secret that being a part of America’s military comes with a few perks –
education opportunities, veterans’ discounts, and retirement benefits, just to
name a few. But, it also comes with side effects, as many of our service
members are finding out. Those who see active duty often come home with
post-traumatic stress disorder, missing limbs, or other health problems, but
the most common of all is hearing loss. Fortunately, there are programs to help veterans with hearing loss, but those who need
the help the most are not always aware of what is available.
Causes of hearing loss for military members
conditions vary for service members, depending on which branch of the military
they are serving under. However, one cause of hearing loss is common to all of
the different branches – repeated exposure to loud noise.
Whether working on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier or participating in a training exercise, wearing hearing protection is an important part of preventing noise-induced hearing loss in the military. Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case, especially for our older veterans who served many years ago when there was less awareness of the problem and fewer hearing protection options available. Furthermore, service members often have to choose between protecting their hearing and being able to survive, as many forms of hearing protection would also prevent them from being able to accurately hear instructions or enemy movement.
Resources for veterans with hearing loss
military continues to improve hearing safety protocols and measures to prevent
hearing loss, there are resources available now for veterans who have already
experienced hearing damage. The most common source of help comes from the Veterans Administration (VA), which offers help in
the following areas:
- Diagnostic testing – Before a viable treatment plan can be
implemented, the extent and type of hearing loss should be determined through a
hearing test and a thorough hearing evaluation with a hearing professional such
as an audiologist.
- Counseling services – This can include many different things, but counseling related to hearing loss often involves talking to other family members and working together on aural rehabilitation, a thorough plan to help individuals positively adjust to their hearing loss. Treatment options are discussed and referrals can be made to other healthcare professionals if needed.
- Hearing aid assistance – The VA can help veterans determine which
assistive hearing devices would be most appropriate, including hearing aids. It can also help pay
for them, which helps to reduce the number of people who neglect hearing
healthcare due to the expense associated with it. This is helpful for all
veterans, but especially for those living on a fixed income.
As the awareness of service-connected disabilities grows, there will be further advances made in terms of preventing disabilities such as hearing loss. In the meantime, let’s all work together to make sure our veterans are aware of and get the help they deserve and need. It’s our way of saying thanks for their service to our country.
Source: Hear Well-Live Well Blog