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Real Patients Challenges


Interviewee #1

I just think a lot of times in the military, although you practice hearing protection on a routine basis, you get caught in situations where you’re required to perform your job. And maybe hearing protection isn’t readily available at that one instant when you’re exposed to, you know, aircraft or, you know, radio net interference, and stuff like that.

Interviewee #2

We were in Iraq — 2003, 2004 — convoying. And there were four trucks within the convoy and we all had radios. In a traffic circle, we had an Iraqi try to split us up. And as we were coming through, the … let’s just say the enemy come out with AK-47s and started shooting our truck. And because of my hearing loss, I had struggles trying to maintain on the radio to make sure that my soldiers were okay. And I struggled. Luckily, we got out of there.

Interviewee #3

On my last deployment, I was with a civil affairs unit and we were out in the villages. And I’m a medical officer, so of course, we would do some medical things. And some of the women are very soft spoken. It’s already difficult because you’re going through an interpreter, so you’re hoping that they’re asking what you’re asking. And then when you can’t hear what they say or you miss what they say, and you have to go back to clarify. And, you know, the person’s looking at you, and they’re looking at you. So that can get kind of dicey.

Interviewee #4

I didn’t feel like the job itself was compromised … what it required me to do. What I felt like was my ability to effectively communicate with people — to hear what I needed to hear on a day-to-day basis and just normal interaction with people — was something that I had some concerns about. I mean, really, I would miss things.

Interviewee #5

We were called out at a car accident, or actually a motorcycle accident, where a girl hit a telephone pole. And we were the first responders on to that accident. We got the girl on to the helicopter. And as we were pulling away, I had my hand underneath her head, and the medic was working on her. It wasn’t good. And as I pulled my hand away, I can remember my hand filling up with blood, and so we knew she also had a head injury, which we didn’t know of at the time. And the medic was asking me … we had to bring the helicopter down from altitude and he was communicating with the pilot. And he was asking me to hand him things out of his med bag, and I couldn’t understand him. And at that time, I took off my helmet so that I could understand him more because things were getting really busy at that time. And to help that patient, to save that patient’s life, I took off my helmet at that time.

Interviewee #6

But there certainly were times in some pretty high-level discussions … I worked for General Norman Schwarzkopf for over two years. I was his senior weather guy. And certainly when they were to ask questions, and sometimes they needed an answer immediately, if you didn’t hear the question, that was tough.

Interviewee #5

All of it was challenging. But you’re just caught up in every moment. And you don’t think about yourself … ever … ever.

Quick Fact


Hearing loss is categorized into three basic types: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed.

About Us

The Hearing Center of Excellence fosters and promotes the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, rehabilitation and research of hearing loss and auditory injury. It supports the development, exchange and adoption of best practices, research, measures of effectiveness and clinical care guidelines to reduce the prevalence and cost of hearing loss and tinnitus among Warriors and Veterans. Read more

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