This is The Number One Thing That Veterans Are Afflicted With

HEARING TIPS

“Veteran

The men and women who serve our country in uniform too often endure debilitating physical, mental, and emotional challenges after their service has ended. While healthcare for veterans is a continuing discussion, relatively little attention has been paid to the most prevalent disabilities diagnosed in veterans: Tinnitus and hearing loss.

Veterans are 30% more likely than non-veterans to deal with significant hearing impairment, even when age and occupation are factored in. Even though service-related hearing loss has been documented going back to World War 2, the numbers are even more dramatic for military personnel who served more recently. Recent veterans, who are also, typically, among the youngest former service members, are four times more likely than non-veterans to deal with severe hearing impairment.

Why is The Risk of Hearing Impairment Greater For Veterans?

The answer is simple: Noise exposure. Some occupations are clearly louder than others. As an example, a librarian will be working in a rather quiet environment. The sound level that they would usually be exposed to would be from 30dB (a whisper) to 60 dB (normal conversation).

For civilians who are at the other end of the sonic scale, such as a city construction worker, the hazard rises. Background noises you would sporadically hear, such as the siren of an emergency vehicle (120dB), or continuously, like heavy city traffic, are hazardous to your hearing. Sounds louder than 85dB (from power tools to heavy machinery) are prevalent on construction sites according to research.

As noisy as a heavy construction site is, active military personnel are constantly exposed to much louder sounds. This is definitely true in combat areas, where troops hear sounds like gunfire (150 dB), hand grenades (158 dBA), and artillery (180 dB). And it isn’t quiet at military bases either. Indoor engine rooms are really loud and the deck of an aircraft carrier can be as loud as 130 – 160 dB. For aviators, noise levels are high also, with helicopters being well above 100 dB and jets and other planes also being well above 100 dB. Another worry: Certain jet fuels, according to one study, disrupt the auditory process triggering hearing impairment.

And as a 2015 study of hearing loss among military personnel aptly points out, for the men and women who serve our country, it’s not a choice, it’s a duty. In order to complete a mission or carry out day to day activities, they have to cope with noise exposure. And although hearing protection is standard issue, many of the sounds just discussed are so loud that even the best-performing hearing protection is not enough.

What Can Veterans do to Deal With Hearing Loss?

Noise induced hearing loss can be eased with hearing aids even though it can’t be cured. The most common type of hearing loss amongst veterans is a diminished ability to hear high-pitch sounds, but this kind of hearing loss can be corrected with specialized hearing aids. Tinnitus is frequently a symptom of another health issue and though it can’t be cured, there are also treatment options for it.

Veterans have already made countless sacrifices in serving our country. They shouldn’t have to sacrifice their hearing too.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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