Education of the Warfighter: Doing It Better
1LT Jennifer Davis, 1LT Curneisha B. Terry
The focus of this presentation will be to familiarize the Army Audiologists with the communication systems typically used by operational units. They will also present the results of a survey that they conducted to see what communication challenges the warfighter perceives when using these communication systems that may interfere with their ability to adequately protect themselves from exposures.
Hearing Enhancement and Communication Devices
CPT Kara Cave
This presentation will describe current technology in hearing protection and communication devices. Knowing these devices’ features, functions, and drawbacks enables Army audiologists to provide more informed recommendations to Soldiers and their leadership. The presentation will focus on attenuation, noise reduction strategy, equipment compatibility, recommended usage, and disadvantages of the devices. The following devices will be discussed: Combat Vehicle Crewmember Helmet, Infantry Tactical Headset, HGU-56/P Helmet, SPH-4 Helmet, Communications Earplug, Communication Enhancement and Protective System, Quietpro, Combat Arms Earplug, MICH Ranger Communication System, and the Peltor Headset.
The Development of an Operational Hearing Conservation Program: An Initial Report from the Field
CPT Jillyen Curry
The drastic reduction in the number of 72C authorizations has forced military audiologists to adjust to the changing needs of the troops to maintain relevancy to the deployed force. The 72C Consultants to the Office of the Surgeon General and to USACHPPM drafted a proposal for the launch of an Operational Hearing Conservation Program. This program was presented to the OTSG and to FORSCOM audiologists in June 2006. In the past five months, several elements of the original proposal have been started at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, including noise surveillance in and around training sites and ranges, monthly educational courses for Hearing Conservation Officers/NCOs within the battalions and companies, and regular participation in monthly Division Safety courses, FST courses and battalion-level IG inspections. In addition, several simple, but effective awareness initiatives have raised the visibility of the new Hearing Readiness Classification program across both posts. Workable ideas, strategies and shortcuts for launching similar programs at installations across the Army will be presented.
The Army Audiology Residency Program at Fort Bragg
LTC Vickie Tuten
Provide a brief overview of the Audiology residency Program at Fort Bragg and the changes made, challenges faced and how it fits into our new focus for Army Audiology.
Discussion of Operational Hearing Conservation Workshop
MAJ Martin Robinette, MAJ Lisa Whitney
Last year CHPPM hosted the first Operational Hearing Conservation Workshop. Since that time, the Hearing Conservation officers at Ft. Hood have worked to shift the focus of the program from a clinical/diagnostic service to an operational and prevention-based program. We will be discussing some of our initiatives, roadblocks, successes and failures brought by the transition.
The Army National Guard’s Decade of Health Initiative-Let’s Get Onboard
Donald R. Ciliax Ph.D.
The purpose of this unclassified presentation is to bring to the attention of the Army Audiology community current and planned health promotion efforts by the Army National Guard’s Office of the Chief Surgeon. During the ten-year period that began in 2006 and that runs through 2015, the Army National Guard will forge a strategic health campaign directed at Soldier readiness and deployability, addressing such topics as oral health and blood pressure awareness. In the year 2010, the Decade of Health initiative will focus on Vision and Hearing Readiness! What a golden opportunity this presents to Army Hearing Conservation to partner with our occupational health and preventive medicine colleagues in the National Guard, leveraging our existing resources to promote hearing readiness among every Soldier. This presentation will highlight ways in which the Army and the Army National Guard can begin working together to bring greater emphasis on reducing noise-induced hearing loss. Let’s get onboard with this preventive effort!
Presentations from the Navy included the following:
An Examination of Initial Reference Audiograms: How Much Hearing Loss Are We Inheriting
LT Jamie Daut, LCDR Joel Bealer
In light of the recent IOM report and news from the VA that hearing-related claims have passed the $1 Billion dollar mark for FY06, an examination of current policies regarding hearing loss waivers into the military was performed. Initial reference audiograms from the DOEHRS Data Repository for Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force were analyzed and categorized as Normal, Hearing Impaired, and Meets current VA guidelines for service connected disability. Results indicate that a significant number of applicants are entering the armed services with pre-existing hearing loss. Recommendations on how to reduce the fiscal impact of inherited hearing loss are discussed.
Consistency Study of Two Impression Techniques: An Intra and Inter Comparison of Navy Audiologists
LT Andrew Hayes
This work compares ear impression taking techniques, closed jaw low viscosity and open jaw high viscosity to determine which yields the most consistent result. Consistency is evaluated in this study by impressing each test ear twice in succession using one of the two distinct techniques. By laser scanning the impressions and comparing the digital data we are able to quantify the dimensional similarity between each pair of like-processed impressions.
For a single audiologist taking repeated impressions we found there to be a relatively small but statistically significant improvement in consistency between impressions taken with the closed jaw low viscosity technique over those taken using the open jaw high viscosity technique. No significant differences in consistency were noted between the two techniques when two different audiologists took successive impressions.
Hearing Conservation Toolbox
CDR Kelly Paul
Military audiologists routinely endure the challenges of accomplishing their hearing conservation mission with dwindling resources, while also having to relocate to a new duty station every three to four years. A positive aspect of this opportunity is learning new ideas and ways of doing the job from the staff at various locations, and from the preceding audiologist in the position. A disadvantage is that the previous audiologist has frequently already moved to their new duty station when the newly assigned audiologist arrives, and many of the educational tools and resources used at a location have also moved. The absence of an audiologist to lead the program, even for a brief period, can result in rapid degradation of the quality of the hearing conservation program. Compounding this problem is the variety and inconsistency of hearing conservation resources and materials used by military audiologists. This often results in efforts to continually re-invigorate hearing conservation programs. To diminish the impact of these obstacles, a Hearing Conservation Toolbox was developed. It is primarily for use by Department of Defense (DoD) audiologists, but can be useful to all members of a hearing conservation team, both within and outside of the DoD. The toolbox includes a consolidated package of tools and resources from numerous contributors to:
- Certify Occupational Hearing Conservation Technicians (OHC)
- Direct a Hearing Conservation Program (HCP)
- Educate personnel on prevention of noise-induced hearing loss
- Provide current information on important topics in Occupational Hearing Conservation
The Toolbox is accessible from the Navy Environmental Health Center website. The vision for the Toolbox is that it continues to grow as new and better resources become available. Anyone can (and is encouraged to) contribute to this expanding and evolving resource, and appropriate credit will be given to authors of the material.
Recent Guidelines & Recommendations: The Management of Military Hearing Conservation
LTJG Chris Duhon, Tom Hutchison
Broad scope discussion of regulations, documentation, and program metrics all the way down to the implementation level and offer tools and resources