According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, tinnitus is the number one service-related injury among veterans, followed closely by hearing loss. And the problem isn’t going away. In fact, the Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE) recently stated that cases of hearing loss, tinnitus and auditory injury in the military continue to rise by as much as 13 to 18 percent annually.
So what is tinnitus? The word tinnitus comes from the Latin verb “to jingle” and is a sensation of noise originating inside the head and is typically only heard by the person affected.
Tinnitus can be as individual as you are. It can be:
- A buzzing or ringing in the ears
- A hissing or roaring sound
- High-, low-, single- or multi-toned
- Occasional or constant
The leading cause of tinnitus is overexposure to loud noises, however it can also be caused by accidents, ear infections, aging or stress. For veterans specifically, the repetitive sound of a machine gun or other loud noises of war can make them more susceptible to tinnitus.
It can be a devastating condition. For many veterans, tinnitus brings an often unwelcome reminder of war. When it is associated with a negative emotional response, it can make your brain pay more attention to the tinnitus. A cycle begins that affects your nervous system. Anxiety, sleep disturbance, depression and poor concentration can occur, all of which reinforce the vicious cycle.
Remember, if you’re a veteran suffering from tinnitus, you’re not alone. In fact, 45 million people in the United States are affected with tinnitus. But you don’t have to just live with it. Veteran’s hospitals across the country treat tinnitus and hearing loss. ReSound offers a selection of hearing aids through veteran’s hospitals including our newest technology, ReSound LiNX TSTM which offers natural sound, slim design and durable, water-resistant technology.
If you’re a veteran or know a veteran who is struggling with tinnitus or hearing loss, visit www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp to find a veteran’s hospital near you and schedule a hearing test. You can also visit www.resound.com/Veterans to learn more about tinnitus and its treatment.