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Ear/Auditory Disabilities.

Auditory Injuries in Veterans

Over 1.5 billion people in the world have hearing loss; 430 million of those suffering from disabling hearing loss. Recent statistics put veterans at 30% more likely than non-veterans to suffer from severe hearing impairment and issues.

Of the top 10 most common veteran disabilities, auditory injuries/issues are boss, taking spots 1 and 2.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, exposure to sounds at 85 decibels or higher can contribute to hearing loss and auditory ailments. 85 decibels might seem like a lot, but if you look over the graph below, you can see that almost all people are exposed to sounds that are above 85 decibels multiple times each day. Service members are exposed to noises about 85 decibels almost constantly.

earMost Common Veteran Disabilities

#1 is Tinnitus. Tinnitus is the term for when you feel ringing or noise inside the ears. It is often also a symptom of another injury/issue, such as:

  • Hearing loss (most common)
  • Neck or head injury/trauma
  • Middle ear disease
  • Neurological disorder
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • High blood pressure
  • Autoimmune disorders, including those exacerbated by stress or mental health conditions

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90% of those suffering from tinnitus actually have some level of noise-induced hearing loss. The most effective way of treating tinnitus is to treat the hearing loss with hearing aids. Read more about tinnitus here.

Bilateral Hearing Loss

This is the second most common veteran disability. Bilateral hearing loss can mean sounds are muffled and hard to hear clearly, there is trouble hearing consonants, difficulty understanding words, asking others to speak up or speak more clearly, etc. This can lead those suffering from it to become extremely frustrated with others and/or themselves, or embarrassed and avoiding conversational situations.

**Auditory/Hearing loss is not just related to combat; as working around loud machinery, engines, etc. is just as likely to be a factor.



Disability Rating for Hearing Loss/Tinnitus

Once service-connection has been established, the VA assigns disability rating based on severity. The rating is based primarily on these two factors and tests: 

  1. Speech discrimination- how well the person understands what someone else is saying
  2. Tone threshold- establishing the softest sound that the individual is able to hear 50% of the time

Hearing loss and auditory issues are no small thing. Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss is linked to other conditions which can be life-altering and serious, such as depression and anxiety, increased risk for falls, decline in work performance, social withdrawal and isolation, and more.  

To read more on veteran hearing loss, visit the pages below:

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Take Your Next Step

Are you receiving the maximum ratings and benefits you have earned through your time in service? Use the button below for a free consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate team members. We will let you know if we are able to help you, and give you additional resources if not. 

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Working with Us

Atlas Benefit Consulting (ABC) is passionate about veterans getting what they have earned. When you choose to work with ABC, we will handle your file with expert attention and care. We know it’s hard to trust someone you don’t know; we’ve been there! It’s not worth sitting in silence or inactivity when it’s your benefits and compensation on the line. We believe in veterans being fully informed of their rights and able to make the best decision for themselves with that knowledge. You can check out some of our client testimonials on Google or Facebook- just click the buttons below!

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