Clinical audiology services are provided to active and former astronauts to assess their hearing, determine the need for treatment of hearing disorders, and provide recommendations for hearing improvement and hearing loss prevention. Audiometric data are collected as part of NASA's Lifetime Surveillence of Astronaut Health, which was established in 1992 as a database for monitoring the health of astronauts and for research on the effects of space flight. The audiologist also provides audiological evaluations during astronaut candidate reviews and return-to-flight evaluations. The JSC audiologist is associated with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), which is dedicated to advancing space sciences and exploration through innovative research, technology, and educational programs.

    Auditory Issues in Aerospace Medicine at NASA

    The JSC audiologist collaborates with an international, multidisciplinary group (the Acoustic Subgroup of the Multilateral Medical Operations Panel) toward resolution of noise issues aboard the International Space Station (ISS) that that have been observed, such as speech intelligibility, alarm audibility, sleep interference, and habitability. The JSC audiologist works with the Johnson Space Center’s Acoustics Working Group and Crew Surgeons to limit noise crew noise exposure through engineering controls and medical monitoring. An "On-Orbit Hearing Assessment" is done within the first 14 days of flight on the ISS, and then every 60 days thereafter, to assess the peripheral hearing sensitivity of crew members while living on the ISS. Hearing protective devices are evaluated, recommended, and fitted for use in aircraft during NASA training, as well as in space flight missions. In addition, the JSC audiologist is a member of acoustic working groups that focusing on safety and health standards and design of space vehicles for the next generation of NASA space missions.

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