Skip to main content

Hearing and Military Service

Transcript

Hearing loss should not be a consequence of military service.

Leadership is the first line of defense for hearing conservation.

It’s a noisy world … Protect your hearing.

Lynn W. Henselman, PhD

We should not accept that hearing loss is a part of military service.

MAJ Ernesto Perez, USA

The military is by nature a loud environment.

LTC (RET) Eric Fallon, AuD, USA, CCC-A

I think that culturally we just assume that our hearing is one the things we’re going to lose as part of our military service.

Col Mark Packer, MD, USAF

We think that because of our duties it’s a natural consequence.

MAJ GEN Robert Hedelund, USMC

When you go into this environment called the United States military, and you realize all of the things you’re asking of me, you have to yourself say, “Okay. I have to take care of my hearing.”

LTC (RET) Eric Fallon, AuD, USA, CCC-A

But it’s not always obvious to an 18-year-old kid that he could lose his hearing or that she could lose her hearing and the impact of that not only on their quality of life, but on their ability to perform their job duties and their role as a military member.

MAJ GEN Robert Hedelund, USMC

The aging process alone is hard on hearing, never mind the noise environment you’re going to be in.

Col Mark Packer, MD, USAF

When it comes to noise exposure and noise-induced hearing loss, that’s always preventable.

Lt Col Beth Harrison, USAF

Even though it does occur as a result of some individual’s service if they’re exposed to hazardous noise, we shouldn’t accept that as a byproduct, we should be working more on prevention and ensure these folks are not losing their hearing.

LTC (RET) Eric Fallon, AuD, USA, CCC-A

Don’t assume that you have to sacrifice any part of your body, to include your hearing, just because you want to serve your country.

MAJ GEN Robert Hedelund, USMC

Hearing is a one-shot deal. If you don’t take care of it, and we don’t make sure that you’re taking care of it, you’re going to end up with hearing loss that lasts a lifetime.

LTC Kristen Casto, USA

The message is getting out there that hearing loss can be prevented. There are things you can do. And we’re able to leverage technology and commercially available products to help us to do that.

COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AuD, USA

Especially in the 21st century where we have advancements in technology and we have the ability to provide our service members the tools to protect their hearing.

MAJ GEN Robert Hedelund, USMC

I think DoD does have a responsibility to make sure that hearing conversation and hearing protection is a very forward message to everybody who’s joined and everybody who’s serving currently.

LTC (RET) Eric Fallon, AuD, USA, CCC-A      

In order for hearing conservation within the services to be an effective program, it really takes military leadership.

Military Leadership

CDR Joel Bealer, USN

It is absolutely important for leadership to get involved in this whole process of hearing preservation.

MAJ GEN Robert Hedelund, USMC

Commanders and senior enlisted advisors are really where the rubber meets the road.

LTC (RET) Eric Fallon, AuD, USA, CCC-A      

If the commander has emphasis then the NCOs are going to understand that they have to support it. If the NCOs support it then and they enforce the steps that people have to take to protect themselves, then soldiers are going to comply.

MAJ GEN Robert Hedelund, USMC

Commanders need to be involved in that discussion and say, “Look! This is really the best you can do for yourself is to take care of your hearing, and so that down the road you’re not looking back and wondering what happened.”

LTC (RET) Eric Fallon, AuD, USA, CCC-A      

We have to find what matters to those commanders. These are very caring people. These are people who don’t want to put their soldiers in harm’s way without having every tool and every chance of being successful in that environment.

Lt Col Beth Harrison, USAF

It is critical for leadership to advocate the proper use of hearing protection for military members.

Advocate Hearing Protection

COL Vicki Tuten, AuD, USA

It’s the right thing to do and without that leadership buy in, without that leadership enforcement, it’s not going to happen.

LTC (RET) Eric Fallon, AuD, USA, CCC-A      

But sometimes it’s not always obvious to them what is the cost when it comes to hearing loss.

CDR Joel Bealer, USN

Hearing loss leads to higher risk, higher fatalities, higher injury rates.

Higher Risk, Higher Fatalities, Higher Injury Rates

LTC (RET) Eric Fallon, AuD, USA, CCC-A      

There’s mostly a tactical cost. There’s a cost, perhaps, for retraining. There’s certainly a cost for lower productivity.

Tactical Cost, Retraining, Lower Productivity

MAJ Ernesto Perez, USA

Leadership should be jumping up and down the table saying that they want this protection for their soldiers.

MAJ GEN Robert Hedelund, USMC

The challenge is keeping that momentum going. This is an important topic. This is something that has to happen all the time. You have to keep focused on it.

Lynn W. Henselman, PhD

It benefits the mission. The commanders need to have people that are fit to fight and part of that is their hearing readiness.

COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AuD, USA

We just need to make sure we’re providing our service members the necessary equipment and tools to accomplish that.

MAJ GEN Robert Hedelund, USMC

So if I can in any way raise the awareness of those who are wearing a uniform today or those who are joining the service, that hearing protection, hearing conservation and being very attentive to what is going on in the noise environment around you, then I think that’s an important message to take forward.

SGT Sean Morris, USMC

Hear to live!

Hear to live!

For more information about hearing loss prevention, visit http://hearing.health.mil.

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.