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Military Health System

Hearing Center of Excellence

The Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE) fosters and promotes the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, rehabilitation, and research of hearing loss and auditory injury. The goal is to reduce the tangible and intangible costs of hearing loss and auditory injuries among U.S. military personnel and Veterans. HCE works with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and leads the cooperative effort to meet its goal.

Mission

The mission of the Hearing Center of Excellence is to optimize operational performance, heighten medical readiness, and enhance quality of life through collaborative leadership and advocacy for hearing and balance health initiatives.  

History

The Department of Defense (DOD) established the HCE to focus on the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of hearing loss and auditory injury. HCE was legislated by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act and directed to partner with the VA, institutions of higher education, and other mission-minded public and private organizations.

HCE’s primary responsibilities include:

  • Developing a data registry to track hearing loss and auditory injuries across the Armed Forces, and sharing the registry data with the VA
  • Encouraging and facilitating hearing health research
  • Developing best practices and clinical education, and
  • Ensuring the coordination and delivery of VA rehabilitation benefits and services to former Service members

Audio and Print Materials

The Hearing Center of Excellence, or HCE, has produced hearing-related print materials for hearing health providers, audiologists, audiology departments, and medical treatment facilities. The HCE print materials can be downloaded and printed. Or, if you prefer, many of them can be ordered online and shipped to you or your facility.

Audio CDs produced by the Auditory Research Laboratory are also available and can be ordered online.

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National Save Your Hearing Day (May 31)

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4/21/2022
National Save Your Hearing Day (May 31)

Don’t take your sense of hearing for granted! You can prevent hearing loss by taking special care of your ears in loud and dangerous environments with hearing protection such as ear coverings or ear plugs. Follow this link to find more ways to protect your ears: https://health.mil/HCEHome

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Wear Approved Safety Eye Protection, Save Your Vision

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3/25/2022
Gunner with 1Brigade Combat Team 82nd Division wears shaded eye protection as he fires his M249 at Rotation 21-05 at the Joint Readiness Training Center. (Photo: Capt. Joseph Warren)

The Tri-Service Vision Conservation and Readiness Branch, or TSVCRB, encourages service members to wear eye protection while at work and at home to prevent eye injuries.

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Ask the Doc: Can a Concussion Affect Hearing and Vision?

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3/16/2022
Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, a physical therapist for the Fort Drum Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Clinic, New York, uses a model of the inner ear on Feb. 27, 2019, to demonstrate how a concussion can cause inner ear, or vestibular, damage which may result in dizziness, anxiety, depression, moodiness, balance problems and irritability to name a few. (Photo: Warren W. Wright Jr., Fort Drum MEDDAC)

Even a mild concussion can lead to hearing and vision problems.

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Sports Eye Safety Month: Top Sports Injuries

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3/15/2022
Sports Eye Safety Month: Top Sports Injuries

#DYK? 14.7% of eye injuries occur during sports. Take care of your eyesight and ensure you’re protecting your eyes during strenuous physical activity.

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Sports Eye Safety Month: Eye Injuries

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#DYK? 14.7% of eye injuries occur during sports. Take care of your eyesight and ensure you’re protecting your eyes during strenuous physical activity.

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Ringing in Your Ears Might Be a Sign of Hearing Loss

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3/10/2022
Army Col. Randy Lau fires a 120 mm mortar during a live-fire exercise at Camp Roberts, California, June 15, 2021.

Tinnitus can affect your concentration, reaction time, and short-term memory. It can be linked to anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Some people turn to substance abuse to try to block the sounds.

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The Military is Reporting Far Fewer Hearing Problems

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Soldiers wear hearing protection while firing an M3 multi-role anti-armor antipersonnel weapon system during live-fire training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Sept. 15, 2021.

Hearing loss in the Department of Defense continues to decrease for service members and civilians enrolled in hearing conservation programs, according to a recent report from the Defense Health Agency Hearing Center of Excellence.

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Hearing Connects Us to the World; Protecting Your Hearing Matters

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10/5/2021
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Hearing Center of Excellence duo talks about the importance of hearing health and protection both on and off duty.

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Stay Sight and Sound Ready

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6/2/2021
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Stay sight and sound ready by protecting your vision and hearing, getting routine exams, and telling your doctor when you're having problems.

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Strategies for hearing loss prevention help service members stay ready

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3/3/2021
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The Defense Health Agency is one of many healthcare entities celebrating World Hearing Day on March 3.

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Last Updated: October 31, 2022
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