Audiological conditions, especially hearing loss and tinnitus, are the most common service-connected conditions in veterans due to exposure to loud noises (planes, artillery, etc.) or as sides effects to medication. More than 30 million veterans suffer from some form of hearing loss.
Because of the high incidence of hearing loss among veterans, the VA is a leader in audiological research. Ongoing research is looking at the connection between PTSD and traumatic brain injury and hearing loss. Other studies are looking at causes and prevention, such as biomarkers that may warn of developing hearing loss, as well as a wide range of treatment options.
As we reported earlier, by the end of 2016, veterans needing routine audiology appointments will be able to schedule them directly at all VA facilities without a referral from their primary care manager. The VA hopes that this will make it easier and faster for veterans to receive needed care from an audiologist. To find out if this option is now available where you live, simply contact your local VA facility. If it’s not currently available, they should be able to tell you when it will be.
If you would like more information about the VA’s audiology services, please visit www.ncrar.research.va.gov. For information about the audiology research the VA is conducting, visit www.research.va.gov/topics/hearing.cfm.