Dr. Ken Grant and Dr. Doug Brungart, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center · NACS Seminar: Hearing and Speech Research at the National Military Audiology and Speech-Pathology Center: An Overview
The profession of Audiology owes its origins and much of its early development to the Army Audiology and Speech Center (AASC), Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Because weapons of war are inherently noisy, hearing loss has always been a significant health problem within the Army. Efforts to treat hearing loss within the Army date from World War I. In between World War I and World War II wearable electronic hearing aids were introduced commercially, and the focus of hearing treatment within the Army shifted from exclusively lip reading and auditory training, to include amplification. The problem of noise-induced hearing loss within the Army became acute during World War II when tens of thousands of soldiers returned home with significant hearing impairments. This unfortunate result led to the first hearing conservation program in the military and several large-scale prevalence studies to track the progression of hearing loss among active-duty soldiers. Over the last 70 years, the AASC, now known as the National Military Audiology and Speech-Pathology Center (NMASC), has made numerous and significant contributions to clinically-relevant audiology and speech-pathology research. The mission of the NMASC Research Section is to conduct basic, applied and translational research to support the audiology and speech pathology programs at Walter Reed as well as the Department of Defense and related government entities. Its goal is to conduct research to improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of auditory, vestibular, speech, voice, language, and swallowing impairments and other communication disorders. In this talk we will outline some of the major project areas under investigation, including research on hearing aids, auditory fitness for duty, speech perception in noise, hearing protection, spatial hearing, multisensory integration, computational modeling of hearing loss, effects of traumatic brain injuries on speech understanding, and speech, voice and swallowing impairments.