When many people think of post-combat injuries among veterans, they think of missing limbs, post-traumatic stress, and brain trauma. Hearing loss, though, may not often come to mind. Check out these 5 surprising facts about hearing loss among veterans to learn more.
The most common post-service malady happens to be hearing damage or loss. – Hearing loss is even more common than PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Loud explosions from bombs aren’t the only threat to hearing – general combat and everyday military noise can cause harm as well. Improvised explosive devices, loud weapons, and other sounds such as the engines of ships, planes, and tanks can cause tinnitus and temporary to permanent loss of hearing. Hearing loss is especially common among post 9/11 veterans. Indeed, the numbers of soldiers who suffered hearing loss or tinnitus after the attacks on the World Trade Center swelled to 414,000.
Soldiers are more likely to suffer hearing damage than civilians. – According to the Center for Disease Control, post-combat soldiers are 30 percent more likely to have severe hearing impairment than nonveterans. Even more concerning is that among those who served from September 2001 to March 2010, veterans were four times more like to suffer hearing loss than nonveterans.
Hearing loss may be more prevalent now than it was for soldiers in the past. – Larger and louder weapons technology very likely contributes to higher numbers of veterans with hearing loss. 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.
Breakthroughs in neuroscience may help those who suffer severe tinnitus. – Some scientists assert that low serotonin levels may be linked to how severe a person’s tinnitus can be. Low serotonin can cause insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Tinnitus therapies combined with antidepressants have aided some veterans who are chronic sufferers of tinnitus.