Postdeployment Hearing Loss in U.S. Army Soldiers Seen at Audiology Clinics From April 1, 2003, Through March 31, 2004 Purpose: U.S. Army soldiers face unique noise exposures in the current deployed setting. The effects of these deployment-related exposures have not previously been documented. Method: In an attempt to initiate this process, medical evaluations performed at military audiology clinics from April 2003 through March 2004 were reviewed to compare noise-induced ... Research Article
EDITOR'S AWARD
Research Article  |   December 2005
Postdeployment Hearing Loss in U.S. Army Soldiers Seen at Audiology Clinics From April 1, 2003, Through March 31, 2004
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Thomas M. Helfer
    U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, Edgewood, MD
    CDR, USACHPPM, Attn: MCHB-TS-MHC (Dr. Helfer), 5158 Blackhawk Road, E1570, Gunpowder, MD 21010
  • Nikki N. Jordan
    U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, Edgewood, MD
  • Robyn B. Lee
    U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, Edgewood, MD
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Research and Technology / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 2005
Postdeployment Hearing Loss in U.S. Army Soldiers Seen at Audiology Clinics From April 1, 2003, Through March 31, 2004
American Journal of Audiology, December 2005, Vol. 14, 161-168. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2005/018)
History: Received October 15, 2004 , Revised March 30, 2005 , Accepted August 12, 2005
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2005, Vol. 14, 161-168. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2005/018)
History: Received October 15, 2004; Revised March 30, 2005; Accepted August 12, 2005

Purpose: U.S. Army soldiers face unique noise exposures in the current deployed setting. The effects of these deployment-related exposures have not previously been documented.

Method: In an attempt to initiate this process, medical evaluations performed at military audiology clinics from April 2003 through March 2004 were reviewed to compare noise-induced hearing loss injury (NIHLI) outcomes among soldiers whose diagnoses were classified as postdeployment-related versus non-postdeployment-related. Sentinel NIHLI outcomes of interest included acoustic trauma, permanent threshold shift, eardrum perforation, tinnitus, and military-specific H-3 and H-4 hearing loss profiles.

Results: Significantly higher rates of NIHLI and associated outcomes were observed among soldiers whose diagnoses were postdeployment-related.

Conclusions: Based on the findings from this evaluation, recommendations are provided for enhancing the force health protection posture for prevention of hearing loss in future deployments.

Acknowledgments
The opinions or assertions contained herein are the views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense. We offer special acknowledgments to U.S. Army audiologists Maj. Jennifer Johnson, Maj. Eric Fallon, and Cpt. Lisa Whitney. These soldier medics have provided and are providing selfless service and during-deployment audiology/hearing loss prevention care and hearing loss record keeping to U.S. and allied forces and Iraqis in theater at the 31st and 86th Combat Support Hospitals, Sina Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq. We acknowledge Ltc. Robert Pero, MD, MPH, for sharing his knowledge of pre-and postdeployment health surveillance data from DD Forms 2795 and 2796. Dr. Pero also shared generously from his knowledge of evidence-based public health and “syndromic surveillance” as to how these paradigms could be applied to NIHLI surveillance. We acknowledge Dr. Anne Shields and Ltc. Kathy Gates for early data coding guidelines work that significantly contributed to the current improved outcomes data quality. We also acknowledge Ms. Lynn Marlow of the Army Medical Department Patient Administration and Bio-statistics Activity and Ms. Alicia Garza of the Air Force Medical Operations Agency for their coding guidance and collaboration with military audiologists on coding guideline improvement. We also wish to acknowledge Maj. Sam Jang, DO, MPH, for review of the manuscript.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire American Journal of Audiology content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access