Skip to main content

Fitness for Duty/Hearing Readiness

The ability to hear and communicate is critical to the safety of each Warrior and their unit, and is central to effective command and control and mission accomplishment. In spite of current hearing conservation efforts, hearing loss and auditory injuries in the military continue to rise.

Although the services teach the importance of hearing protection, provide the means for hearing protection, and monitor risk through conservation programs, the need for good hearing during battle often overrides the expediency of wearing hearing protection devices.

Some military members equate using hearing protection with increased vulnerability, which widens the gap between preventive efforts and hearing preservation.

While hearing damage from war can be acutely traumatic, the effect of occupational exposure is silent and deceptive — often unapparent even to the member with impaired hearing. In fact, Service members and Veterans may not realize they have hearing loss until later in life when other sensory cues lose acuity and they’re unable to register conversations and natural sounds.

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, most often is a subtle nuisance that interferes with the normal activities of daily life, conversations, and relationships. At the other end of the spectrum, however, it can:

  • Be a debilitating intrusion on all thoughts, interactions, and activities
  • Isolate an individual from hobbies, vocations, friends, and family members
  • Be distracting when trying to sleep or concentrate
  • Aggravate depression, and
  • Incite suicidal intentions, in extreme situations

Keep in mind that although hearing aids and implants can rehabilitate hearing loss to some degree, there is no cure for hearing loss and no sure remedy for tinnitus.

Quick Fact

#37

Having your hearing tested on a regular basis, even if you think you have normal hearing, is an important part of hearing loss prevention.

About Us

The Hearing Center of Excellence fosters and promotes the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, rehabilitation and research of hearing loss and auditory injury. It supports the development, exchange and adoption of best practices, research, measures of effectiveness and clinical care guidelines to reduce the prevalence and cost of hearing loss and tinnitus among Warriors and Veterans. Read more

Hearing Health Challenge For Change

Take the challenge, pledge your commitment, and share your story in the prevention of hearing loss in America today.

The Hearing Center of Excellence is committed to promoting Hearing Loss Programs and Hearing Loss Prevention Initiatives across the DoD. Take the pledge to implement the Comprehensive Hearing Health Program (CHHP) at your local clinic and share with us how it's going for you!

Pledge on Facebook Pledge on Twitter
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.