Hearing Conservation Program: A Review of Best Practices for the United States Air Force In this article, authors review the recent literature in hearing conservation best practices to contribute to the Air Force Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) quality improvement measures. The cited research addresses HCP successes and deficits, revealing a need for increased health behavior theory-based training for workers, improved hearing protection device (HPD) ... Article
Article  |   December 2012
Hearing Conservation Program: A Review of Best Practices for the United States Air Force
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lindsay Marmer
    US Army Public Health Command (USAPHC), Behavioral and Social Health Outcomes Program (BSHOP), Aberdeen Proving Ground-Edgewood, MD
  • Elizabeth McKenna
    US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM), Public Health and Preventive Medicine Department, Epidemiology Consult Service, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
  • Eric A. Koenig
    US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM), Public Health and Preventive Medicine Department, Epidemiology Consult Service, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
  • Disclosure: Lindsay Marmer is employed by the US Army Public Health Command, and Capt. Elizabeth McKenna and Eric A. Koenig are employed by the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine.
    Disclosure: Lindsay Marmer is employed by the US Army Public Health Command, and Capt. Elizabeth McKenna and Eric A. Koenig are employed by the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine.×
  • © 2012 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Articles
Article   |   December 2012
Hearing Conservation Program: A Review of Best Practices for the United States Air Force
SIG 8 Perspectives on Public Health Issues Related to Hearing and Balance, December 2012, Vol. 13, 20-28. doi:10.1044/hcoa13.1.20
SIG 8 Perspectives on Public Health Issues Related to Hearing and Balance, December 2012, Vol. 13, 20-28. doi:10.1044/hcoa13.1.20

In this article, authors review the recent literature in hearing conservation best practices to contribute to the Air Force Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) quality improvement measures. The cited research addresses HCP successes and deficits, revealing a need for increased health behavior theory-based training for workers, improved hearing protection device (HPD) usage, and more documentation of program evaluation. Worker training, based on health behavior theory, has the potential to increase HPD use, a critical component in HCP. HPDs should be fit-tested, monitored, and adjusted to meet workers' needs and should allow for communication without overprotection. Evaluation and consistent record-keeping of the HCP and audiological measures are critical to provide feedback for managers to make adjustments as necessary. In the military environment, it is pertinent to evaluate the program using the Department of Defense’s Defense Occupational Environmental Health Readiness System, Hearing Conservation and Data Repository (DOEHRS-HC/DR) and adapt the HPD inventory to the unique needs of military personnel. Though best practice guidelines for program management have not been proven, the research continues to evolve; only long-term studies will determine the true effectiveness of preventing noise-induced hearing loss in workers.

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