Military Service and Hearing Health

The Noise Outcomes in Service members Epidemiology (NOISE) study is an ongoing longitudinal, epidemiologic study on hearing health, including hearing loss and tinnitus, in military Service members and Veterans.

The NOISE study aims to inform efforts to advance hearing health in those who have served in the military. The study was designed by a team of audiologists, epidemiologists, and statisticians in response to a Congressional call for research on lifetime effects of ototoxic exposures in Service members and Veterans.

The study is a joint effort between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. Funding sources include Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (awarded 2013), the VA Rehabilitation Research & Development Service (2021), and the Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program (awarded 2017 & 2022). 


Study Sites

Main site: VA RR&D National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR) (Portland, Oregon) 

DoD Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE) (San Antonio, Texas)

Southern California (data collection begins in 2022): Naval Medical Center San Diego, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton 



The NOISE study has been collecting data since 2014 and has enrolled over 1000 participants.

Who is eligible to enroll:

  • All current U.S. military Service members
  • All U.S. military Veterans within approximately 2.5 years of their separation from military service

Study data:

  • Extensive audiological testing at baseline and 5-year intervals
  • Annual questionnaires on military and non-military exposures (including noise, ototoxicants, and blasts), demographics, physical and mental health, self-reported hearing health, overall functioning, and other key variables
  • Administrative data from VA and DoD records

Research Findings

To date, the NOISE Study has produced 15 peer-reviewed publications.