Advancing National Service

Hope for Vets with Hearing Loss

November 20, 2013
Hope for Vets with Hearing Loss
soldier silhouette portrait
Flickr, Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office
It's one of the most common disabilities confronting returning soldiers

When most people think about the health challenges facing post-9-11 veterans, PTSD or missing limbs are usually some of the first problems that spring to mind. But actually the most common problems for recent veterans are tinnitus and hearing loss, which rank as the top two disabilities reported to the Veterans Benefit Administration. These ailments result from sudden loud noises like roadside bombs as well as exposure to sustained noise generated by aircraft and engines. In 2012 the Department of Defense established the Hearing Center of Excellence, which is lobbying congress to approve funds for more research on preventing and healing hearing loss, including medicine that could help prevent hair-cell damage in soldiers’ ears, and various treatments for tinnitus. With this renewed effort, everyone involved hopes to make similar strides with healing hearing loss as those that have been made with advances in prosthetic limbs.