Some veterans sustain obvious injuries from their service, and others come home with PTSD. What’s often overlooked, though, is that many service members sustain hearing loss and tinnitus. For decades, the military has been cognizant of this fact and promoting hearing loss conservation programs. However, more than 60 percent of veterans suffer some degree of hearing loss. The good news is that hearing loss is treatable, and through the VA, hearing aids have been made accessible to veterans.
Why is hearing loss such a problem for veterans? Sudden, loud explosions, the roar of engines, and the sound of gunfire can all cause permanent hearing damage. That’s because sensitive hairs in the ears can be damaged by loud noises. In fact, loud sounds can even degenerate the ear’s nerve cells. This prevents electrical signals from being properly transmitted, resulting in hearing loss. Very loud, sudden sounds can also rupture the eardrum.
If hearing loss goes untreated, it can have an impact on a person’s quality of life, causing depression, anxiety, and social isolation. However, some people may not even be aware that they’re suffering from hearing loss. To determine whether you or someone you love should go for a hearing test, ask yourself whether you’ve noticed any of the following signs of hearing loss:
- Asking people to repeat themselves.
- Answering someone with an inappropriate response.
- Struggling to follow group conversations.
- Feeling defensive about communication trouble.
- Watching people’s mouths when they speak.
- Turning your head to the side to hear better.
- Talking too loudly or softly or needing to have the television or music turned to high levels.
- Speech deterioration.
- Insecurity, indecision, and fatigue.
- Withdrawing from social interactions.
Hearing loss is a treatable condition, with many treatment options available. Modern hearing aids can improve hearing discreetly and unobtrusively, with minimal upkeep required. If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible to receive a hearing aid through the VA if you qualify for VA health benefits. The veterans most likely to be provided with hearing aids include those with a service-connected disability, former prisoners of war, Purple Heart recipients, permanently housebound veterans, those whose hearing impairment is severe enough to interfere with their active participation in medical treatment or daily living, and those who have a hearing impairment because of diseases or a medical condition for which they’re receiving VA care.
If you’re currently an active service member, there are steps you can take to protect your hearing. Minimize your exposure to noisy environments whenever possible, wear hearing protection, and protect your head from trauma or injury. Have your hearing checked every other year to catch changes.
At Elite Hearing Centers of America, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality service, industry leading products, and a no excuses 100% satisfaction guarantee. Founded by some of the industry’s most experienced private practice owners in the United States, we offer professional, compassionate care, providing high-quality hearing aids at affordable prices. Call us at 855-432-7354 or schedule a free hearing test and comprehensive hearing evaluation today.