The Effects of Hearing Loss on Veterans

The Effects of Hearing Loss on Veterans

Veterans have seen so much carnage in their lifetime, especially the ones that have served in combat. The negative physical and psychological effects of being a soldier who has seen combat are many, ranging from post traumatic stress disorder, and even hearing loss.

The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported that hearing loss is the most prevalent medical condition faced by soldiers returning from combat. Over 933,000 veterans have faced hearing damage which they were provided compensation for, and over 1.3 million veterans currently have tinnitus and are recipients of disability benefits as a result.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is yet another problem faced by veterans who were subjected to bomb blasts. This condition affects the brain’s capacity to comprehend speech and language. Auditory information is disrupted and the person may have trouble communicating. By far, the greatest loss faced by these veterans is the loss of their ability to talk to their loved ones.

Veterans face various sources of unsafe levels of noise. These include artillery, armored vehicles, fighter jets and helicopters, navy vessels with loud engine rooms, and high level blasts from grenades and other bombs. Even a single exposure to any of these extremely unsafe loud noises (over 140dB) can cause permanent and instantaneous hearing damage.

Not all hearing loss may be instantaneous, which is why veterans may not notice the change in their hearing until years later. They may not even get any compensation because of this, since sensorineural hearing damage often takes years to manifest, which can happen long after they have left their services.

A recent study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma found that being exposed to bomb blasts can lead to traumatic brain injury. This condition can lead to hearing loss that makes it difficult for the brain to eliminate background noise and pay attention to important sounds.

Thankfully, unlike in many other cases, veterans can actually quality for hearing aids directly through their Veterans Affairs Health Benefits. Our soldiers have given our nation so much, so the least we can do is give them back their hearing through the use of hearing aids. If you are a veteran, talk to your VA office to see how you can get hearing aids to treat your hearing loss.

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