While much dangerous wartime noise is obvious ̶ blasts, sound pressure associated with hand guns, rifles, artillery, rockets and jet engines ̶ industrial “steady state” noise, combat training, military vehicles and communications systems all had the potential to wreak havoc on veterans’ hearing over time. Click here for an article on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in the military.
“When speaking to veterans about their history of noise exposure, some relate specific events in their service, while others simply say that they believe the ongoing high levels of noise associated with their assigned duties contributed to their hearing loss,”says Connect Hearing Professional Leslie Pratt.
At The Royal Canadian Legion national convention this past July, veterans told us recruits weren’t keen to report any hearing damage for fear of losing the role they’d been trained to do. So silence about hearing loss became ingrained.
When we talk to veterans about hearing we encourage them to come in for a test first. That way we can set a baseline and identify any loss that’s already present and find solutions to ensure they’re communicating as best they can. Our veterans have already given so much and most didn’t expect their hearing to be part of their sacrifice.
We’re hoping that greater awareness also helps recent veterans too. The US Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence estimates that 60% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have hearing loss or tinnitus.
Photo credit: Carins, 08 Jan, 2010