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Author: admin, 03.12.2015. Category: Cause Of Ringing In Ears

Marine Corps reservist Mauricio Mota served in five combat zones between 1987 and 2008, the last one in Iraq, where he slept next to what he described as “deafening” field generators and rode in loud helicopters.
Toward the end of his Iraq tour, the now-retired staff sergeant said he realized his hearing had gone bad.
Hearing injuries are the most commonly documented trauma, said Forbes, a Marine veteran who has a doctorate in audiology and served during the Gulf War and Somalia conflicts. Despite being such a prevalent condition, hearing problems don’t get much attention, because “in general, very few people die because of hearing loss,” said Theresa Schulz, a retired Air Force audiologist who now works in a similar capacity for Honeywell Safety Products. Shortly after his discharge, Mota was with his family at a mall when he stopped at a hearing professional’s office to get tested.
Last year at a Marine Corps ball, he noticed that many of his buddies seemed to have trouble hearing, too. One of his Marine buddies wears hearing aids in both ears; necessary, he said, because of noise exposure over his career.
Peworski was exposed to several factors that cause hearing impairment for military personnel: loud noises from trucks and helicopters, as well as machine-gun bursts and artillery fire. In October 2008, Congress mandated a Pentagon-based office that would determine ways to prevent, diagnose, mitigate, treat, rehabilitate and research hearing loss and auditory issues for active-duty service members and veterans.
Experts say too few returning veterans, like most people, don’t seek medical attention for their hearing loss when they first notice it. Prolonged excessive noise damages hearing, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), a division of the National Institutes of Health.
Loud noises also damage the auditory nerve, another hearing component that helps translate sound waves into signals the brain understands.
Hearing also can be damaged significantly by a single impulse sound — gunfire, for example. Normal conversation is considered to be “safe” at a sound level of 60 decibels, according to the NIDCD.

On flight decks, noise levels are around 130 decibels and helicopter noise is around 100 decibels, according to military noise assessment. Another feature of blast injury and hearing impairment is that it likely will show up later, often as part of blast-induced traumatic brain injury. Brett Buchanan, an Army veteran, is a claims agent for Allsup, a Belleville, Ill.-based national disability representation company that helps veterans through their medical appeals.
If veterans wait seven years, Buchanan said, their time discharged might be longer than the time they served on active duty. Brogan uses a device called CapTel lets him hear and read a transcription of telephone conversations as he listens to them.
The VA and the Defense Department had worked together for about a decade, but the formal establishment of the HCE and its “one voice,” Dennis said, “is a welcome development.” That focused effort also could lead to much-needed advances in technology.
The most-widespread injury for veterans has been hearing loss and other auditory complications, according to interviews and benefits data. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., chairman of the Subcommittee on Health of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a telephone interview that 25 to 30 percent of VA disability claims involved hearing.
Charles Peworski’s last hearing test was in 2004 despite the fact that he knows his hearing is a problem. Out of the 10 guys in my unit, when we get together we say, ‘You know I can’t hear…talk to my good ear,” he said.
Loud noises destroy the ear’s special cells, called “hair cells.” The ear cannot grow new hair cells.
A soldier near an M60 machine gun is exposed to 150 decibels and within 50 feet of an exploding grenade, 160 decibels. Eardrums can rupture at pressure as low as 5 pounds per square inch, a fraction of what it takes to damage internal organs. After speaking at an association convention, he now is invited to speak on many speaking panels, for organizations such as the HLAA and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Vickie Tuten, associate director for the Hearing Center of Excellence, and Kyle Dennis, the VA representative to the center, work together to assure veterans’ well-being. Hearing maladies cost more than $1.4 billion in veterans disability payments annually, according to fiscal year 2010 data from the Hearing Center of Excellence, a part of the Department of Defense. The most common disability among all veterans is hearing related, according to a January 2011 Government Accountability Office report. When he and his fellow reservists gather to celebrate the Marine Corps anniversary, they joke about their hearing, or rather, the lack of it. Explosives used in Iraq and Afghanistan create pressure that exceeds 60 psi, according to VA audiology research. Brogan was severely wounded in Iraq when a suicide bomb attack blew away part of his skull. At least $216 million was spent that same year for hearing aids and related devices, according to an advisory committee report to the VA. Benishek, who is a physician, has proposed that every service member gets a full audiology examination at discharge. Beyond his surviving that 2006 blast, Brogan said he is amazed by how much his hearing-assistive devices improved his life. His bills have been sent to the Congressional Budget Office to determine their impact on federal spending.

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