Published: May 25, 2014 | Updated: May 27, 2014

By Jennifer Fink RN , Contributing Writer, MedPage Today

At least 1.5 million veterans suffer from military-related hearing impairment. Tinnitus and hearing loss, in fact, are the two most common service-related disabilities. Auditory injuries are so prevalent among veterans that they have been called "the No. 1 war wound."
Military-grade weapons are "often louder and more damaging to the ears than standard sportsman-type weapons," said Col. Mark Packer, MD, director of the Department of Defense's Hearing Center of Excellence. "The transport systems we use to move troops and equipment are much louder than their civilian counterparts. We also put folks in environments where we have to use generators to make electricity, so we have people living next to generators. There are also unexpected, impact noises from blasts and combat."
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