According to the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (the VA), over 2.7 million veterans are currently receiving disability benefits for hearing loss or tinnitus, ringing of the ears.
However, despite what the data says, there may be more who are silently suffering. Stigmatization of illness causes even the most impaired veterans to stall. Admitting that your health is deteriorating can often be just as painful as the hearing loss itself.
Fortunately, hearing loss is not uncommon. Getting help could be easier than you may think.
What Are the Causes of Hearing Loss or Tinnitus?
Veterans are 30 percent more likely to have a severe hearing impairment. Due to the nature of their work – working with loud machinery or around gunfire – veterans are a group who are most at risk of hearing loss.
A combination of age-related hearing loss and work-related activities make hearing loss a common symptom of a veteran’s life.
Veterans who experience noise-induced hearing loss may also experience tinnitus. Tinnitus is a ringing of the ears, sometimes heard as hissing, buzzing, whistling, or humming. Just like other forms of hearing loss, tinnitus is caused by constant exposure to loud noises.
What Are the Signs of Hearing Loss?
Veterans may experience symptoms that, over time, indicate some strain of hearing loss. These signs include:
- Issues with hearing another person’s speech
- Needing to have words or phrases repeated
- Listening to the TV at a very high volume
- Struggling to decipher speech in a very noisy environment
- Becoming withdrawn from social interactions
- Difficulty hearing people on the telephone
If you or a loved one are experiencing some or many of these symptoms, it may be time to schedule an appointment with an audiologist at Clarity Hearing.
What Resources Are Available for Veterans?
The VA’s website makes it easier for eligible veterans to apply for health care than before. To check your eligibility, click here.
Once you have checked your eligibility, you may apply for health care services through this link.
Veterans no longer must wait for a referral from their primary care physician to an audiologist. Once you are registered for VA health care services, you can make an appointment with us for a hearing evaluation.
If you are concerned about whether you qualify for insurance coverage, please fill out this form here. Our friendly staff is eager to help.
For more information on protecting your ears, please click here.
Scott Marquardt is the owner of Clarity Hearing and a highly skilled audiologist who has been in practice for over 20 years. Dr. Marquardt earned a master’s degree in audiology from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and a doctorate from A.T. Still University. He is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. He and the team offer comprehensive hearing healthcare services and specialize in the care of tinnitus, imbalance, and auditory processing disorders.