Recommendations for a Military Health System Auditory Blast Injury Prevention Standard

Elizabeth B. Brokaw, Douglas S. Brungart, Ryan M. Byrne, Greg A. Flamme, Raj Gupta, Charles R. Jokel, Sharon G. Kujawa, Lisa Lalis, Richard L. McKinley, William J. Murphy, Rachel W. Spencer, Christopher J. Smalt, Brissi F. Zagadou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Although existing auditory injury prevention standards benefit warfighters, the Department of Defense could do more to understand and address auditory injuries (e.g., hearing loss, tinnitus, and central processing deficits) among service members. The Blast Injury Prevention Standards Recommendation (BIPSR) Process is designed to address the needs of all the Military Services for biomedically valid Military Health System (MHS) Blast Injury Prevention Standards. Materials and Methods: Through the BIPSR Process, stakeholders provided their intended uses and requested functionalities for an MHS Blast Injury Prevention Standard. The BIPSR Process established a broad-based, non-advocacy panel of auditory injury Subject Matter Expert (SME) Panel with members drawn from industry, academia, and government. The SME Panel selected evaluation factors, weighted priorities, and then evaluated the resulting candidate MHS Auditory Blast Injury Prevention Standards against the evaluation criteria. The SME Panel members provided rationales for their decisions, documented discussions, and used iterative rounds of feedback to promote consensus building among members. The BIPSR Process used multi-attribute utility theory to combine members’ evaluations and compare the candidate standards. Results: The SME Panel identified and collated information about existing auditory injury datasets to identify gaps and promote data sharing and comprehensive evaluations of standards for preventing auditory blast injury. The panel evaluated the candidate standards and developed recommendations for an MHS Blast Injury Prevention Standard. Conclusions: The BIPSR Process illuminated important characteristics, capabilities, and limitations of candidate standards and existing datasets (e.g., limited human exposure data to evaluate the validity of injury prediction) for auditory blast injury prevention. The evaluation resulted in the recommendation to use the 8-hour Equivalent Level (LAeq8hr) as the interim MHS Auditory Blast Injury Prevention Standard while the community performs additional research to fill critical knowledge gaps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-184
Number of pages9
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume188
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes

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