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thequestion123's avatar

What military force am I allowed to join with hearing aids.

Asked by thequestion123 (230 points ) June 14th, 2013

I am 80% deaf. I have hearing aids but I hear perfectly. There are waterproof hearing aids now that work just as well for me. I want to join an american military force but in active duty!! Is this possible.
P.s. I am thinking about Rangers.

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10 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

For the moment, none as far as I can tell. Here is an excerpt from the US Dept. of Defense Instruction 6130.03

Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 6130.03”“Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Armed Forces” provides specific medical standards to ensure those who enlist are medically qualified to perform their military duties.

That policy states a current hearing threshold level in either ear greater than: (1) pure tone at 500, 1000, and 2000 cycles per second for each ear of not more than 30 decibels (dB) on the average with no individual level greater than 35 dB at those frequencies; and (2) pure tone level not more than 45 dB at 3000 cycles per second or 55 dB at 4000 cycles per second for each ear, does not meet the medical standard for accession.

Q2. Is it possible for deaf people to serve the military in support jobs or non-combat jobs?

Answer: All military members must be available for worldwide duty 24 hours a day without restriction or delay, and must be “medically adaptable to the military environment without the necessity of geographical area limitations.”

This duty may be in remote areas lacking immediate and comprehensive medical support. In other words, there are no exclusively support or non-combat jobs at the entry level that are non-deployable.

In all areas of military life, but especially in combat, an individual’s life and the lives of his or her comrades may depend on what individuals can hear.

Situations could occur where hearing impairment would not only result in injury or loss of life, but could jeopardize a unit’s mission.

gailcalled's avatar

And a very similar document.

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/hearing.htm

a. Audiometers, calibrated to standards of the International Standards Organization (ISO 1964) or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI 1996), will be used to test the hearing of all applicants.

b. All audiometric tracings or audiometric readings recorded on reports of medical examination or other medical records will be clearly identified.

c. Acceptable audiometric hearing levels (both ears) are:

(1) Pure tone at 500, 1000, and 2000 cycles per second of not more than 30 decibels (dB) on the average (each ear), with no individual level greater than 35dB at these frequencies.

(2) Pure tone level not more than 45 dB at 3000 cycles per second each ear, and 55 dB at 4000 cycles per second each ear.

Derived from Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 6130.3, Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, and Induction, and DOD Instruction 6130.4, Criteria and Procedure Requirements for Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Ar

jerv's avatar

None.

Aside from the issues @gailcalled listed, there is also the matter of logistics. Equipment breaks and batteries die. You cannot rely on getting replacements for either, especially not in the Navy. When @gailcalled speaks about “remote areas lacking immediate and comprehensive medical support”, that is pretty much what a 300-foot ship in the middle of the ocean is; you may find more medical supplies in your grandmother’s bathroom than on many Navy ships.

See, not all military commands are large bases or aircraft carriers, complete with multiple surgical theaters. Most are not. Some have no medical facilities at all. Yet, you may be shipped to any of them. They will not restrict where they send you based on medical limitations; either you are fit for duty (thus eligible to ship anywhere) or you’re not.

As for Rangers, they don’t even always deploy to bases, and their requirements are higher than for general service.

thequestion123's avatar

What about not in the front lines?

gailcalled's avatar

The latest generation of hearing aids cost c. $3000 each and are delicate mechanisms. They have to be kept dry, dust-free, and require itsy bitsy tools to clean them. Batteries can be the size of O and are easily lost or misplaced.

It requires a support staff to help you with the aids even in the best of circumstances. I wear one aid and everything goes along smoothly until it doesn’t; the parts are tiny and rather tinny; the electronics are reliable until they are not; the gate works smoothly until it cracks.

Repeating myself, or rather requoting, since these are not my words,

Q2. Is it possible for deaf people to serve the military in support jobs or non-combat jobs?

Answer: All military members must be available for worldwide duty 24 hours a day without restriction or delay, and must be “medically adaptable to the military environment without the necessity of geographical area limitations.”

WestRiverrat's avatar

There are very rare cases of Congress granting exceptions to the medical rules.

With the current climate in Washington, unless you are one of the 3 or 4 people in the world that can do your job, it isn’t likely to happen. Heck they even kick out diabetics

thequestion123's avatar

Understood. How bought the police force? Swat preferably.

gailcalled's avatar

How about trying to do the research for that second question on your own? It will be a good test of your determination, ability to learn on the job and show initiative and doesn’t require good hearing.

Google “Police recruitment with hearing impairment” and see what shows up.

I would hazard a guess and say that SWAT would be out.

hearkat's avatar

@thequestion123 – Police departments will have different requirements for hearing standards. Several years ago, I evaluated someone who wanted to be a police officer and was moving across the country to a city that allowed hearing impaired officers provided that their hearing with the hearing aids on met certain standards. The city was in the Southwest USA, I believe it was in Arizona, but I am unsure of which city it was. As gailcalled suggests, to will be a good measure of your resourcefulness and tenacity (important qualities for a first responder) to research this on your own.

@gailcalled – The OP says he has waterproof hearing aids. There are a couple models out there with an Ingress Protection rating of 67, which is dustproof and waterproof up to 1 meter. If the OP has a severe hearing loss, the aids take a size 13 battery, which is about the size of a 200mg Advil; or a 675 battery, which twice the 13, if not more. If it were not a combat situation, and simply involved travel, then most issues could be avoided by having more than one set of hearing aids. However, that still does not guarantee that the wearer would never be without hearing aids, which is why the military will not accept someone with significant hearing loss.

Nullo's avatar

If you don’t qualify for cop work, there are a lot of civilian support positions that you can prep for. It’s not as glorious (or as tedious) but it’s dang important.

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