Sunday, March 16, 2008

AP: War causing deafness

An AP story that moved on the wire March 7 reports that damage to hearing is the No. 1 disability caused among U.S. troops in the war on terror.

The information comes from the Department of Veterans Affairs, which says the numbers could grow even larger when the hearing damage becomes clearer as the veterans age. "Nearly 70,000 of the more than 1.3 million troops who have served in the two war zones are collecting disability for tinnitus, a potentially debilitating ringing in the ears, and more than 58,000 are on disability for hearing loss," the VA told The AP.

"One major explanation given is the insurgency's use of a fearsome weapon the Pentagon did not fully anticipate: powerful roadside bombs. Their blasts cause violent changes in air pressure that can rupture the eardrum and break bones inside the ear," according to The AP. "Also, much of the fighting consists of ambushes, bombings and firefights, which come suddenly and unexpectedly, giving soldiers no time to use their military-issued hearing protection."