Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
I would love to just say here that veterans deserve the best technology hearing aids on the market just because they have served our country, which is true, but it goes a lot deeper than that due to the damage caused potentially by their service in the forces and the use of firearms and explosives.
The Leading Research
The actual damage caused by the explosion is not to the ear! But actually, to the auditory brainstem. The high-pressure blast wave goes over the individual, causing impact to the head and creating a neurological impairment. The ear can be in perfect working order! Research has also shown that Veterans without APD also have difficulty in noise, which is still being explained but possibly affected by the “impulsive” noise from gunshot which can reach 200dB and rise quickly causing a major intense pressure wave change.
Unique but life-defining
To date, I can find no research relating to the similar cause and effect of gunfire, only blast trauma.
It is suggested that APD is a common problem but not picked up because it is not fatal, and difficult to pinpoint the neurological impairment.
To assess this type of damage requires an EEG (electroencephalography) which measures the brain activity during speech processing so you would need a specialist and the necessary equipment and environment for this assessment to be completed.
However, finally to my point, Veterans need the best technology hearing aids, and assistive equipment to continue to fulfil their “life” requirements after their service due to the invisible damage caused whilst protecting this country and residents. Unfortunately this is the silent disability, like bentinnitus and reduced mental health issues from service that equally need to be addressed.
There are organisations that have done valuable research into this field, allowing us to share credible information about this subject –
Royal British Legion, R., 2020. 300,000 Veterans Living With Hearing Loss In The UK – Legion Urges Veterans To Seek Help During Deaf Awareness Week – Cobseo. [online] Cobseo. Available at: <https://www.cobseo.org.uk/300000-veterans-living-hearing-loss-uk-legion-urges-veterans-seek-help-deaf-awareness-week/> [Accessed 6 July 2020].
Tepe,V et al., Mar 12 2020. Acquired Central Auditory Processing Disorder in Service Members and Veterans – pubmed.gov [online] Available at:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32163310/ [Accessed 6 July 2020]
Dr. Reichenbach, T.,2020. Funding research into veterans’ hearing loss – British Legion [online] Available at: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/stories/funding-research-into-veterans’-hearing-loss [ Accessed 6 July 2020]
Help Us Fit More Veterans!
Since becoming a charity, we have managed to fit over 50 veterans with top-class hearing aids! However, we still have more than 2,500 veterans who need our help in getting back to a normal standard of life after the hearing damage they received in their years of service. Any donations we receive are a huge help in the lives of our vets and we are eternally grateful for whatever you may be able to spare.
Proudly supporting those who serve!
UK Veterans Hearing Help (now the UK Veterans Hearing Foundation) received the Bronze Award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme in 2016, in 2019 we achieved Silver level and in 2020 we achieved the highest level Gold. The scheme provides an award for organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and armed forces community.