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Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory Recognized for Excellence in Research at 2022 MHSRS

15 September 2022

From Sidney Hinds

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A team of researchers from Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) was recognized with the 2022 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) Award for Excellence, Research Accomplishment Team/Military at the MHSRS plenary session on Sept. 12.The team, NSMRL’s Regional Hearing Conservation Program of Record (RHC),
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A team of researchers from Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) was recognized with the 2022 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) Award for Excellence, Research Accomplishment Team/Military at the MHSRS plenary session on Sept. 12.

The team, NSMRL’s Regional Hearing Conservation Program of Record (RHC), received the award for work done from Aug. 2021 – Aug. 2022 collecting data on the performance of hearing protection devices used by the warfighter.

The 2022 MHSRS annual awards recognize the accomplishments of individual researchers and research teams and warfighter impact of those research and development efforts.

“It’s really nice to be recognized,” said Stephanie Karch, a research audiologist with the NSMRL RHC team, “especially at a meeting like this, where so much great work is being done.”

The RHC team’s work seeks to fill a knowledge gap in the current research on hearing protection by determining how well individual components of the warfighter’s gear provide protection against noises encountered during the normal course of duty, to include blasts and engine noises.
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2022) Staff from Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) pose for a group photo with the 2022 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) Award for Excellence, Research Accomplishment Team/Military for their efforts in hearing conservation. NSMRL, part of the Naval Medical Research & Development enterprise, attended MHSRS, the Department of Defense’s premier scientific meeting that focuses specifically on the unique medical needs of the Warfighter. This annual educational symposium brings together healthcare professionals, researchers, and DoD leaders for four days of critical learning, intensive idea sharing, and relationship building. (U.S. Navy photo by Tommy Lamkin/Released)
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220914-N-KT350-0027
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2022) Staff from Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) pose for a group photo with the 2022 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) Award for Excellence, Research Accomplishment Team/Military for their efforts in hearing conservation. NSMRL, part of the Naval Medical Research & Development enterprise, attended MHSRS, the Department of Defense’s premier scientific meeting that focuses specifically on the unique medical needs of the Warfighter. This annual educational symposium brings together healthcare professionals, researchers, and DoD leaders for four days of critical learning, intensive idea sharing, and relationship building. (U.S. Navy photo by Tommy Lamkin/Released)
Photo By: Sidney Hinds
VIRIN: 220914-N-KT350-0027

“We don’t know what all of these devices are doing on their own to protect warfighter health,” said Karch, “companies that make these products sometimes provide a measurement of efficiency, but it’s not mandated by law to be there, so there’s a gap of knowledge, and it’s not always obvious what tools are providing adequate protection. We’re trying to build a knowledge base, so providers can answer those questions.”

The RHC team also investigated factors that can affect the effectiveness of hearing protection devices beyond design, including ease of use and the frequency of training offered to service members.

“A key component is how people wear their hearing protection. The devices are only as good as people’s ability to put them on properly.”

“The demand is high for data on hearing protection,” Karch added. “It hasn’t been available before this, and it really helps providers determine if certain hearing protections are sufficient.”

MHSRS is an annual conference, taking place this year from Sept. 12 – 15 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Conference Center. This year marks the first in-person occurrence of the conference since 2019.

NSMRL, part of the Naval Medical Research & Development enterprise and based out of Groton, Conn. sustains the readiness and superiority of undersea warfighters through innovative health and performance research.
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