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Importance of Hearing in the Military

Transcript

Col Mark Packer, MD, USAF

We don’t build a quiet military.

LtCol Beth Harrison, USAF

The hearing sense is very critical for military members to perform their daily duties in the variety of different jobs. 

COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AuD, USA

Hearing is critical on the battlefield as well as off the battlefield.

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

We integrate our hearing into everything that we do from the time we wake up until we go to sleep.

MAJ Ernesto Perez, USA

Your hearing is on three hundred sixty degrees, 24 hours a day. 

COL Vicki Tuten, AuD, USA

It’s critical to the lethality and survivability of our war fighters.

COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AuD, USA

They need to be able to hear radio messages. They need to be able to communicate effectively in noise.

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

I don’t think there is a sensor on the battlefield that enhances our situational awareness more than our hearing does.

COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AuD, USA

And having normal hearing allows them to maintain situational awareness. 

CDR Joel Bealer, USN

Military environment is probably the noisiest environment there is out there.

Maj Jeff Wisneski, AuD, USAF

All types of noise exposure can damage a persons hearing.

MAJ Ernesto Perez, USA

Hearing damage occurs when there is a impulse noise or a steady state noise.  Impulse noise is a load bang or an explosion.

COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AuD, USA

Such as weapons fire, grenades, improvised explosives devices. The impulse noise — the blast exposure can create an instantaneous hearing loss.

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

Temporary hearing loss in the middle of a firefight could make the difference between the way that that event turns out.

CDR Joel Bealer, USN

Sustained exposures (for example, sustained engine noise) over a long period of time can do just as much damage as an impact or impulse exposure of combat weapons fire.

COL Vicki Tuten, AuD, USA

Continuous noise sources such as tactical vehicles, helicopters, generators.

COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AuD, USA

And with that type of exposure a service member needs to make sure they protect their hearing so that they don’t develop noise-induced hearing loss.

LTC Kristen Casto, USA

The interior of helicopter cockpit for example can be up to 103, 104 decibels.

CDR Joel Bealer, USN

On a flight deck of an aircraft carrier you’re looking at 140, 150 decibels from the back end of a high-performance jet.

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

It doesn’t take a lot of exposure before a solider or an airman or anyone else is exposed to a lot of noise has some type of damage.

Lynn W. Henselman, PhD

Shoot, move and communicate, I mean those are the essentials of being a war fighter, and if you can’t do that, than you can get your self killed.

LTC Kristen Casto, USA

The bottom line is not being able to hear and understand auditory or verbal communications can have a huge impact. 

COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AuD, USA

Noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable with the appropriate strategies. An individual can wear hearing protection.

LTC Kristen Casto, USA

Hearing protection is very effective at preventing noise-induced hearing loss. 

Maj Jeff Wisneski, AuD, USAF

It is extremely important to use hearing protection in noisy environments. Without it you run the risk of losing hearing at an alarming rate.

LTC Kristen Casto, USA

Once the hearing loss occurs there is no cure for it.

MAJ Ernesto Perez, USA

Hearing protection in high noise environs is crucial.

Lynn W. Henselman, PhD

We have various hearing protection devices, so anything from ear plugs to ear muffs to communication devices that have hearing protection already imbedded in them.

COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AuD, USA

Often times service members have this misperception that hearing protection will cause them to be deaf or they’ll lose their ability to communicate.

Maj Jeff Wisneski, AuD, USAF

Advanced communication devices allow for hearing protection and enhanced hearing abilities by actively reducing the noise.

COL Vicki Tuten, AuD, USA

It’s important to educate the end user, that solider, or sailor or airman about the importance of hearing to their survivability and to their quality of life.

COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AuD, USA

And it helps improve their overall performance.

COL Vicki Tuten, AuD, USA

So providing options that they accept and that they trust is going to help keep them alive and help them perform their job better.

LTC Kristen Casto, USA

Service members can obtain hearing protection through a variety of sources. The first place they should check is through their leadership. They can go through their local audiologists, safety officer, public health officer to obtain those devices that are approved for their use.

CDR Joel Bealer, USN

Hear to live.

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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

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