Barriers to hearing conservation programs in combat arms occupations


  1. Abel, S.M.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
The Canadian military instituted a hearing conservation program 50 years ago. Yet the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss is escalating. A focus group study involving four combat arms trades was carried out to probe individuals’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors with respect to hearing loss prevention to find ways to improve compliance. Four groups of four or five Infantry Soldiers, Artillerymen, Armoured Soldiers, and Combat Engineers, respectively, with the rank of Warrant Officer, Sergeant or Master Corporal and at least five years of service participated. Discussions were led by a Moderator and recorded by an Assistant Moderator. Questions posed related to susceptibility for and consequences of hearing loss, benefits and drawbacks of hearing protection and preferences. Age range was 28-48 years and length of service 17-30 years. Individuals were exposed to noise from small and large calibre weapons, explosives, vehicles, and aircraft. Infantry Soldiers and Artillerymen had confirmed moderate to severe hearing loss. Armoured Soldiers and Combat Engineers had not perceived a change. Main concerns of using hearing protection during combat were interference with detection and localization of auditory warnings, and perception of orders. Devices were often incompatible with communication systems, difficult to fit and uncomfortable. The occupations were hearing critical. Difference in hearing loss among groups was related to type and level of noise exposure. Loss of hear

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focus groups;noise exposure;noise-induced hearing loss;hearing protection
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-SL-2007-177 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Jun 2008
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, vol 79, no 6, 2008, p 591-598
Electronic Document(PDF)

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