A 2017 study reported that “Veterans who had been exposed to blasts were more likely to have hearing loss and/or tinnitus” and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Tinnitus is the number-one disability among Veterans and affects nearly 15% of American adults.”
Our veterans are always in need of adequate hearing protection, which is why the ongoing lawsuits against 3M are so important. We need to make sure this never happens again.
How Important Is Hearing Protection In Noisy Environments?
Noise-induced hearing loss is always preventable! It is absolutely essential that people who find themselves in noisy environments are using hearing protection consistently.
While we all know that long-term exposure to high noise levels can lead to noise-induced hearing loss, many people don’t realize that it actually only takes ONE exposure — even for only a minute — to cause permanent damage!
Why Should You Protect Your Hearing?
Over time, those who are consistently exposed to high noise levels will very likely develop a hearing loss that will cause difficulty hearing the distinct sounds of speech.
We notice this most when we are trying to communicate in the presence of some type of background noise – whether that be in a restaurant or simply trying to have a conversation while the TV is on.
The use of hearing protection is such a simple step to help protect the hearing that you have, particularly because we know there is no way to permanently recover the hearing once it is affected!
How Often Do We See Veterans?
In San Antonio, where we have three military bases and the very best military healthcare facilities in the nation, we speak to veterans daily about the effects of noise exposure on their ability to hear and communicate.
3M Failed Our U.S. Army Veterans On Adequate Hearing Protection
I feel that that it is indefensible that 3M would knowingly put the hearing healthcare of our military personnel in jeopardy for a profit, and this isn’t the first lawsuit against them. It’s merely the most recent.
This article explains why the lawsuits were brought against 3M and the resulting judgments and payouts.
Despite losing all suits so far, 3M still denies failing our military, even though they neglected to notify the wearers of their earplugs of the dangers of not inserting them properly.
How Does This Bode For The Future Of Hearing Protection?
I think that this case will absolutely make people more aware of the importance of hearing protection for people exposed to all types of noise.
I also think people will do a little more research about which products actually provide the most protection for their particular needs.
What Other Noisy Environments Require Hearing Protection?
Here in San Antonio, we see a lot of patients who are avid hunters and also those who require hearing protection specifically designed for the situations they find themselves in. But even activities, such as mowing the lawn or attending a spin class, can provide exposure to noise levels that can be damaging.
We also see many musicians who are growing more aware of the need to protect their hearing, not only to prevent hearing loss but also to prevent tinnitus as much as possible.
Contact us if you’d like to know more about hearing protection. Preventing hearing loss is a subject close to our hearts.
Know A Veteran With An Untreated Hearing Loss?
At Audicles, we have a long history of partnering with veterans to help them provide the VA with the information necessary both to get audiological services and to be considered for a disability rating for hearing loss and/or tinnitus for service-related noise exposure.
The service-connected hearing damage benefits you get from the VA are based on an audiological hearing assessment of both ears. The test can only be done by a state-licensed audiologist, and the results will then determine your VA hearing loss disability rating.
So if you’d like to have the VA cover your hearing loss expenses, the only way you can begin the process is by getting this hearing assessment done.
How Can We Support Our Veterans?
We provide all types of hearing protection! We are always happy to discuss options for your particular situation, whether it be hunting, playing music, or simply mowing your lawn.
And book a hearing test to ensure you give your hearing the best care possible.