HomeNewsArticle Display

AF begins study on noise exposures

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AFNS) -- An Air Force Surgeon General initiative called Total Exposure Health will soon advance from a concept to a real-world demonstration at an operational base.

Total Exposure Health focuses on primary prevention, which includes exposures in the workplace, the environment and lifestyles, in order to prevent disease and injury from occurring.

“We’re really talking about keeping people truly healthy before they even get sick,” said Col. Kirk Phillips, the consultant to the Air Force surgeon general for bioenvironmental engineering. “We try to get individuals to basically have a healthy lifestyle, which is really difficult when everybody knows it’s important, but it’s not easy to do.”

The upcoming demonstration will focus on an exposure that’s common for everybody -- noise. After recruiting the necessary participants, the next step of the demonstration will be to measure all forms of noise exposure throughout their day, including sources outside of work such as traffic or a child suffering from colic at home.

The standard approach to noise exposures is to monitor workplace noise and intervene when it exceeds a standard threshold.
Dr. Richard Hartman, the chief health strategist for TEH, said the effects of noise are cumulative and measuring only workplace noise exposure fails to account for the other 16 hours of exposure outside the workplace.

“I think a lot of us would be amazed if we actually knew what was too noisy,” Phillips said, adding that most people have numerous noise exposures throughout the day that they don’t even think about. All those sources add up over time if people don’t give their ears a break.
“Noise sources that are lower in value, once we’ve had some of those higher-level exposures, can be concerns,” he added.

The second part of the demonstration will provide practical ways to deal with these exposures. Participants will be given earmuffs, basic hearing protection and a custom form-fitted hearing protection to see which they prefer throughout the day.

Phillips said that’s the exciting part for participants “because not only will you know what your sources are and have your own idea of what to do, but we’re willing to partner with you and your family to actually provide you some resources, such that you are able to control that noise.”

If this work can prevent people from getting overexposed to noise, they could enter old age without this disability, Phillips added.

“Hearing loss from noise exposure means you lose certain areas of your hearing but not others. So, what happens is the things you don’t care about drown out the things you do care about,” he said.

According to Hartman, the demonstration will last about two weeks and the results will help the team understand the complexities of the exposures and open the door for further research and novel approaches to preventing hearing loss.

“We’re going to do something with it,” Hartman said. “We’re not just collecting noise information and saying you’re above or below ... We’re using very advanced analytics to produce a course of action. This is the reason we chose noise as it’s one we’re all exposed to no matter what your age is, no matter what your profession is.”

Hartman said TEH is critical to the future of Air Force health and it will provide a more refined understanding of exposures, from sunlight to pollution, and their effects on the individual. Once all the elements of TEH are implemented it will allow people to take more control of their health because that information is shared.

“That way, you can either have a more informed conversation with your provider or you can make more informed decisions about yourself because you have access,” he said.


Facebook Twitter
RT @AFResearchLab: Dr. Lisa Rueschhoff was one of 82 engineers chosen to attend @theNAEng 2019 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium! Sh…
RT @ActingSecAF: .@GenDaveGoldfein is bolstering partners & #allies across Europe, discussing how we can be #StrongerTogether in air, #spac
Annual recovery efforts have helped to identify 40 of the 52 service members lost when a C-124 crashed into Mount G… https://t.co/fdHUY2IATf
8 of the surviving #Apollo #Astronauts got together for the 50th anniversary of the #moonlanding. @NASAhttps://t.co/szPJHXupa1
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Gen. Goldfein, during his keynote address at the 2019 Chief of the Air Staff's Air and Space Power Conference said the follo…
.@WrightPattAFB opened a #cyberdefense facility for #USAF Life Cycle Management Center's Fighters & Bombers Directo… https://t.co/QibdORLX2q
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Our asymmetric advantage is represented in this room. It is all of us working together on a common cause. Great to see…
.@AFResearchLab supports @AFThunderbirds w/cutting-edge aerospace #technology. From G-suits, custom earpieces, fly-… https://t.co/HJ07fLg2aP
Operating from rough dirt strips, the #C130 Hercules is capable of transporting & airdropping troops & equipment in… https://t.co/c4vsC76vRX
Tune into @TheWilsonCenter July 18, 2019 at 8:05 a.m. (EDT) to hear #USAirForce Lt. Gen. Bussiere, @USNorthernCmd A… https://t.co/M2LTH8wpx5
.@DMAFB #Airmen traveled more than 1700 miles to save two critically injured Mexican fishermen onboard the Mazatun… https://t.co/tcTnNPC8Zj
RT @KadenaAirBase: #ICYMI: #TeamKadena will be activating a new special operations squadron for the operation and maintenance of the #CV22
#OTDIH, The B-2 Spirit's inaugural test flight happened from Palmdale to @EdwardsAFB, #California. The B-2 Spirit i… https://t.co/bS7ODGlxsP
.@HAFB #Airmen conduct #F35 missions while temporary assigned to @366FW. This is the largest off-station F-35A Li… https://t.co/KlbXq7jBLg
RT @MacDill_AFB: CSM John W. Troxell has our #TotalForce team here at MacDill feeling empowered! 😎💪 Thanks for visiting our service members…
.@NellisAFB plans to roll out shorts for maintenance technicians to wear on the flight line in the scorching Nevada… https://t.co/fcavaNG112
⚡️ “RAF Lakenheath breaks ground on future F-35 infrastructure” by @usairforce https://t.co/wiOjMMONZD
.@48FighterWing hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new #F35 infrastructure at Royal Air Force Lakenheath,… https://t.co/nOmLeR1egG
🗣Calling all #Milwaukeeans! #USAF Captain Curtis Hinca calls #Milwaukee home & is an Air Force Prosecutor… https://t.co/0LqvQdCUqm
RT @ValerieInsinna: Here’s a little bonus footage of @GenDaveGoldfein taxiing before his a ride in @FinnishAirForce F/A-18s. Read the story…