As Starkey joins Americans everywhere in giving thanks to those who have served and sacrificed for our country, we believe it is important to raise awareness of the life-changing conditions many servicepeople now live with because of their service.
Today’s fact highlights the most prevalent two: hearing loss and tinnitus (a perceived ringing or other type of noise in the ears).
To give you an idea of what this looks like from a statistical perspective:
- More than 1.3 million veterans received disability compensation for hearing loss and more than 2.3 million received compensation for tinnitus in 2020 alone, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- The prevalence of “bothersome tinnitus” in the U.S. Army is significantly higher (17 percent) than the general U.S. population (6.6 percent), revealed a recent study of U.S. Army Soldiers.
- Consequently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is the largest employer of audiologists and speech-language pathologists in the nation, retaining more than 1,370 audiologists, 410 audiology health technicians, and 450 speech pathologists.
Why are hearing issues so common among veterans?
The reason why hearing loss and tinnitus are so widespread among servicepeople may not surprise you: hazardous noise exposure. Such harmful noise levels may be generated by military vehicles, aircraft, and extreme blasts associated with combat, training, or even regular job duties.
How loud is this from a decibel (dB) standpoint? Think of it this way: Normal, “safe” noise levels we are used to are around 70 dB (85 dB and up are considered harmful and potentially leading to hearing loss).
In contrast, veterans may be or have been exposed to noise levels between approximately 120 to 150 dB. (This estimate is based on examples from an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association noise chart.)
Hearing help is available for veterans
Treatment for hearing loss and tinnitus is available for veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (often referred to as “VA”). Moreover, Starkey is honored to provide hearing aids and hearing healthcare to the clinics that support our veterans.
If you or a serviceperson you know would like more information or resources on hearing loss, tinnitus and/or how to get help, head to the Veterans section of this site. There, you can learn more about:
- Hearing loss in veterans
- Veteran benefits
- Help and support
- Frequently asked questions about hearing help for veterans
Starkey will continue to support veterans
Once again, we at Starkey express our sincere gratitude to all those who have served and continue to serve, on this Veteran’s Day. For all you have given, it is our privilege to give back through better hearing.