Coping With Hearing Loss for Veterans
With Memorial Day just days away, we are glad to pay our respects to all veterans who have valiantly fought for our country. But for many, the fight doesn’t end there. In fact, an estimated 60% of veterans have been reported to return home to battle hearing loss. For anyone, dealing with hearing loss can be a troubling time, but coping for veterans can be especially distressing, especially when you take into consideration that many suffer from some degree of PTSD.
Recent studies have suggested that loud noises aren’t the only culprit to blame for the increase in hearing loss among veterans. In fact, there has been reason to believe that exposure to other factors, like jet fuel, could contribute to hearing loss that many veterans now live with. This research supports the theory that fuel vapor could affect auditory processing, which would occur within the brain, as opposed to within the ear. As a result, they are left with ears that are largely undamaged, but their brain has trouble translating noise to understandable messages.
Beyond the exposure of jet fuel, factors like excessively loud noises from gunfire, explosions and aircrafts greatly contribute to hearing damage. Although hearing loss is permanent, there are methods that can be used in order to better cope with the effects.
With technology innovations happening every day, hearing aid technology is better than ever. Many devices make dealing with hearing loss much more bearable, especially with recent enhancements like smartphone integration and devices that are essentially invisible and require no surgery whatsoever. Hearing aids are a popular form of hearing therapy that is available through a certified hearing professional.
Cochlear implants are an alternative method of coping with hearing loss. This hearing device is implanted to bypass damaged structures within the ear canal. However, in order to do so, they must be surgically applied. Usually this method is used for people with severe hearing loss and does not replace normal hearing. In addition, if hearing aids function well for users, cochlear implants are not recommended.
Beyond these technological innovations, there are proven communication strategies that can make interactions easier for those that are hard of hearing. For example, instruct others to slow down or uncover their mouth. Additionally, using close-ended questions and anticipation reactions can be a great communication method to cope with hearing loss.