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Hearing Blog

Ptsd and auditory processing

May 1, 2023

Our Veterans have undergone more stress and traumatic experiences than most of us can even fathom.  Many suffer from PTSD.  Due to the noise exposure of the being in the military most of our veterans will have developed some type of hearing loss.  Tinnitus or ringing/head noises may also accompany our veterans.  In fact, the traumatic event yields a person 2 times more likely to have tinnitus induced as a result.

Veterans who suffer from PTSD are constantly under stress.  Mentally, and emotionally on edge.

Not only is there great anxiety and depression but their body doesn’t know how to react from the signals that brain is receiving.  Chronic stress is different than traumatic or acute stress.  Unfortunately, many of our Veterans live with all three: Chronic, acute, and traumatic stress.  This takes a toll on their physical and mental health. 

It becomes a snowball effect.   All this turmoil can cause the Veteran who is suffering with PTSD to feel out of synch.  They may feel like the signals they are receiving are not true.  Enough stress and the brain may break down to muffle out all the “noise”.  It is the brain utilizing a coping system.  All of this can cause changes to auditory processing.   

This stress can cause anxiety and depression.  Stress can also make tinnitus worse.  The louder the noises that are heard in the head the more stressed people become.  Simply put…stress is hard on our health.  Not just mental, but physical as well.  As a result, several comorbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease just to name a few. 

Veterans with PTDS will often have sound intolerances.  Fireworks will sound like the enemy approaching.  Firetrucks and ambulances that are quite a distance away will seem piercing to them…yet the rest of us just kind of “hear them in the distance’.  Dropping your set of car keys on a tile floor may make them jump through the roof.  Sounds are exaggerated.  This is called Hyperacusis. PTSD Veterans are startled and may develop a fear or an aversion to certain sounds.  In severe and rare cases, the veteran may think they hear voices.  These hallucinations cause the Veteran to be suspicious of others as they may be afraid of being harmed.  The hallucinations in turn can cause the tinnitus to become intense and their anxiety to skyrocket.

Hearing instruments can help the Veteran with PTSD to have a clear signal to the brain for their sound pattern.  Correcting their hearing helps them to have better interaction with others and their communities.  Being more social helps with the anxiety, paranoia, and depression.   Hearing instruments have maskers that can help with the tinnitus which helps to put the Veteran in control.   Properly fitted hearing instruments are a tool that allow the Veteran to live and communicate more comfortably.  To Hear Better Is To Live Better!


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