Military Hearing Requirements and Disqualifications - Operation Military Kids (2023)

The military enforces hearing requirements as part of enlistment qualifications.

Proper hearing is essential for taking orders and perceiving situations on the battlefield.

Before applying, make sure you are aware of military hearing requirements and disqualifications.

In this article, we'll discuss conditions like tinnitus, Meniere's syndrome, mastoiditis, ear infections, and what to expect from a MEPS hearing test.

Read on to learn more.

Related article20 health problems you can disqualify from the military

Military Audience Requirements

Military Hearing Requirements and Disqualifications - Operation Military Kids (1)

Hearing loss is a frustrating problem for people of all ages because it affects one of the five traditional senses.

The science of hearing determines the quality of your hearing through behavioral tests such asABRorEOA.

The tests measure hearing thresholds by examining the detection of different frequencies.

Although hearing tests are not 100% accurate, they can usually detect some type of hearing loss.

It is important to remember that not all types of hearing loss indicate that someone is deaf.

In fact, many people live with mild to moderate hearing loss.

This can affect your quality of life, but it doesn't force you to use hearing aids or sign language.

Hearing loss is attributed to many factors, including heredity, congenital disorders, presbycusis, and problems acquired by prolonged exposure to loud noises or chemicals.

Infections can also contribute to hearing loss.

The US military requires a credible hearing because of the unusual threats and dangers associated with the military.

List of audition bans

The military requires that new recruits undergo medical screening at a Military Entry Processing Station, commonly referred to as MEPS.

Service members are also subject to periodic health assessments (PHA) while on active duty.

The military will test a variety of conditions, including your dental and hearing health, during a medical exam.

Any hearing problem that prevents proper hearing or prevents an individual from wearing protective head gear (helmet, visor, etc.) may be disqualified.

Here are some of the key rules for military audience requirements and disqualifications:

Physical exam

The military starts with a physical ear exam before evaluating your ear.To hear.

For safety reasons, it is imperative that you wear a military helmet without interfering with the proper fit and use of the equipment.

Therefore, any malformation of the ear is reason for disqualification.

The military looks for birth defects such as atresia, or the abnormal narrowing of an opening or passage in the body.

The US military also considers microtia (a deformity of the outer ear) and chronic otitis externa as grounds for disqualification.

hearing test

The military tests your hearing to make sure you can hear sounds without wearing a device like a hearing aid.

However, military hearing standards are not very selective, which means that you can pass the physical with some hearing loss.

All you need is a normal level of hearing, proving that you don't need to read lips, wear a hearing aid, or speak through sign language.

Current military standards for all branches state the following:

A hearing threshold level in each ear greater than a pure tone at 500, 1000 and 2000 cycles per second for each ear not greater than 30 decibels, with no individual levels greater than 35 dB at these frequencies.

Any listening test that does not meet these guidelines is disqualified.

You should also be aware that a current hearing limit in either ear is disqualifying if:

  • Greater than a pure tone level of not more than 45 dB at 3000 cycles per second.
  • Greater than a pure tone level of not more than 55 dB at 4000 cycles per second.

You may also not have a history of using a hearing aid for proper hearing.

eardrum concerns

The eardrum, or eardrum, is a sensitive part of your hearing that you need to protect.

If punctured or punctured, the military will disqualify you from duty.

However, after 120 days of surgical resolution of the problem, you may receive authorization from a military doctor.

Eardrum damage is usually associated with loud noises or extreme pressure.

For example, it is not uncommon for a diving accident to result in the temporary disqualification of a soldier who is recovering from an eardrum injury and receiving treatment for the condition.

ear infection

Acute otitis media (AOM) is a painful infection of the ear behind the eardrum.

It is grounds for disqualification in the armed forces.

A type of benign skin growth called a cholesteatoma also disqualifies you from service if it is abnormal and requires surgery or cochlear implants.

However, the military can grant an exemption for successfully treating an ear problem or repairing an eardrum.


Mastoiditis is a bacterial infection that alters the mastoid bone.

The mastoid bone is behind the ear.

It is extremely delicate and, although rare, difficult for patients to handle due to the frequent treatment and drainage required to treat the problem.

If you have mastoiditis with an abnormal or surgically created passage (fistula), you are not allowed to report to the US Armed Forces.

Meniere syndrome

Unfortunately, any diagnosis of Ménière's Syndrome is disqualifying for military service.

A history of the syndrome is also a reason for declining employment.

The cause of the condition remains unknown, but as it affects the inner hearing and contributes to deafness, it is a disqualifying hearing problem.

Related articleCan you join the military with a GED?

MEPS hearing test explained

Military Hearing Requirements and Disqualifications - Operation Military Kids (2)

Military Entry Processing Stations (MEPS)Screen new recruits for health issues that may prevent the person from remaining in service.

Every new recruit goes through MEPS to ensure they continue to qualify for the military along with other military requirements.

MEPS looks not only at your physical qualifications (such as hearing and teeth), but also at aptitudes and moral standards.

Your local recruiter will conduct some MEPS pre-screenings prior to your arrival at an official outpost.

After making an appointment at a military admissions processing station, get ready for a long day of exams.

The military will study your body and mind from head to toe.

One of their requirements is a mandatory vision and hearing test, although this is nothing out of the ordinary.

The MEPS Hearing Test offers an earpiece and a button.

You press the button every time you hear a noise, regardless of how loud the noise is.

The military can measure the results to determine if you lost sounds at audio levels that would disqualify you from duty.

Hearing Test Qualifications

The test measures your hearing level at 500, 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 cycles per second at different decibel levels.

Tones are not presented in any logical or clear pattern to prevent you from cheating on the test.

Once a variety of tones are recognized in the test, the government averages the decibel levels to present you with a hearing test score:

  • normal hearing= 0-20dB
  • mild hearing loss= 20-40dB
  • moderate hearing loss= 40-60dB
  • severe hearing loss= 60-80dB
  • severe hearing loss= Greater than 80dB

The military accepts anyone who falls within or below a moderate hearing loss with a 60 dB threshold.

However, moderate hearing loss can exclude you from certainMilitary Occupational Specialties.

Unfortunately, you cannot practice the MEPS hearing test beforehand, but it is important not to stress yourself before the exam.

It's a simple and straightforward test, and as long as you don't have a severe hearing impairment, are dependent on hearing aids, or are battling an ear infection or abnormality, you're fine.

The military recommends that you avoid listening to loud music for up to three days before the MEPS and try to maintain near-total silence for the 12 hours before the test.

It's pretty much the only prep work you can do for the MEPS portion of the hearing test.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Military Hearing Requirements and Disqualifications - Operation Military Kids (3)

Here are some frequently asked questions about military hearing requirements and disqualifications:

Can you join the military if you have hearing problems?

This depends on your listening ability.

The military will accept anyone who passes the listening test at a "moderate level".

The current average level is 40-60 dB when all hearing values ​​are calculated together.

Those who have severe hearing loss (60-80 dB) and profound hearing loss (greater than 80 dB) will fail the exam.

In general, people with severe or profound hearing loss rely on hearing aids, lip reading, and sign language to understand speech.

Otherwise, your "hard of hearing" could mean that you have a mild hearing impairment, but not enough to warrant military disqualification.

Can you join the military if you are deaf in one or both ears?

The answer is probably not, although some circumstances can be made.

The Department of Defense is testing you in both ears. So if you get a high enough score on the "good" ear, you might have a satisfying score.

However, the military may require you to obtain an exemption for the condition.

Generally, the military does not recruit deaf people who need help with issues like hearing aids or sign language.

If you receive an exemption, there is a limit to the number of military specialties you qualify for.

Can you wear a hearing aid in the military?

No, the military does not grant waivers to service members who need assistance with hearing.

An example of this is hearing aids, as they can prevent you from receiving the correct commands or misinterpret information in the heat of the moment.

Related articleMilitary dental requirements and disqualifications

What happens if I suffer a hearing loss while on duty?

The military requires service members to participate in periodic health assessments (PHA).

Assessments are comparable to MEPS, but not as demanding or time-consuming.

One problem with the military is that soldiers are in close proximity to extremely noisy weapons and machinery.

Those involved with airplanes can attest to the severity of the hearing loss that can occur when dealing with this sort of thing over the long term.

So expect the military to look into your hearing, although as long as the problem is fixable you can hope for the best and apply for an exemption.

Are there different listening tests for specific military jobs?

Yes, there are certain military positions that require better listening than basic military guidelines.

Consequently, it is possible to qualify for certain MOS and disqualify for others based on your hearing test result.

Each branch of the military treats hearing and other physical disabilities a little differently.

You can get an exemption, but there is no guarantee.

Highly selective and competitive military specialties such as pilots, aircraft and special forces can make it a little difficult to get started, although it is not such a big problem compared to your eyesight.

For example, pilots need excellent vision without color blindness.

Can you join the army with buzz?

The military considers hum disqualifying.

Those who suffer from tinnitus have a condition that the military does not consider to be entirely healthy or fit for duty.

There are other chronic ear diseases that, unfortunately, are disqualifying.


Military hearing requirements and disqualifications are part of the new recruit screening process.

Fortunately, the military's hearing requirements aren't too strict, unless you're dependent on hearing aids (hearing aids, sign language, etc.) or have a severe hearing problem.

Additionally, the military will disqualify any recruit who is unable to wear a headgear due to an ear deformity or medical condition.

Talking with a local military recruiter about potential issues can help determine if your condition qualifies for a health exemption.

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rob v.

Rob V. is the founder of Although he has never served in the US military, he has a passion for writing about military matters.

Born and raised in Woodbridge, NJ, he graduated from the New Jersey Institute of Technology with an MBA in E-Commerce. His hobbies include beach volleyball, target shooting and weightlifting.

Rob is also a Commercially Rated Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) with over 1,500 flight hours.

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Military Hearing Requirements and Disqualifications - Operation Military Kids (6)

Military Audience Requirements

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Learn about hearing requirements for the military, including hearing impairments and potentially disqualifying conditions.

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