The Columns

Virginia Tech Professor John Casali to Lecture on How to Protect Against Hearing Damage in Military and Civilian Environments

— by on September 26th, 2016

John G. Casali, the John Grado Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and director of the Auditory Systems Laboratory at Virginia Tech, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. in the Science Addition 114.

The title of his talk is “Military and Civilian Auditory Situation Awareness: The Development of DRILCOM. When Your Life Depends Upon Hearing Cues.” It is free and open to the public. There will be a light buffet after the talk at the IQ Center. If attending the buffet, RSVP to keadyj@wlu.edu.

“Casali will speak on a topic that he helped develop and that is becoming a significant focus in both military and civilian circles,” said John. P. Keady, visiting assistant professor of physics and engineering at W&L. “I have learned that many military personnel have permanent hearing damage due to ripping off hearing protectors during combat. Certain hearing protectors prohibit the soldiers from determining which direction the sniper shots came — an example of auditory situation awareness. Returning fire can also cause permanent hearing damage. Likewise in the civilian workplace where hearing protection is needed for the noisy work environment, people can’t hear warning alarms when a heavy machine is moved.

“Casali will discuss the issues, the evolution from field experiments into a repeatable lab test (DRILCOM), the human factor design issues involved, such as active pass-through sound transmission issues and the current status of development.”

From 1983, Casali was a consultant to over 60 U.S. and foreign companies and organizations on acoustics and hearing protection, ergonomics and warning signal designs. He was an expert witness or consultant on over 40 cases involving product design, industrial accidents, noise and intellectual property-patent litigation.

Selected publications include “Warfighter auditory situation awareness: Effects of augmented hearing protection/enhancement devices and TCAPS for military ground combat applications,” International Journal of Audiology (ed., 2014); “Effects of headset, flight workload, hearing ability and communications message quality on pilot performance,” Human Factors (ed., 2014); and “Auditory backup alarms: Distance-at-first detection via in-situ experimentation on alarm design and hearing protection effects,” Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation (ed., 2012).

Casali’s lecture is sponsored by University Lectures and the department of physics and engineering.