U.S. Air Force Noise Exposure Demonstration Project
Technical Report,01 Dec 2016,31 Jul 2018
USAFSAM/FHOF Wright-Patterson AFB United States
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This technical report summarizes research conducted by the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Force Health Protection Branch, in support of the Air Force Medical Service Total Exposure Health TEH program. Intended to be an initial demonstration of TEH, the primary objective of this study was to develop low-cost sensor technology, in order to capture noise exposure data on a 24-hour basis for study participants. The final product was a Bluetooth Low Energy noise microphonesensor, connected to a special app developed for Apple iOSAndroid devices. A total of 19 study participants 12 male, 7 female 17 enlisted, 2 officer were consented at Moody AFB, GA. Field data collection over a 7-10 day period yielded 10,607 noise events, defined as being 70 dB. The majority 77 percent were low noise events 70 dB, but 95 dB. Questionnaire data indicated that noise exposures are due to various occupational, environmental, and lifestyle activities. Results include demonstrating the ability to incorporate low-cost technology to capture data to provide insight into types and extent of noise exposures. Further, this TEH approach to characterizing 24-hour noise exposures helps identify potential interventions personalized care to reduce the risk of hearing loss. Potential interventions include increased training, audiograms, and medical monitoring. Data on preferred types of hearing protection devices, e.g., foam plugs, ear muffs, custom-fitted plugs, were also gathered.