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...

DHA priorities focused on readiness, patients, outcomes

Article
10/7/2020
Defense Health Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place speaks at a podium.

Adaptation key to providing outstanding care to beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support | Access to Health Care | Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

‘I am Navy Medicine’ – helping another in need - Hospitalman Grace Pridmore of NMRTC Bremerton

Article
10/7/2020
Corpsman conviction of care, compassion and competence…Hospitalman Grace Pridmore, from Kellyville, Okla., assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton Detachment Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS), was acknowledged for her selfless effort by Capt. Shannon J. Johnson, NMRTC Bremerton commanding officer, for identifying another Sailor at risk and taking quick action to help get the Sailor to the appropriate level of care, very possibly saving a life (official Navy photo by Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer).

It takes more than just awareness to respond to someone showing signs of distress.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness | Heroes Behind the Mask

Maintaining positive social media interactions during COVID-19

Article
10/2/2020
Image of soldier looking at his cell phone

Experts discuss good, bad of social media during pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Defense Health Agency celebrates seven years of service

Article
10/1/2020
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place holding a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery

Seven ways DHA has improved military readiness over the years.

Recommended Content:

Defense Health Agency | Coronavirus | MHS Transformation | Technology | Global Health Engagement | TRICARE Health Program | Total Force Fitness

Easy steps to understanding & thwarting depression during COVID-19

Article
9/30/2020
Five people sitting on yoga mats outside in the grass

Learning self-care strategies can help you take charge of your life and improve your mental and physical health.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Mental Health Care | Depression

Beale AFB clinic launches new EHR -- MHS GENESIS

Article
9/29/2020
Photo of Travis Callihan

This new EHR will provide a better level of care for all Department of Defense beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Army SHARP/SAPR’s awareness creates a safe culture at JBLE

Article
9/25/2020
Image of teal ribbon against soldier's uniform

Remaining on guard against sexual harassment/assault despite pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Sexual Assault Prevention

USU Task Force addresses nutrition and lifestyle’s role in resiliency

Article
9/24/2020
Woman cutting a steak on a plate, with corn

A personal protective lifestyle (PPL) and nutrition (PPN) could be your key to resiliency in the face of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Nutrition | Coronavirus

PSNS Hospitalman consistently steps up to meet the mission

Article
9/23/2020
Man wearing a mask in an office environment

The ‘Rad Health’ program is cited as the ‘gold standard’ by Naval Sea Systems Command and BUMED audits.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

Georgia soldiers donate CCP in the fight against COVID-19

Article
9/22/2020
Man wearing mask, giving blood

[C]onvalescent plasma transferred to a patient still suffering from the disease could help speed the recovery process.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Air Force master ordering facility streamlines medical supply process

Article
9/21/2020
Military member in warehouse, packing a large box

To date, the Air Force master ordering facility in Port San Antonio has supported 26 Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces embedded in 24 civilian hospitals.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Trump Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy

Article
9/17/2020
Soldier getting flu shot

Detailed planning is ongoing to ensure rapid distribution as soon as the FDA authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine and CDC makes recommendations for who should receive initial doses.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS immunization experts will answer questions about flu vaccine

Article
9/16/2020
Soldier giving another soldier a flu shot

Real-time Facebook event set for 3-4 p.m. EDT Sept. 17

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | Preventive Health | Public Health | Coronavirus

Former BAMC COVID-19 patient now CCP donor

Article
9/16/2020
Man donating blood

When someone contracts a virus, that person’s immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

New communications tool rolled out on MHS GENESIS

Article
9/15/2020
Three men, wearing masks, looking at a computer screen.

Through e-Visits, providers address questions, concerns virtually.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 91 - 105 Page 7 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.