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Hearing Center of Excellence looking for NOISE study volunteers

By Daniel J. Calderón | 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs | Oct. 11, 2018

The 59th Medical Wing, in partnership with the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence, is conducting a Noise Outcomes in Service members study at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The goal is to help researchers examine, and better understand, how the long-term progression of hearing impairment and tinnitus among active duty service members is related to expose during their time of service and post service.  


“This study will lay the foundation for a longitudinal cohort study in which data will continue to be gathered at incremental time points over the service member’s lifetime,” said Dr. Tanisha Hammill, HCE research coordination branch chief.  “This will enable us to examine the effects and interplay between military and post-military noise exposures and potential delayed-onset audiologic problems common to service members.”


One of the main differences between longitudinal and cross-sectional studies is that cross-sectional studies interview a fresh sampling of people each time whereas longitudinal studies follow the same group of people over time and may last decades.


The search for NOISE study volunteers is ongoing. Currently, there is no closing date on when volunteers can join the study.


The study is open to current military members – including Reservists and National Guardsmen – and individuals who have retired from military service within the last two and a half years of beginning the study. Participants will complete at least two study visits at Brooke Army Medical Center or WHASC with each session lasting less than two hours.


“The NOISE study is truly an innovative study as it is the first of its kind to examine, longitudinally, military exposures on the auditory system,” Hammill said. “Additionally, in the absence of any known questionnaire that would capture lifetime exposures to military and non-military noise and chemicals, the NOISE study team developed an in-depth, self-report questionnaire, which covers an individual’s lifetime history of exposures to noise and solvents.”


The HCE is an enterprise-wide organization that fosters and promotes the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, rehabilitation and research of hearing and balance injuries in service members and veterans.


"Having the HCE headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio enables the research team to have access for this study to a very diverse research population through recruitment efforts at JBSA bases, as well as collaboration opportunities with JBSA military treatment facilities and local academia,” Hammill explained. “The NOISE study team is actively analyzing and publishing data in various academic journals such as the American Journal of Audiology, Hearing Research, Otology and Neurotology.”


Participants will receive a comprehensive hearing evaluation and tinnitus testing at each visit. Anyone interested in participating in the study can call 210-292-2867 for more information.