Severe hearing impairment among military veterans--United States, 2010

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011 Jul 22;60(28):955-8.

Abstract

A substantial proportion of hearing loss in the United States is attributable to employment-related exposure to noise. Among military veterans, the most common service-connected disabilities are hearing impairments, suggesting that occupational noise exposure during military service might cause more veterans to have hearing loss than nonveterans. However, a recent analysis of data from the 1993-1995 Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study did not find significant differences between the two groups. To further investigate hearing loss among veterans, specifically the prevalence of severe hearing impairment (SHI), data from the 2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) were analyzed. This report describes the results of those analyses, which indicated that the prevalence of SHI among veterans was significantly greater than among nonveterans. Veterans were 30% more likely to have SHI than nonveterans after adjusting for age and current occupation, and veterans who served in the United States or overseas during September 2001-March 2010, the era of overseas contingency operations (including Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom), were four times more likely than nonveterans to have SHI. These findings suggest a need for increased emphasis on improving military hearing conservation programs (HCPs) and on hearing loss surveillance in military and veterans' health systems.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Loss / etiology
  • Hearing Loss / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise / adverse effects
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult