Tinnitus and hearing loss are the most common military service-related disabilities in the United States. In fact, 1.9 million American veterans have a service-related hearing disability. The military is aware of the problem, and taking steps not only to aid those with hearing-related disabilities, but also to prevent future hearing loss.
In 2012, the Department of Defense opened its Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE), which works for hearing loss prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, as well as hearing research. The HCE provides education, resources, and information about the pervasiveness of hearing loss among veterans. Here’s a great infographic the organization produced.
Americans, and our military leaders, are “hearing” about this issue more and more. Marine Major General Bob Hedelund spoke at the American Cochlear Implant Alliance’s CI 2013 Symposium in October, calling attention to the servicemen and women who have been affected by hearing loss or tinnitus. Read about Hedelund’s remarks on Bloomberg.
Although hearing loss and tinnitus are complicated issues, often accompanying veterans’ other, more visible injuries, the issues can be addressed. Raising awareness is a critical first step.