Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Tinnitus: Challenges for the Military

Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 40)

Abstract

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus present special challenges for the military. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and the civilians who serve beside them are exposed to noise levels that are higher than most individuals in industrial operations, putting them at increased risk of hearing loss. Yet these military populations rely on their hearing to a much greater extent than others do. Not only do military personnel, and their civilian counterparts serving in training and combat environments, require hearing for clear communication, but they also need their hearing for optimal survival and lethality. The dangers of miscommunication on the battlefield are clear. For example, imagine hearing “Attack!” instead of “Get back!” in the middle of a firefight. Indeed, the U.S. Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned concluded that command and control during the battle of Fallujah was significantly degraded when exposure to high-intensity combat operations caused NIHL (Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned 2005). Although many military troops and government civilians are not directly involved in firing upon and defeating the enemy, many serve in the same noise hazardous environments as these war fighters, both during training and in combat theaters. This chapter focuses on military-specific noise exposure, the effects of NIHL and tinnitus on military operations, hearing conservation programs within the military, and future directions for NIHL and tinnitus research specific to our military and the civilians who support them.

References

  1. Bergman, M. (2002). On the origins of audiology: American wartime military audiology. Audiology Today, Monograph 1, 1–28.Google Scholar
  2. Casali, J. G., Ahroon, W. A., & Lancaster, J. A. (2009). A field investigation of hearing protection and hearing enhancement in one device: For soldiers whose ears and lives depend upon it. Noise Health, 11(42), 69–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cave, K. M., Cornish, E. M., & Chandler, D. W. (2007). Blast injury of the ear: Clinical update from the global war on terror. Military Medicine, 172(7), 726–730.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Cleveland, L. (2009). Fort Carson: An Army Hearing Program success story. US Army Medical Department Journal, 67–75.Google Scholar
  5. Cowan, N. (1998). Visual and auditory working memory capacity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2(3), 77–78.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crum, P. A. C., & Hafter, E. (2001). The residual effects of visual capture on auditory localization. Proceedings of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology Midwinter Research Meeting, 24, 259.Google Scholar
  7. Department of the Army. (2008). ST 4–02.501: Army Hearing Program.Google Scholar
  8. Fausti, S. A., Wilmington, D. J., Gallun, F. J., Myers, P. J., & Henry, J. A. (2009). Auditory and vestibular dysfunction associated with blast-related traumatic brain injury. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 46(6), 797–810.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Folmer, R. L., Saunders, G. H., Dann, S. M., Griest, S. E., Leek, M. R., & Fausti, S. A. (2010). Development of a computer-based, multi-media hearing loss prevention education Program for veterans and military personnel. Perspectives on Audiology, 6, 6–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Grantham, M. A. M., Gaston, J. R., & Letowski, T. R. (2010). Auditory recognition of the direction of walking. Paper presented at the presented at ICSV 17: The 17th International Congress on Sound & Vibration, Cairo, Egypt.Google Scholar
  11. Institute of Medicine. (2005). Noise and military service: Implications for hearing loss and ­tinnitus. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  12. Jerger, J. (2009). Audiology in the USA. San Diego: Plural Publishing.Google Scholar
  13. Koelewijn, T., Bronkhorst, A., & Theeuwes, J. (2009). Auditory and visual capture during focused visual attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology and Human Perception Performance, 35(5), 1303–1315.Google Scholar
  14. Kopke, R. D., Jackson, R. L., Coleman, J. K. M., Liu, J., Bielefeld, E. C., & Balough, B. J. (2007). NAC for noise: From the bench top to the clinic. Hearing Research, 226, 114–125.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lynch, E. D., & Kil, J. (2009). Development of ebselen, a glutathione peroxidase mimic, for the prevention and treatment of noise-induced hearing loss. Seminars in Hearing, 30, 47–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned. (2005). Command and control and hearing protection.Google Scholar
  17. McIlwain, D. S., Cave, K., Gates, K., & Ciliax, D. (2008). Evolution of the Army Hearing Program. US Army Medical Department Journal, 62–66.Google Scholar
  18. McIlwain, S., Sisk, B., & Hill, M. (2009). Cohort case studies on acoustic trauma in Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Army Medical Department Journal, 14–23.Google Scholar
  19. Mershon, D. H., Desaulniers, D. H., Amerson, T. L., Jr., & Kiefer, S. A. (1980). Visual capture in auditory distance perception: Proximity image effect reconsidered. Journal of Auditory Research, 20(2), 129–136.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Mershon, D. H., Desaulniers, D. H., Kiefer, S. A., Amerson, T. L., Jr., & Mills, J. T. (1981). Perceived loudness and visually-determined auditory distance. Perception, 10(5), 531–543.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Myles, K., & Kalb, J. T. (2009). Vibrotactile sensitivity of the head (Report ARL-TR-4696). Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: Army Research Laboratory.Google Scholar
  22. Nemes, J. (2005). As their ranks shrink, military audiologists’ mission expands. The Hearing Journal, 58(9), 19–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nixon, C. W. (2002). A glimpse of history: The origin of hearing conservation was in the military? United States Air Force Research Laboratory, Report Number AFRL-HE-WP-SR-1998-0005. (AFRL-HE-WP-SR-1998–0005). Retrieved from http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA355531.
  24. Ohlin, D. (2005). Sound identification training: Auditory armament for the battlefield. CAOHC Update: The Newsletter of the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation, 17(2), 1.Google Scholar
  25. Ohlin, D. (2009). Strategic and tactical thinking in the hearing conservation mindset: A military perspective. Noise Health, 11(42), 22–25.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ohlin, D. (2010). Hearing protection: It’s not just about noise reduction. EHS Today: The Magazine for Environment, Health, and Safety Leaders. Retrieved from http://ehstoday.com/ppe/hearing-protection-not-about-noise-1342/index1.html.
  27. Peters, L. J., & Garinther, G. R. (1990). The effects of speech intelligibility on crew performance in an M1A1 tank simulator (Report A604822). Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: Human Engineering Laboratory.Google Scholar
  28. Powell, J. A., Kimball, K. A., Mozo, B. T., & Murphy, B. A. (2003). Improved communications and hearing protection in helmet systems: The communications earplug. Military Medicine, 168(6), 431–436.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Saunders, G. H., & Griest, S. E. (2009). Hearing loss in veterans and the need for hearing loss prevention programs. Noise & Health, 11(42), 14–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Scharine, A. A., & Letowski, T. R. (2005). Factors affecting auditory localization and situational awareness in the urban battlefield. (Report A369134). Army Research Lab, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: Human Research and Engineering Directorate.Google Scholar
  31. Scharine, A. A., Letowski, T. R., & Sampson, J. B. (2009). Auditory situation awareness in urban operations. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, 1–24.Google Scholar
  32. Sewell, R. K., Song, C., Bauman, N. M., Smith, R. J., & Blanck, P. (2004). Hearing loss in Union Army veterans from 1862 to 1920. Laryngoscope, 114(12), 2147–2153.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tyler, R. S. (2000). Tinnitus handbook. San Diego: Thomson Learning.Google Scholar
  34. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2010). 2009 Annual Benefits Report. Retrieved from http://www.vba.va.gov/REPORTS/abr/index.asp.
  35. USACHPPM. (2007). US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine. 2006 Veterans Compensation Charts and VA Disability Reports Retrieved October 26, 2007 from http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/hcp/comp_reports.aspx.
  36. Wilt, J., & Bjorn, V. (2006). Noise and advanced hearing protection. Paper presented at the 45th Navy Occupational Health & Preventive Medicine Conference.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.US Army Public Health Command (Provisional)Aberdeen Proving GroundUSA

Personalised recommendations