Soldiers Exposed To Gunshot Noise Need Better Hearing
Editor: It's no surprise to us that gunshots can cause hearing loss.
So I guess it's little wonder that the American Academy of
Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (AAOHNS) is calling for better
hearing protection for soldiers. Here's their press release.
A new study published in the January issue of the medical journal
Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery strongly recommends better hearing
protection for soldiers to prevent permanent long-term hearing loss that
can be caused by exposure to the sound of gunshots.
The study measured the impact of "impulse noise" (short
bursts of acoustic energy) on 80 subjects with no history of hearing
disorders by using short-term exposure to the impulse noise generated by
five gunshots from a kbk AKMS rifle, commonly known as an AK-47. In the
study, soldiers using hearing protection did not have their hearing
affected. Soldiers without hearing protection experienced the expected
levels of hearing loss. Common estimates are that 10 to 15 percent of
soldiers returning from active military service without the use of
hearing protection develop acoustic trauma.
The study recommends the military adopt hearing protectors that will
muffle the most harmful frequencies while still enabling soldiers to
communicate with each other. The study's authors recommend the use of
noise-reducing earmuffs for that purpose.
The study's purpose was to determine what effect prolonged exposure
to gunfire could have on soldiers. The authors note that most military
personnel are young and at the beginning stages of their careers, and
would be negatively impacted by a loss of hearing as they enter the
civilian work force.
The findings are published in the January 2007 edition of
Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, the American Academy of
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery/Foundation's (AAO-HNS/F) scientific
journal. The authors of the study are Prof. Jurek Olszewski, MD, PhD;
Jaroslaw Milonski, MD, PhD; Slawomir Olszewski, MD; and Joanna Majak,
MD, PhD. They are members of the Department of Otolaryngology and
Oncology at the Medical University of Lodz, Zeromskiego, in Lodz,
About the AAO-HNS/F: The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head
and Neck Surgery/Foundation (http://www.entnet.org), one of the oldest
medical associations in the nation, represents more than 12,000
physicians and allied health professionals who specialize in the
diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and
related structures of the head and neck. The Academy serves its members
by facilitating the advancement of the science and art of medicine
related to otolaryngology and by representing the specialty in
governmental and socioeconomic issues. The organization's mission is:
"Working for the Best Ear, Nose, and Throat Care."