Washington, DC — According to an article published in the Marine Times, all active duty Marines will now be required to have annual hearing tests. The mandate includes noncombat troops who may also be exposed to loud noises.

The article cites the Marine administrative message (MARADMIN) of January 12, 2012, which states that Marines who have not had a hearing test in the past year must get one before May 5, 2012. The message further states that the goal of the new policy is “100% hearing readiness.”

Additionally, active-duty units are required to have a “hearing-readiness training standdown” within 4 months of the MARADMIN message date; reserve units will have 6 months.

A “standdown” is the military’s term for a temporary stop of offensive military action. Therefore,  all members will be required to take time off from their normal active duties in order to participate in a course on hearing conservation.

Marines who work in noisy environments such as aviation, artillery, infantry, and armor have always been required to have hearing screening tests, but even service members working in non combat environments, such as kitchens, are subject to high levels of noise from industrial-sized blenders, dish washing machines, and other industrial food preparation machines.

The MARADMIN also requires units to conduct baseline inventories of noise levels and mitigation measures, including proper fittings of ear protection for Marines.

SOURCE: The Marine Times and United States Marine Corps