Missing appendages, post-traumatic stress, and brain trauma: These are what many people think of when they think about post-combat injuries. What many often don’t consider is hearing loss as a severe combat injury. Check out these 5 surprising facts about hearing loss among veterans to learn more.
Hearing loss is the most prevalent injury among post-combat veterans. – Hearing loss is even more common than PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). IEDs (improvised explosive devices) can cause hearing damage just as much as commonplace military noise can. The deafening sounds of tank, plane, and ship engines contributes to temporary to permanent hearing loss and tinnitus, as do explosive devices and other loud weapons. Veterans of the post-9/11 conflicts are the most affected population in terms of hearing loss. Indeed, the numbers of soldiers who suffered hearing loss or tinnitus after the attacks on the World Trade Center swelled to 414,000.
More veterans have hearing loss than non-veterans. – According to the Center for Disease Control, post-combat soldiers are 30 percent more likely to have severe hearing impairment than nonveterans. Worse yet, those who served after 9/11 were found to be four times more likely to be afflicted with some sort of hearing impairment than nonveterans.
It may be that recent combat soldiers are likelier to lose their hearing than veterans of past conflicts. – With the advent of improvised explosive devices and more powerful combat technology, more veterans are coming home with hearing loss than their predecessors. Intensely loud field generators, bombs such as “bunker busters,” and even modern helicopters can cause hearing impairment if soldiers don’t take precautions.
Many veterans suffering from hearing impairment don’t seek medical help right away. – According to experts, many soldiers with hearing loss or tinnitus choose to live with the problem, rather than getting help. Astoundingly, it takes an average of 7 years for a person to get help for hearing damage.
Neuroscience innovations may be a way to alleviate severe tinnitus. – 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. Fortunately, with the help of tinnitus therapies and antidepressants, some veterans have found relief from severe tinnitus.