Risk of Acoustic Trauma Associated With Artillery Weapon Gunners

The military is a high-risk occupational deafness environment. Acoustic trauma is a sensorineural hearing disorder caused by impulsive loud noise in the 2-6 kHz range. The purpose of this research is to determine the occurrence of acoustic trauma in a Howitzer 105 gunner. The Indonesian military does not currently have a hearing conservation program. The work environment of the armed forces puts military personnel at risk of occupational hearing loss caused by the use of primary defense equipment as one of the skill requirements. From July 7 to July 10, 2014, the research used a prospective period method, with the focus on new recruit soldiers in the Indonesian Army’s Artillery Academy. The subjects were divided into two groups: those who had been exposed (17 gunners) and those who had not been exposed (17 gunners) (stae the number of subjects). A questionnaire was used to collect information about the subjects’ identities, medical histories, and symptoms after firing. The Integrating Sound Level Meter and Real Time Analyzer were used to determine the intensity and frequency of the sound. To evaluate hearing function, pure tone audiometry was used. The Fisher Exact test was used to determine the data value (p0.05). The sound pressure level of a Howitzer 105 artillery weapon was 148.6 dBA with a frequency that decayed to 60 dBA for 2 seconds, while the impulsive sound intensity received at a distance of one metre exceeded the 1998th National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) criteria. Acoustic trauma to the gunner without ear protection is significant at 23.5 percent (p0.05), while symptoms of tinnitus and temporary hearing disorders (1 day) are only 6% and not significant (p>0.05).

Author(s) Details

Sigit Sasongko
Medical Faculty, General Achmad Yani University, Gatot Soebroto Army Central Hospital, Jakarta, Indonesia.

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