing health duties, such as conducting air conduction audiograms (hearing tests), hearing protection device fittings, and hearing health education. Hearing technicians working for the DoD also support the hearing conservation mission, and those who graduate can serve as Occupational Hearing Conservation technicians. This certification enables them to administer air conduction threshold testing using the Defense Occupational Health and Environmental Readiness System-Hearing Conservation (DOEHRS-HC) system, which collects, maintains, compares and reports hearing readiness, deployment, and hearing conservation program data for DoD personnel. They also provide hearing protection training and hearing health education to support the hearing conservation mission.

Essy Sanchez, an Army civilian hearing technician from Fort Carson, Colorado, attended a virtual class in August. Sanchez said the experience was very helpful: “I found the information regarding the hearing protection and patient education very engaging and useful in helping me develop my knowledge. This course increased my confidence in my job and I was able to immediately return to the clinic and apply what I learned to my duties.”

Schulz explained that with more hearing technicians certified to perform these duties, she believes it will free up time and enable DoD and VA audiologists to focus on more complex audiology cases, resulting in increased access to care. 

So far, DoD and VA instructors have conducted six courses since the program kicked off in April 2020. The Army Hearing Program will continue to offer classes every other month through FY21 beginning in November 2020, according to Army Lt. Col. John Merkley, Army Hearing Program manager with the Army Public Health Center. He added that the last virtual DoD class, held August 24-28, trained 45 Army, Navy, and Air Force students from around the globe.

Schulz added that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, other CAOHC course directors have developed and implemented their own online training courses. “Results indicate this model is successful in providing the didactic portion of the course. Based on current changes we face with the COVID-19 national emergency, the online hearing technician training and certification course is timely and we believe it will become a new hybrid model approach to training.”

You also may be interested in...

Authorization to Employ Military Medical Capabilities to Treat COVID-19 Patients

Publication
4/8/2020

Effective immediately, the Commander, U.S Northern Command, is authorized, as he deems necessary and appropriate, to employ military medical capabilities under his operational control to treat patients who have contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Joint Staff Surgeon Praises Americans Stepping Up to Help COVID-19 Victims

Article
4/7/2020
Image of hospital staff holding a meeting

It's about people helping people, flattening the curve, and slowing the spread of the pandemic so hospitals have a bit more time to prepare.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Decision Memorandum on TRICARE Implementation of the "Families First Coronavirus Response Act"

Publication
4/7/2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Public Law 116-127, Division F, Section 6006(a), limits TRICARE authority to impose copayment or other cost-sharing for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and related provider visits that result in orders for or administration of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, cleared, or authorized diagnostic products. In order for the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to implement, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD(HA)) must acknowledge the self-executing authority of the statute and direct the Director, DHA, or designee, to issue guidance implementing the statutory provisions.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Coronavirus

New York City emergency room doc joins Air National Guard as flight surgeon

Article
4/6/2020
Image of flight surgeon

Paladino is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and also at Kings County Hospital Center.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

DoD Guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings

Publication
4/5/2020

Effective immediately, to the extent practical, all individuals on DoD property, installations, and facilities will wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers (this does not include in a Service member's or Service family member's personal residence on a military installation).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

It’s complicated: Our relationship with social media

Article
4/3/2020
Image of soldier lying down, looking at his phone

COVID-related story on perils of social media

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

250-patient Army field hospital in Seattle expected to open next week

Article
4/3/2020
Image of soldiers unpacking equipment

The field hospital...will relieve some of the burden on local hospitals, allowing them "freedom of maneuver" to better take care of patients who have COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Policy on Accessions and Accessions Training during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Publication
4/3/2020

The Military Departments must seek ways to maximize accessions in a responsible manner to minimize a reduction in military end strength and the potential deterioration of mid-and long-term readiness and capacity.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Navy secretary visits hospital ship Mercy in Port of Los Angeles

Article
4/2/2020
Image of man getting his temperature taken by service member wearing a mask.

Mercy deployed in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts, and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Transition of Military Medical Treatment Facilities from Military Departments to the Defense Health Agency during the COVID-19 Response

Publication
4/2/2020

The Department's MTF transition plan is conditions-based. While the transition of MTFs to DHA is continuing, the COVID-19 response requirements are impacting DHA's ability to meet all required conditions. The need for the DHA and MILDEPs to refocus efforts away from the transition to support the COVID-19 response led to questions regarding the future of MTF Transition.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS Transformation

From the front lines to the home front, Military Medicine is always ready

Article
4/1/2020
Army Lt. Gen. Ron Place and two soldiers stand at a table with COVID-19 testing supplies

Military medicine is providing assistance in unprecedented ways

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Possible changes at MTF pharmacies in response to COVID-19

Article
3/31/2020
A military pharmacist choosing medication from a shelf

Find out the latest pharmacy policies at MTFs

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | TRICARE Health Program

Meeting Italian COVID-19 requirements, Army reopens dining facility

Article
3/31/2020
Picture of chef preparing food

The dining facility is fully operational, even providing food deliveries to people in quarantine

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Coping with the stress of social distancing

Article
3/31/2020
Image of person alone in room

How to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness

Tiered Telehealth Health Care Support for COVID-19

Publication
3/31/2020

This memorandum establishes guidance for the use of Telehealth (TH) Information Technology (IT) tools in support of the clinical care required for patients across the spectrum of COVID-19 illness

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Public Health | Coronavirus
<< < ... 21 22 23 24 25 > >> 
Showing results 316 - 330 Page 22 of 25

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.