Frequent, deafening noise must rank as one of the great downsides of modern civilization. Unsurprisingly, construction sites, rock concerts, and other disruptive sources of sound have contributed to a significant incidence of tinnitus (often identified as a mysterious ringing in the ears) in the U.S. population. Tinnitus can become either an annoyance or a debilitating condition, depending on its circumstances. For combat veterans, it is an unfortunately common and complicating disability.
Statistics estimate that tinnitus, which strikes young and old alike, affects 10 percent to 15 percent of the U.S. population. But rates among combat veterans are much higher. A recent U.S. Army study concluded that 25 percent of all soldiers return from service in Iraq and Afghanistan with the compromised hearing that results in tinnitus.
There are multiple causes of tinnitus, including noise-induced hearing loss, obstruction of the ear canal, damage to the inner ear and even tumors. Some theories posit that the brain creates the ringing associated with tinnitus as a means of replacing the sounds the ear once heard.
Imagine the environment in which soldiers work. Sudden, loud noises and explosions are a routine occupational hazard to both hearing and life. Unfortunately, the use of hearing protection is rarely practical in combat circumstances.
Tinnitus has also been associated with psychological factors, including fear and memory. Veterans face the possible dimension of this complicating factor both on the battlefield and after the return home, especially in cases involved post-traumatic stress disorder.
When a veteran seeks disability compensation for hearing loss and/or tinnitus, it is important that the claim provide as much information as possible on the likely source of the hearing damage, the duration of exposure and any hearing protection that was employed. A medical opinion from an ear specialist will also help expedite such a claim through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC fights for veterans rights. We fight to make sure you get the benefits you deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs. To learn more or contact an attorney about your PTSD, TBI, Mental Health, Sexual Assault, Hearing Loss and Tinnitus, TDIU, Medical Malpractice, or Aid and Attendance claim, visit http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com/ or call 800.693.4800