GAO Reports & Responses
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report on Hearing Conservation
Hazardous noise can negatively impact both service member health and readiness. Tinnitus now accounts for the top service-connected disability. In FY 2009, hearing-related issues also accounted for some of the most common impairments reported by veterans receiving disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The corresponding costs exceeded $1.1 billion. The magnitude of the issue prompted GAO to examine Department of Defense (DOD) efforts to prevent hearing loss. GAO reviewed DOD and service-specific policies and guidance and DOD performance data, interviewed officials and service members, and conducted site visits to nine military bases. To review the report on hearing conservation, visit the GAO website.
Committee Review of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Research Programs
The Institute of Medicine convened a committee of experts to review the NIOSH Hearing Loss Research Program to evaluate the efficacy of its work in fostering improvements in occupational safety and health and the impact of its research on reducing workplace illnesses and injuries. The review also sought to explore the program’s identification and targeting of new research areas, identify emerging research issues and provide advice on ways the program might be strengthened. Based on the outcomes of the review, the committee recommended that the NIOSH Hearing Loss Research Program foster effective leadership in program planning and implementation; further implement program evaluation efforts; gain access to additional intramural and extramural expertise, especially in epidemiology and noise control engineering; and initiate and sustain efforts to obtain surveillance data for occupational hearing loss and workplace noise exposure. To view the full report (in PDF format) or order the book, visit the National Academies Press website.
Epidemiology of Hearing Impairment and Noise-Induced Hearing Injury (NIHI) Among U.S. Military Personnel
Prior to this report, NIHI rates among U.S. active duty military personnel had not been previously defined using available military medical surveillance data. This report summarizes NIHI rates among service members. To view the full article, visit the online version of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
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