Veterans & Hearing Loss

Veterans & Hearing Loss

Noise induced hearing loss affects millions of people worldwide and many Veterans are living with hearing loss and/or tinnitus.  Veterans working in a variety of work conditions may have been exposed to high levels of noise exposure including, infantry, artillery, pilots, engineers and many others. Most often noise exposure goes unnoticed for many years as noise induced hearing loss occurs slowly.  By the time hearing loss is noticed significant irreversible damage has often already occurred.

During noise exposure there is a cascade of events inside the inner ear. The damage is not just due to mechanical damage to the inner ear but also chemical processes triggered by noise.  This damage in the inner ear may continue for up to 7 to 10 days following noise exposure.  Additionally, a very loud sound can cause damage in a single event such as permanent damage to the inner ear, or can damage the ear drum or the middle ear bones.

When exposed to loud sounds a noise-induced temporary threshold shift is the first effect experienced.  This is a temporary decrease in hearing that may be accompanied by tinnitus.  This decrease in hearing may last anywhere from minutes to days depending on the volume of the noise and duration of exposure.  Over time and with repeated noise exposure the ear is unable to recover from temporary threshold shifts and permanent damage occurs.

Hearing loss and tinnitus should be appropriately diagnosed and managed to improve the quality of life of our Veterans.


For more information on Veterans & hearing loss please refer to Veterans Affairs Canada