Figures On Hearing Difficulties In Vets

It has been found that hearing loss is actually one of the main problems that veterans now experience. A recent study found that some 1.2 million veteran health claims have been made that related to hearing loss, and that these claims cost a total of $1.1 billion. The frightening thing about this is that most of this hearing loss is caused by exposure to noise, which we know to be 100% preventable. Unfortunately, there is a real lack of training and awareness about hearing protective devices. As a result, too many soldiers still experience problems. It is also for this reason that soldiers deserve the proper care and attention when they do need a hearing aid.

It is a shame that we are not able to determine the exact number of soldiers that now suffer from hearing loss. However, we do know that some 70,000 of the 1.3 million soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq receive payments for tinnitus or hearing loss. This is worrying, even if the figures are getting better. What adds to the worry is that we have known that soldiers suffer from hearing loss due to their job since WWII. Veterans of both WWII and Vietnam have often had to wear hearing aids, because they were exposed to constant artillery fire and helicopter noises. They were not provided with any hearing protection, and it seems our soldiers still aren’t protected now.

Now, the Veterans Association is there for those soldiers who have experienced hearing loss, providing them with treatment and compensation. However, many soldiers do not request this help, thinking the problem will simply go away, or because they are not aware the help is there. Those who do not know the help is there may turn to private audiologists instead, and it is vital that they are signposted to the right services through these professionals. Our veterans have earned the right to our care and respect, and we must give this to them. Very often, a private hearing professional does not have sufficient awareness of the mental issues that a veteran will be dealing with as well. Very often, veterans not only have to deal with the emotional turmoil of losing their hearing, but they also suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, sound can be a particular trigger for PTSD panic attacks, something that a private audiologist is unlikely to be able to deal with. This is why it is so important that veterans are referred back to the Veterans Association, where they can get the help they need and deserve.