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Documentation of Overall Noise and Solvent Exposures in Recently Separated Military Personnel

Griest SE, Carlson KF, Theodoroff SM, Henry JA. Documentation of Overall Noise and Solvent Exposures in Recently Separated Military Personnel. Poster session presented at: American Academy of Audiology Annual Convention; 2015 Mar 27; San Antonio, TX.




Abstract:

Objectives Tinnitus and hearing loss are the top two most prevalent service-connected disabilities among Veterans in the United States (Veterans Benefits Administration, 2013). Understanding the epidemiology of hearing loss and tinnitus is a priority for both the US Department of Defense and the VA. A specific need is to document noise and ototoxic solvent exposures before, during, and after servicemembers are discharged from the military in order to determine the impact of these exposures on hearing and tinnitus (Humes et.al, Noise and Military Service: Implications for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus, 2006). Data generated from an ongoing, Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (VA/DoD), epidemiology study will shed light on the prevalence, etiology, and effects of these conditions, as well as the type and amount of exposures experienced by recently separated servicemembers. This study is referred to as the NOISE Study (Noise Outcomes in Servicemembers Epidemiology Study). Purpose As part of the NOISE Study, the Noise and Solvent Exposures Questionnaire was developed to document, in recently separated military personnel, their lifetime history of (1) noise exposure, including occupational, non-occupational, military, and non-military-related; and (2) solvent exposure that could result in early and delayed-onset hearing loss and tinnitus. This unique data collection tool captures longitudinal experiences of noise and solvent exposure including duration and frequency of exposure and use of safety equipment during the time of exposure (i.e. hearing protection, respirator, mask, etc.). More complete histories of noise and solvent exposures with greater precision, is critical in conducting epidemiological studies of hearing loss and tinnitus. Methods Recently discharged Veterans are being recruited, enrolled, and tested as part of an ongoing, epidemiology study. Using the Noise and Solvent Exposures Questionnaire, detailed assessments of their noise and solvent exposures before, during, and after their military service are conducted. In addition, all subjects undergo comprehensive audiologic testing and complete numerous other questionnaires. This presentation will provide an analysis of Phase 1 data (n = 100) from the on-going NOISE Study, with a focus on the development and results of the Noise and Solvent Exposures Questionnaire. Results and Conclusions Development of the Noise and Solvent Exposures Questionnaire will be described. Prevalence, etiology, and effects of hearing loss and tinnitus will be reported in 100 recently separated military personnel. Amount and type of noise and solvent exposures including military, non-military, occupational, and non-occupational will be presented for this population. Knowing what types of noise and solvent exposures are experienced by this population will contribute to a better understanding as to how these exposures impact hearing loss and tinnitus.





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