Hearing Loss in War Veterans

Hearing Loss in War Veterans

Soldiers face adverse situations during combat, many of them being physical injuries sustained during war. When we think of physical injuries, seldom do we think about hearing loss. Soldiers returning from war have reported that hearing loss is the most common ailment that they sustain.

War puts soldiers at risk for hearing loss due to the constant exposure to extremely loud noises such as bomb explosions and loud artillery. Even the sounds of loud engines such as fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, and ships can lead to permanent hearing damage or other conditions like tinnitus.

The Center for Disease Control reports that war veterans have a 30% increased likelihood of developing severe hearing loss compared to soldiers that have not faced combat. Veterans reportedly have a quadruple chance of suffering from hearing damage, compared to nonveterans.

Nowadays modern weaponry means more exposure to loud noises, which is why modern day soldiers report more hearing loss than their predecessors. Several soldiers who sustain hearing loss often do not obtain medical treatment for extended periods of time. This delay can lead to long-term hearing damage since it can take up to seven years for a soldier to seek help for their hearing impairment.

Scientists report that lower levels of serotonin might possibly be connected to a soldier’s intensity of tinnitus. Decreased serotonin levels can also lead to depression, anxiety, as well as lack of sleep. Anti-depressants have thus been prescribed in collaboration with the use of tinnitus therapies to help veterans suffering from tinnitus.