Hearing loss is a common life-changing health issue that can develop as a result of military service and is commonly overlooked when identifying the impact of war on veterans.
As many as 300,000 ex-servicemen and women in the UK have hearing loss and the British Legion estimates that veterans under the age of 75 are three and a half times more likely to experience hearing loss than the general population.
For veterans, auditory processing disorder (APD) is the main hearing problem that they battle with. By being repeatedly exposed to loud noise from small arms fire, artillery engines and explosions, the brain’s processing of sound is affected.
APD sufferers experience hearing loss or tinnitus as a result of neurological impairment rather than physical damage to the ears. Tinnitus is the result of the brain over compensating when there is hearing loss resulting in a ‘background noise’ that can manifest itself as swooshing, buzzing or ringing in the ear.
Tinnitus affects around six million people in the UK and can either be an annoying condition that is lived with or can seriously affect sleeping and concentrating. Correcting the route of the hearing loss problem with hearing aids is a very helpful way of managing tinnitus.
Sam Rossiter, director at Imperial Hearing said, “This is an issue that isn’t spoken about very often but hearing loss among military personnel is serious and can lead to a premature end of a military career. There is support out there for veterans though. We advise that you get your hearing checked regularly at a trusted audiologists to ensure you are hearing the best sound possible.”
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