Hearing Conservation Programs in the Military

The military has strict regulations behind the hearing conservation of their personnel. A soldier that is unable to hear or understand commands can cause extreme problems on the battlefield or near the frontline. We have been helping test the hearing of military personnel for over 10 years and have been on numerous bases to conduct audiograms. Our mobile testing facility is state of the art with all of the equipment that we need to conduct proper exams.

We are currently testing over 60,000 Service Members each year with 8 testing trucks/trailers in 18 states and 3 US Territories.

Testing is performed at a rate of up to 10 persons every 5-6 minutes. Each person will be tested individually at different frequency levels to ensure accurate results. Each person’s results must be logged three separate times to ensure consistent accurate data. In the real world of mobile testing, ambient noise is not a one-time occurrence—trucks go by, person screaming, equipment generators turn on and off, and subjects cough and sneeze. Because background ambient noise is a constant part of life, you need assurance that your testing environment always meets applicable Hearing Conservation testing standards.

Current hearing conservation programs do not include monitoring or prevention of tinnitus. The relationship between noise exposure and tinnitus is not yet well understood. However, the committee makes the presumption that measures taken to protect against noise-induced hearing loss are likely to help in the prevention of tinnitus. Thus, many of the elements of a hearing conservation program could be applied to prevention of tinnitus as well as hearing loss.

Department Of Defense Policy

–DOD Hearing Conservation Programs will not use age corrections when determining STS.

–The 15 dB shift at 1k Hz will be dropped from the DOD STS definition, but will be retained as an early warning flag. An STS at 2k, 3k, and 4k will require a follow up test working 14 hrs. If not performed the Service Member will have 30, 60, or 90 days to have a follow up test depending on their deployability status. If this is not performed they go “RED” in medpro. There is also a early warning shift at 1k however no follow up is necessary- just notated.

–Reportable hearing loss cases will be recorded on the OSHA 300 log for civilian personnel and on the DA Form 285 for military personnel.