Mission: Provide support to enhance operational performance, medical readiness, and quality of life through collaborative leadership and advocacy for hearing and balance health
HCE Strategy Map
The HCE Strategy Map is a strategic communications tool that tells our unique strategic story to Service Members and their families and Veterans, to those within the HCE, and to our partnering organizations. The Strategy Map shows our level of commitment to exceeding the expectations of our customers and stakeholders while focusing on stewardship in our budget, on people and the equipment they use and need, and commitment to streamlining internal and external business processes.
The ability to hear and communicate is critical to Warrior and unit safety. It is central to effective command and control, as well as mission accomplishment. In spite of current hearing conservation efforts, military hearing loss and auditory injuries are still on the rise.
According to the Veterans Benefits Administration, tinnitus and hearing loss are the top two service-connected disabilities for U.S. military Veterans. Tinnitus is the most common service-related disability among OEF/OIF/OND Veterans. Hearing loss is ranked eighth during this era of war.
Although the military services stress the importance of using hearing protection, provide hearing protection devices, and monitor risk through conservation programs, often the need to hear during battle can override the use of hearing protection devices. Some military personnel equate wearing hearing protection with increased vulnerability and decreased situational awareness. This decreases the potential impact of preventive efforts and hearing preservation.
In response to the prevalence and rising costs of military hearing loss and auditory injuries, the Department of Defense established the Hearing Center of Excellence, or HCE. HCE works with the Department of Veterans Affairs and leads the collaborative effort to address the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, research, and rehabilitation of hearing loss and impairment, including audio-vestibular dysfunction often related to traumatic brain injury.