When considering post-combat injuries in veterans, PTSD, missing limbs, and brain damage may come to mind. However, many fail to consider another consequence of combat: hearing loss. These 5 facts about veterans and hearing loss may surprise you.
- Hearing loss is the most prevalent injury among post-combat veterans. – Hearing loss beats out PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as the number one service-connected disability. Severe hearing loss is commonly caused by bomb detonations and general military and combat noise. Tinnitus and hearing loss, both short- and long-term, are also often caused by loud engines of war such as planes, warships, and combat tanks as well as loud weapons and bombs. Veterans of the post-9/11 conflicts are the most affected population in terms of hearing loss. In fact, 414,000 post 9/11 soldiers have come home with some form of or hearing loss.
- More veterans have hearing loss than non-veterans. – Veterans are 30 percent more likely than nonveterans to suffer hearing loss of the severe kind. Additionally, post-911 soldiers were actually four times more likely to lose their hearing than civilians.
- Hearing loss may be more prevalent now than it was for soldiers in the past. – Since IEDs (improvised explosive devices) have become more commonplace and weapons become bigger and louder, more soldiers are losing their hearing. Field generators, “bunker buster” bombs, and loud transportation such as helicopters can be deafening.
- Unfortunately, many of the soldiers who come home with loss of hearing do not seek help. – Experts say that too few returning soldiers who suffer or hearing loss go to a hearing instrument specialist or hearing instrument specialist upon returning home – they often live simply live with the problem. In fact, most people will wait an average of 7 years from initially noticing hearing loss to actually seeking medical attention.
- Breakthroughs in neuroscience may help those who suffer severe . – Tinnitus cannot be cured completely at this time. However, it’s severity may be linked to maladies caused by serotonin loss, such as depression, sleeplessness, and anxiety. Some veterans with have found that anti-depressants combined with other therapies eased their chronic condition significantly.