MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Service members underwent an audiogram test at the Combat Logistics Regiment 17 Regimental Aid Station here, July 13.
The Marine Corps recently updated its policy, in response to a recommendation from the Naval Audit Service draft report, requiring all Marines to take the hearing test annually due to the number of Marines leaving the military with hearing loss. The Corps uses the audiogram test to measure the Marines’ hearing capability and to monitor hearing loss. According to the draft report, commands and units shall track baseline, periodic and termination audiogram dates using Medical Readiness Reporting System hearing conservation reports. Personel shall not be removed from annual hearing testing unless work sites, processes or equipment are determined non-hazardous per an industrial hygiene survey.
“We’re excited for the changes,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jerome Boyance, corpsman, CLR-17 RAS. “Before, only Marines of certain [occupations] got tested annually because they were considered to have higher-potential risks to receive hearing loss. Now, everyone is required to get tested annually.”
By monitoring hearing loss, the Marine Corps can better assess the causes and find solutions to prevent hearing loss, said Boyance, from Seattle, Wash. Corpsmen can educate Marines on using proper protective equipment while conducting training, such as wearing earplugs and earmuffs while dealing with loud machinery and/or firearms.
Additionally, they can educate Marines on what activities and actions may cause hearing loss in their personal lives and what they can do to prevent it. Some of the most common causes are listening to portable music devices too loudly, or blasting music inside a vehicle or a room, all of which can be prevented by lowering the volume of the device.
Marines test their hearing by responding to sounds they hear in each ear that play on different levels of frequency, ranging from 500-6,000 hertz, Boyance said.
“The audiogram can detect how serious someone is experiencing hearing loss, and it allows the medical staff to give the individual an accurate response of what they can do to prevent further hearing loss,” said Boyance.
By giving service members proper advice and guidance, the Marine Corps hopes to reduce the number of devil dogs with hearing loss, said Boyance.
“This is something that’s preventable, so we’re doing everything we can to help them avoid losing their hearing,” said Boyance. “The Marine Corps is taking this very seriously because there’s no treatment for hearing loss. You can only prevent further hearing loss.”