Over 2.7 million veterans in the United States receive disability benefits for either tinnitus or hearing loss, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates. In fact, a hearing injury is the top service related medical issue for veterans.
Gabrielle Saunders is the associate director of the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, a VA-funded research facility in Portland, Oregon. She believes that the number of veterans with hearing related issues may be far higher than 2.7 million.
“Those are veterans who have been through the process and documented by the VA,” she notes.
According to analysis carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, veterans are 30% more likely to have a severe hearing impairment compared to non-veterans. Veterans who served after September 2001 are 4 times more likely to experience a severe hearing impairment. Unfortunately these figures are estimated to continue rising.
Exposure to dangerous noise is one of the main causes of hearing problems in veterans. Military personnel are often regularly exposed to dangerous noise levels, such as:
These sounds can all exceed 120dB, sometimes reaching upwards of 180dB. Noise of this level can cause immediate damage to your hearing.
Take for example the story of Ronald Brumfield. Ronald, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, ruptured his eardrum during his service. A doctor had recommended hearing aid devices to him. Despite this, he waited more than 20 years to get hearing aid devices through the VA.
“I was in denial. My father was a veteran and he wore these big hearing aids, and I didn’t want those. But it eventually got to the point where every time someone said something, I was saying, ‘What?’” Ronald says.
Now on his third set of hearing aid devices, Ronald says “they really are amazing.”
“They’re really small, so often people don’t even notice them. They hook into my TV so I can listen wirelessly. And they also work with my iPhone, so if I use Google Maps when I’m driving, I can hear the directions in my ear,” he notes.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers two primary services to help veterans with hearing problems:
The VA medical clinics can provide a full range of hearing services. These may include:
You may be eligible to get VA health care as a veteran. Your eligibility will be determined based on your military service. More information is available on the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs VA Health Care website.
If you are eligible to receive VA Health Benefits, you may be eligible to receive hearing aid devices from the VA. If you would like to begin the process, apply for enrollment online by clicking here. Alternatively, call 1-877-222-VETS or visit your local VA healthcare facility or regional office.
Understanding your hearing loss is the first step towards treatment options. If you would like to book in a complimentary hearing assessment, the hearing healthcare team at Come Hear Greenville are ready to help. Call us on (864) 546-5708 or click here to request an appointment now.
We understand that hearing aids can be costly. For a limited time, CareCredit® is offering HearingLife customers two years to pay for your hearing aids. You can get a $100 statement credit when you open a new CareCredit credit card account, spend $1000+ with your new card and register your purchase.