FORT POLK, La. –
The Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital Department of Public Health hosted the Louisiana National Guard on March 20 and 21 for the hearing technician certification course and occupational hearing conservationist certification workshop at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana.
The two-part training consisted of four days of didactic coursework offered through MS Teams from a team of audiologists supporting the Defense Centers for Public Health, Aberdeen, Maryland followed by the two-day audiometric and hearing protection practicum at BJACH.
The first phase of the course consisted of a hearing conservation overview, learning about audiometric testing, techniques, understanding regulations, records keeping, hearing protection and more.
During phase two, students learned to use audiometric equipment, conduct testing, interpret, and document test results. They also learned to fit and assess six different varieties of hearing protection.
Lt. Col. Leanne Battler, doctor of audiology and chief of public health for BJACH said the second phase uses the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation requirements.
Ryan Prazynski, certification manager, CAOHC said civilian certification is available for Soldiers in the course by taking a proctored exam with his organization for a nominal fee.
According to the CAOHC, certified occupational hearing conservationists play an integral role on the hearing conservation team. Even though the audiometric testing program must be supervised by an audiologist or physician, the CAOHC may be closely involved with noise-exposed workers and their activities.
Battler said it’s important to have partnerships like this with the CAOHC and the National Guard.
“It’s part of the total Army concept. It is a privilege and honor for me to support and enhance the Louisiana National Guard’s readiness,” she said.
“This training will allow these guardsmen to provide support to their fellow Soldiers.”
Battler said there is no longer an audiology technician military occupational specialty, but the necessity for trained personnel still exists.
Sgt. Jake Carmouche a combat medical specialist, Louisiana Medical Readiness Detachment said during drill weekends and annual training events they hire outside contractors to perform the hearing test for periodic health assessments and the Soldier Readiness Program.
“During the week for fulltime support for our active guard Soldiers and federal technicians we do manage the hearing program,” he said. “This training allows us to support our force and plus up our capabilities.”
Carmouche said outside of drill they conduct more than 40 hearing tests each month between Camp Beauregard, Pineville, Louisiana and Jackson Barracks, New Orleans.
1st Sgt. Christopher Castaneda, Louisiana Medical Readiness Detachment, said recertification every five years is required.
“We run Tier 3 PHA events for our fulltime, recruitment and retention personnel so we must have certified technicians available to conduct hearing exams,” he said. “We used to do both the classroom and hands-on portion at Fort Polk but this year we did a hybrid course.”
Staff Sgt. Javaris Benson, combat medical specialist, Louisiana Medical Readiness Detachment said his unit ensures medical readiness for the entire state.
“This training will give us more qualified Soldiers to support the rest of our unit,” he said. “Attending this training and getting this certification is not a requirement. It’s lagniappe, to support our National Guard mission.”
Benson said lagniappe is a little extra and this training opportunity allows him to give that back to his unit.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Council of Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation visit their website at www.caohc.org.