07/24/2018 - Twenty percent of Americans report some degree of hearing loss but those who serve are far more impacted by auditory disorders than the general public due to their exposure to artillery gunfire, battlefield explosives, loud machinery, aircraft noise and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Hearing loss and tinnitus, a perceived ringing in the ear that often accompanies it, are the top two service-connected disabilities afflicting service members and generations of veterans. These maladies are often overshadowed by other challenges our service men and women face.
In 2016, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported, more than 1.6 million veterans received disability compensation benefits for tinnitus, and another 1.1 million received monthly payments for hearing loss. A staggering 60 percent of the troops who returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan sustained some degree of hearing loss, causing the military to take preemptive measures to curtail hearing loss.