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The Military and Tinnitus

As we look forward to celebrating Presidents’ Day weekend (and mark the actual birthday of Abraham Lincoln today), we are reminded of the contributions of these men, and of all those serving our country. At Neuromonics, we have frequent encounters with many of these individuals.

This is not a fact about which I’m proud, but IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) keep us busy. There’s a high likelihood that many of the young military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have experienced the power these weapons possess. According to the American Tinnitus Association, a detonated IED has a decibel level of 140dBA+. That’s enough to leave a long-lasting reminder of anyone’s service. Why? Because that level of immediate and forceful noise is one of the main causes of tinnitus.

You’ve all seen the devastating pictures of wounded military members undergoing hours of rehabilitation following the loss of limbs, sight or other injuries. What you don’t see are the lasting scars created by tinnitus. In fact, it’s the No. 1 reported disability among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s not a widely known fact, but it’s true. In 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported that more than 760,000 veterans received service-connected tinnitus disability. This year, that number could increase to 1.5 million.

Neuromonics’ commitment to treating the military community is why we are constantly improving our products. Just a couple of weeks ago, we released the new Haven device to provide relief for tinnitus sufferers. Using funds received from a U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Act in the fall of 2011, we developed this customized, mid-range device to help those looking for a way to manage their tinnitus. We listened to suggestions from many of our patients and audiologists, and have as a result another product I think will be incredibly beneficial to these brave military members.

In early March, Neuromonics will attend the Joint Defense Veterans Audiology Conference at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. It’s no doubt that tinnitus will play a pivotal role in the discussions during the meeting. We expect Neuromonics products to play a pivotal role as well.