When people think about the injuries military veterans deal with post service, they think of injuries such as brain trauma, traumatic brain injury, PTSD or missing limbs. However, an otolaryngologist also mentioned that many veterans suffer from hearing loss because of the nature of their previous job, hearing loss is also considered a severe injury due to combat. There are several facts about hearing impairment among military veterans that may surprise you.
Hearing Loss Is Considered The Number One Combat Injury Among Soldiers
Even though it is not often reported in the news and media, hearing loss outweighs PTSD in terms of the number one service related disability among soldiers. IEDs can cause hearing loss, as well as typical military noise. Short and long term hearing loss is generally caused by bombs, weapons and military equipment (tanks, planes, warships).
Hearing loss has been shown to be especially severe among veterans of 9/11. In fact, the number of soldiers who suffered from tinnitus and hearing loss after the World Trade Center attacks increased to over 400,000.
Veterans Suffer With Hearing Loss At A Higher Rate Than Non-Veterans
Post combat soldiers experience hearing loss at a rate of about 30% more than non-veterans who are the same age as they are. Those who served after the September 11th attacks are four times as likely to suffer with some type of hearing loss when compared to nonveterans.
Veterans Are Dealing With Hearing Loss At A Higher Rate Than They Did In The Past
With the development and introduction of more powerful combat technology and equipment, A doctor at the Riverside Medical group said soldiers are now exposed to more noises that can damage their hearing. Loud transportation vehicles, field generators and bunker bombs are just some of the recent equipment and technology that has made the combat zone even more dangerous for a soldier’s hearing than in decades past.
There Is A Small Number Of Veterans Who Seek Medical Attention For Their Hearing Loss After Returning Home
Experts have concluded that there are only a small number of soldiers who seek medical treatment for their hearing loss after returning home from combat. Many of them decide to simply learn to live with the issue. In fact, the majority people wait almost 7 years to seek treatment for their hearing loss after they initially noticed it.
Veterans are experiencing hearing loss at an increasing rate. There are those who seek treatment and those who do not. By being aware of this common combat injury, appropriate treatment plans can be implemented to reduce the amount and severity of hearing loss.