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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 2/26/2006 5:16:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/26/2006 5:17:38 PM EDT by AKJonny]
I am 18, and am in my second year of college. I have long desired to join the Marines but have always been told that I would never have an opportunity to do so, as I am totally deaf in one ear. The reason why, I was told, was that if I were in combat, and lost hearing in my other ear, I would be "screwed". I recently spoke to some Marine officers on campus who were promoting the Marine officer program, and they gave me hope in saying that, given the fact that we are in a time of war, the chance of getting my partial deafness waived are considerable.

Does anyone have any advice, or comments for my situation?

Thank you in advance.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:20:32 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:22:20 PM EDT
It seems if you were to lose hearing, it would be both ears anyhow. I say, as long as it dosn't impact your preformance, go for it. If, however, it could hamper your ability to comunicate at key moments, mabey it just wasn't ment to be.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:22:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/26/2006 5:23:56 PM EDT by Pointman_M4A1]
There are waivers that can be granted for a lot of conditions, some may allow you in but limit your career field selections.

The best thing to do is go to the office, talk to them and explain your situation. If you are otherwise qualified it may be possible.

A friend of mine enlisted in the Army that had hearing loss (totally deaf) in one ear, with the appropriate medical waivers.


Good luck.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:24:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AKJonny:

Does anyone have any advice, or comments for my situation?






I had severe hearing loss when I enlisted in 1976, but I was enlisted.

Regardless, when you decide who, what, when & where; GET IT IN WRITING!!!!!!! It will still be worthless, but you'll feel better knowing it was written down for you.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:33:07 PM EDT
Thank you guys alot for your posts, every bit is very helpful to me.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:34:37 PM EDT
Are you planning on enlisting or going through ROTC?
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:35:51 PM EDT
Planning to apply for OCS this year.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:27:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AKJonny:
I am 18, and am in my second year of college. I have long desired to join the Marines but have always been told that I would never have an opportunity to do so, as I am totally deaf in one ear. The reason why, I was told, was that if I were in combat, and lost hearing in my other ear, I would be "screwed". I recently spoke to some Marine officers on campus who were promoting the Marine officer program, and they gave me hope in saying that, given the fact that we are in a time of war, the chance of getting my partial deafness waived are considerable.

Does anyone have any advice, or comments for my situation?

Thank you in advance.



Hearing waivers are definitely possible. They were possible prior to the war too though. A little history, my family has a hereditary hearing condition. There's a big long medical term for it but basically the nerves aren't as fully developed and results in loss in the mid range of hearing. My dad is almost legally deaf, I have about a 60% loss, my brother has about a 40% loss, my other two brothers seem not to have it. My dad was turned down by the Marines in the 80s for this, I was accepted into the Army in 2000, and my brother was accepted into the Marines in 2004. I think my dad's issue was that being so close to the Vietnam era there was no shortage of troops, they already had good numbers and didn't need him, I on the other hand joined when numbers were low and my brother joined during war time. Waivers go to the Surgeon General's office and take 4-6 weeks for approval. You have complete loss in one ear so YMMV but it is possible for these things to get waived.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:46:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AKJonny:
Planning to apply for OCS this year.



You will be limited to your Job choices, Officer will not be one. That is because OCS requires a physical profile that cannot be waived. I do not have the pulhess on hand but basically perfect shape throughout your body. The h in pulhes is hearing.

A friend of mine back from Iraq has a permanent 3 in his hearing (sustained fire from a M240b in a firefight in his ear) . If he reclasses he is limited to basically supply jobs or finance. He is currently Infantry, the med board allowed him to retain his MOS for now.

I recruit for the National Guard my waivers are a totally different process then other branches. All I can say, and always say is go in and see a recruiter. Some will BS you because they are too busy or do not want to be bothered with a waiver process. Go to another recruiting station if so, do not give up hope. Waivers are not easy, and require alot of work on both the Recruiter and the applicant. Match up the two and you got yourself an enlistment.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 3:47:56 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 4:27:22 AM EDT
All I have to say is if you do get in, don't place your good ear next to a 60/240 or anything bigger! I made the mistake of doing that during my first live fire ex. as a team leader. I was just to the right of the 60 gunner. Not only is it hard to talk on the radio when you are spitting distance from a belt fed 7.62, but after 5 mags of my own and 2 belts through the 60, I was deaf in my left ear for about 2 days.

If it woulda been a .50, I would have really been SOL.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 4:32:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 4:34:09 AM EDT by JoshD]
And just for shits and giggles, since we are talking about recruiters, what is a reenlistment eligibility code "RE-4"? I'm guessing it means "if you try to reenlist, we will bitch slap you". I've probably got enough metal in my leg and back to make an AR lower
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 4:54:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JoshD:
And just for shits and giggles, since we are talking about recruiters, what is a reenlistment eligibility code "RE-4"? I'm guessing it means "if you try to reenlist, we will bitch slap you". I've probably got enough metal in my leg and back to make an AR lower

RE-4 is the military's way of saying "Have a nice life, we won't be seeing you again".

The National Guard Can get past some RE-4s, but that one would be tough.

Total hearing loss in one ear is going to be difficult, at best, to get waived.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 5:39:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By joker581:

Originally Posted By JoshD:
And just for shits and giggles, since we are talking about recruiters, what is a reenlistment eligibility code "RE-4"? I'm guessing it means "if you try to reenlist, we will bitch slap you". I've probably got enough metal in my leg and back to make an AR lower

RE-4 is the military's way of saying "Have a nice life, we won't be seeing you again".

The National Guard Can get past some RE-4s, but that one would be tough.

Total hearing loss in one ear is going to be difficult, at best, to get waived.



Pretty much the case. The narrative reason in block 28 of member-4 copy of the dd214 is what matters most. That is what the waivers are based off.
Link Posted: 2/28/2006 7:33:21 AM EDT
Here is the current info on hearing loss and the US Army Cadet Command (ROTC) in reference to accessing into the military as an officer. Accession standards are always higher than retention standards. Meaning, if you aquire the hearing loss while on duty, you can stay but can't come in with the loss depending on severity.

FACT SHEET (Updated Jul 02)

SUBJECT: Hearing Standards

1. Hearing problems are common among ROTC applicants and are usually the result of past exposure to loud noise. Individuals with significant hearing loss are advised to avoid loud noises, i.e. use of weapons, loud music, shop tools etc. These limitations may have an adverse impact on their availability for certain military duty assignments. Thus, identification of ROTC applicants with such future limitations is a priority. All hearing deteriorates with age, however, a military career with its frequent exposure to loud sounds will only aggravate this process. Therefore, the medical hearing standards were developed to exclude those individuals whose baseline hearing is already significantly impaired. This fact sheet covers the following hearing issues:

a. Hearing test interpretation
b. Hearing waiver limits
c. Hearing aids
d. Coclear implants

2. Hearing Test Interpretation

a. Hearing tests are very technical and difficult to understand. Hearing measurements are documented in block # 16 on DD Form 2351 (DoDMERB physical). The hearing range that is tested vary from between 500 to 6000 cycles/ second. Normal hearing is < 30 decibels (dB) for each measurement. Most cadets average between 0-10 db. An average hearing measurement > 30 dB in the 500, 1000, and 2000 cycles/second range is disqualifying as is any single measurement > 35 dB. At higher hearing frequencies, a hearing measurement of > 45 dB at 3000 cycles/second or > 55 dB at 4000cycles/second in either ear is disqualifying per AR 40-501.

b. The hearing test data is normally recorded in a table format, for example:

Hz: 500 1000 2000 3000 4000 6000
dB 30 30 30 45 55 45

c. The hearing range from 500-2000 cycles/second is often referred to as the speech range. That is the hearing range important for communication with other individuals. The ability to discriminate among the various speech sounds is critical to success as an officer. Hearing loss tends to occurs first at the higher hearing frequencies (3000 to 6000 cycles/second) that are clinically less important and most hearing DQs by DoDMERB are in this area.

3. Hearing Waiver Limits

a. It is difficult to provide criteria as to which ROTC applicants are likely to receive a medical waiver for a hearing DQ because each ROTC applicant must be considered on a case by case basis. Some general guidelines can be provided.

(1) Abnormal hearing measurements at the higher frequencies (3000 to 6000 cyles/second) are more likely to be waived. Generally if the hearing test exceeds the maximal normal limit by no more than 5-10 dB a waiver will be approved. Maximal normal values are listed in paragraph 2a.

(2) Abnormal hearing that exceeds the limit by 5-10 dB in only one ear rather than in both ears is more likely to be waived since the good ear can compensate to some extent.

4. Hearing Aids

a. A ROTC applicant with a hearing aid cannot be waived. The use
of a hearing aid indicates severe hearing loss. In Mar 02 written input was received form all the services’ hearing experts for a DoD Working Group reviewing all military medical accession standards that was attended by the Cadet Command Surgeon.

(1) The USA input noted that “There are substantial empirically
supported reasons why individuals with such degree of hearing loss are not accessed into the military; e.g. inability to communicate and perform mission in complex listening situations, jeopardy of personal safety and safety of others, existing hearing loss is more susceptible to further decrease with hazardous noise exposure, and increased likelihood of compensation upon separation from service for an EPTS condition.”

(2) The USAF consultant noted that “First, hearing aids do not
correct hearing in the same manner as eyeglasses correct vision. Unlike vision, most hearing losses (95%) requiring hearing aids are sensori-neural etiology usually involving some type of permanent damage to the cochlear outer/inner hair cells. Second, amplification may return certain functionality to the hearing impaired individual but will never restore hearing to normal operational levels. This is due to engineering limitations of the electronic amplifiers currently used and inherent organic limitations of the middle and inner ear structures. Even with optimal fittings, most individuals wearing amplification will experience significant difficulties communicating in the presence of competing background noise. Noise is a reality of the military environment, even military members with normal hearing experience difficulties communicating. Furthermore, IAW with well established Labor Law any work condition that could make worse a pre-existing medical condition will make the whole condition compensable.”

(3) The USN consultant input noted that “Besides the difficulty of
maintaining hearing aids in the operational Navy, it is unlikely that branch medical clinics or MTFs have the capability to service hearing aids. If a service member were to lose their hearing aid in an emergency situation it might place them and their shipmates in danger and effect the success of the operation mission.”

b. Hearing aids are only authorized for active duty soldiers under AR 40-
501, para 3-10 with service connected hearing loss if a soldier is capable of effective duty performance and can be returned to duty with appropriate assignment limitations. Otherwise, soldiers with a hearing aid are referred to a medical board for separation.

5. Cochlear Implants

a. Recent advances in technology for the hearing impaired have included
surgery involving cochlear implants. Use of cochlear implants is not waiverable.

b. The USAF hearing consultant noted that “No individual wearing cochlear implants should be allowed to enter active duty service. Cochlear implants are a last resort device for individuals with severe to profound sensori-neural hearing losses. These individuals are beyond help with conventional amplification (hearing aids).” The Army hearing consultant concurred with the USAF opinion.

Link Posted: 2/28/2006 6:20:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TANGOCHASER:
4. Hearing Aids



Hmm, that was an interesting read actually. Seems my brother and I are exceptions. Of course there is no USMC comment in there. Section 4 (1) and 4 b. were especially interesting.

The Army accepted me in with a pre-existing condition. I have since been issued hearing aids (and these aint cheap either). I have been exempted from ever having to be Med boarded provided there is no dramatic change in my hearing. I have a 20db drop in the left ear and a 15db drop in the right from "normal" centered in the mid-range (the range in which normal human speach falls) of normal human hearing.

15db drop is what the Army considers a significant loss, a change of more than 5 measured across two separate semi-annual tests is a significant change. All measurements are taken in 5db increments.

It's been 6 years now with no change at all in the mid or low range, my high range has actually improved 5db over the past two years, that or I'm getting better at timing the intervals between tone changes. They say that folks like me, those that take hearing tests often show improvement over time, not because our hearing improves but we work out the timing in our heads and begin "hearing" things when we should hear them, whether or not we actually can hear it. I took a test once a few years back where the timing was randomized, rather than the normal intervals in the tests and did horribly. Haven't had to take that again.

Funniest thing of all is that I never noticed a problem before joining the Army, and don't notice it now. the only time anyone says anything about me not being able to hear is when I take the damn tests.

And I have no idea what happened to my hearing aids, they're somewhere in the house but I have no idea where. They gave me this little can with dessicant in it for storing to dry them out. Put them in there, set it somewhere and forgot where. I hate the things anyway, do nothing but amplify background noise, plus they're insanely uncomfortable. You really have no idea how disconcerting the sound of chewing is until you hear it for the first time in 22 years. And you can never get used to having stuff crammed in your ear all day.
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