The Air Force recently launched its first baseline testing program to measure the hearing of enlisted trainees and officer recruits,
announced officials at JBSA-Lackland, Texas. "Our goal with this program is to provide an accurate hearing assessment for new recruits before exposure to job-related hazardous noises," said Michael Elliot, a health systems administrator with the Defense Department's Hearing Center of Excellence at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, in the base's May 15 release. The Air Force previously relied on hearing tests administered at military entrance processing stations. Under the new program, which took effect on March 30, all recruits undergo the hearing assessment as part of their medical in-processing within the first three weeks of training, states the release. Enlisted basic trainees undergo testing at Lackland, while officer recruits will take the test at Maxwell AFB, Ala. A five-member team, including an audiologist and four technicians, administers the test. "Early testing enables the staff to diagnose, intervene, and explore treatment options for the trainee," said Elliot. Although not the original intent, the testing has already identified trainees who do not meet accession or Air Force specialty code standards, according to the release.
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