When we attended the American Academy of Audiology conference in Nashville last month, we were blown away by the response to My Butterfly Pillow. Everyone was so welcoming and interested in a product that could help ease some of the discomfort of tinnitus.
We also learned a lot. I mean, A LOT! We spoke to so many good people from all different types of work: Audiology, Ear/Nose/Throat, occupational therapists… the list goes on. One of the interesting things we learned is the overwhelming percentage of Veteran’s Affairs patients who seek help for hearing impairment and tinnitus.
Let’s think about it from a layman’s perspective. Yes, I may be a transplant from Canada, but I spend a good deal of time at the rifle range. When we go out there, I wear those hot pink foam earplugs, the same kind I wear to bed at night. Some of my cohorts do the same, but the vast number wear giant noise-cancelling headphones, the kind you see on airport runways. We shoot for a couple of hours before retiring to some cocktail lounge somewhere, having been quite protected during our time on the range.
Of course, our personal security was never at risk. We didn’t have to catch vital instructions drifting on a cloud of gun smoke. We could insulate our heads with impunity.
Out in the field, for police and moreover for military personnel, there isn’t always time to protect your head and ears before the firing begins. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and noise-induced hearing loss/tinnitus are apparently a much larger issue for the VA than most laymen would guess.
At the VA, hearing loss, tinnitus, and auditory processing disorder is huge, especially since we’ve been .
From the VA website:
As of the close of fiscal year 2014, more than 933,000 Veterans were receiving disability compensation for hearing loss, and nearly 1.3 million received compensation for tinnitus. In addition, many Veterans score normally on hearing tests but have difficulty understanding speech. This condition, called auditory processing disorder, is often associated with blast exposure.
We are looking for ways to help. If you are or know of a veteran dealing with these problems, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org