What You Need to Know about Military Tinnitus
Ear ringing tinnitus also known as noise tinnitus is most often caused by prolonged and continued exposure to a loud noise and or noises. Because of the nature of their jobs people in the military are most susceptible to this form of the ailment.
High frequency sounds are almost common place in most aspects of military life especially in basic training and combat situations. Unfortunately, the eventual result of this frequent exposure is either hearing loss or tinnitus or both.
How long these people are required to endure these high decibel noises will determine whether or not they will suffer temporary or long term damage. For example, military members are not only exposed to the racket made by firearms and explosive devices but they are also often subjected to a constant barrage of loud sounds made by machines and vehicles.
This situation can produce two regrettable results. Not only will the person eventually suffer hearing loss and or tinnitus but these conditions will also make them unfit for their present roles in the armed forces.
Unfortunately the military hasn’t tracked incidents of tinnitus and hearing problems among its members and related this information to continued noise exposure on the job. As a result there are no accurate statistics available from which to draw conclusions about the cause and effect and as a result it’s impossible to make decisions based on the available data.
It’s also very difficult to keep track of people’s lives when they aren’t on the job so it’s also impossible to determine if their hearing related problems may have resulted from noise exposure away from the job.
Disability payments made to service members for tinnitus and other hearing related problems make up about 10% of the total paid out making these conditions number three on the list of the most common disabilities suffered by veterans. (T-Gone Website) The varying levels of noise exposure will determine the amount of damage to the ears as well as whether or not the condition will be temporary of permanent.
As the intensity of the sound increases the length of time of exposure should be decreased thereby reducing the chances of permanent hearing damage. For example, injury can happen almost instantly to your hearing from the sound of a gunshot or a loud explosion while, on the other hand, it may take prolonged exposure for serious problems to result from machinery sounds.
As with most medical conditions education and early detection are two of the primary factors in reducing the instances of military tinnitus and hearing loss among service people. So veterans should have their hearing checked on a regular basis, preferably every year.