Hearing Health

Veterans, Get Your Hearing Checked

Did you know that veterans are one of the most common demographics with hearing loss? Whether it’s live combat or one too many training exercises, the loud noises associated with live or practice ammo without proper hearing protection can lead to some level of hearing loss.

Veterans almost always qualify for hearing services through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which solves one of the most common issues relates to getting treatment for hearing loss: the cost. In 2014, nearly a million Veterans were receiving disability compensation for hearing loss, and over 1.2 million received compensation for tinnitus.

To get coverage, the veteran basically just needs to prove that the hearing loss was caused by the military service. This takes a 3 step process:

  1. A hearing test. The VA requires two distinct tests: a Maryland CNC test that measures speech recognition, and a puretone audiometric test  that is used to measure the level of hearing loss. This exam is arranged through the VA system and is done by a highly qualified and specially trained audiologist.
  2. Evidence of hearing loss-related event. This doesn’t have to be too formal—basically, you need to prove that you were around loud sounds during your time in the service. This shouldn’t be very hard for anyone who underwent training, let alone active service.
  3. A doctor’s opinion linking the event to the hearing loss. This is again done at the appointment that is arranged through the VA system. If you want an independent opinion to provide to the VA, this is something we can help with.

The only other challenge to getting veterans the hearing help they need is just general awareness of the issue. Like many older people, veterans may just not be aware that they’re gradually losing their hearing. Or, if hearing loss is common in their social circle (which unsurprisingly can include other veterans with hearing loss). Finally, like anyone else, veterans may dread the supposed stigma associated with wearing hearing aids. Thankfully, hearing aids are becoming more and more accepted these days as the technology is making them both more discreet and more effective.

A Word About Tinnitus

Tinnitus affects about 1 in 10 American adults today, but it’s also the number-one disability among United States Veterans. Patients suffering from tinnitus hear a high pitched ringing or buzzing sound on occasion. This can vary greatly in frequency and severity, and so, many people are able to live with it quite easily while others find it debilitating. Unfortunately, there are no known treatments for tinnitus, but certain therapies are showing promise in being able to manage its occurrence.

At Chicago Hearing Services, we’re proud to serve a large number of veterans. If you’re a veteran and are experiencing hearing loss, or if you know a veteran who you think shows the classic symptoms of hearing loss, please get in touch with us to schedule an appointment! We will do everything we can to help you hear better, and we swear, once you hear the difference, you’ll wish you had come in for a hearing test and treated your hearing loss much earlier!

About Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D.

Dr. Marie Vetter-Toalson Au.D. is the owner of Chicago Hearing Services and a Doctor of Audiology dedicated to empowering her patients and the public with greater knowledge and education around hearing health.