Americans understand that our freedoms have come with a price. U.S. troops often lay down their lives, paying the ultimate price to guard the liberties we hold dear, but all too often, those heroes who survive combat carry wounds and scars affecting them for the rest of their lives. The wounds inflicted in modern warfare are much different from in the past. Among the most common wounds affecting U.S. active-duty troops and veterans are tinnitus and hearing loss. We want to raise awareness of the threat they pose and encourage the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla communities’ heroes to seek help.

Battle Wounds Have Changed

The vast majority of wounds treated since the earliest known wars were penetration wounds inflicted by swords, spears, lances, and bullets. Modern warfare wounds, as reported by a 2012 Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, are a result of explosive mechanisms.

Many of these types of wounds sustained by soldiers produce external damage to limbs and flesh, but the most common wounds often go unnoticed, including damage to the tissues and structures used for processing sound.

What Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

After an incident involving an explosive mechanism, many troops are cleared for active duty once symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) subside. However, the noise-induced damage to hearing continues to produce debilitating effects over time.

Noise-induced hearing loss results from a single or several extreme noise events as well as continuous exposure to excessive noise levels above 85 dBA over a long period of time. It is necessary to understand that with each increase of 3 dBA, damaging exposure occurs with half the amount of exposure time. Some examples of the noise levels endured by troops in training and/or combat include:

  • 128 dBA from firing the guns on a battleship
  • 140 dBA at up to 100 feet away from a jet engine
  • 170 dBA to 190 dBA from an IED or missile explosion

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss Is Common Among U.S. Troops

Tinnitus, which produces sensations of ringing, buzzing, humming, or hissing in the ears, is among the indicators of noise-induced damage to your hearing. Though it can disappear within days or weeks after an extreme noise even, it often reappears and becomes a continuous, debilitating issue for both active-duty personnel and veterans.

In spite of innovations in hearing protection technology, the two most common ongoing disabilities addressed by the V.A. are tinnitus and hearing loss. More than 2 million are affected by tinnitus among America’s veterans, and close to 1.25 million have permanent hearing loss.

The Best Solution for Hearing Loss Is Advanced Hearing Aid Technology

The US. Department of Defense continues to address the issue by improving upon advanced hearing protection technology for active-duty soldiers, sailors, and air force personnel. However, for those who are no longer on active duty and continue to struggle with the ongoing damage to their hearing, advanced hearing aid technology offers the best solution for allowing them to lead an independent and rewarding lifestyle.

Sound Audiology Serves the Needs of Veterans

If left untreated, tinnitus and hearing loss reduces the quality of life American soldiers fought to maintain. The Sound Audiology team is eager to honor our active-duty soldiers and veterans by meeting their needs with the highest level of hearing care available in our area. It’s our way of serving those who have selflessly served us.

Contact us if you or a loved one has been struggling with tinnitus or hearing loss so that we can schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment. We provide Sound Hearing Cloud/Curbside Appointments, and we’re pleased to respond to your questions and concerns if you call us at (509) 572-2444.

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Lori Losey Lovato MA, FAAA, Audiologist

Lori Losey Lovato MA, FAAA, Audiologist

Lori attended Washington State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences and her master’s degree in audiology. She began practicing audiology in the Tri-Cities in 1993 and has worked with both adult and pediatric patients. She has spent her career focused on assisting those with hearing difficulties through the use of hearing aids, listening strategies, assistive devices, and counseling.