I’ve always said how important hearing is to your well-being. It’s a massive part of everyone’s livelihood, and unfortunately, most people don’t realize its importance until it’s gone.
This month, we acknowledge our veterans to show them how much we appreciate everything they’ve done for us and continue to do. That’s why it’s so disappointing to hear about companies who take advantage of our military for profit.
That was almost the case when 3M introduced hearing protection to our military without adequate safety and usage training.
There have been many reports about the hearing protection not functioning correctly. 259,000 people have come forward to share their displeasure with the hearing protection and lack of assistance from 3M.
With this recent decision, 3M has lost three of the first four cases brought to court. All with seven-figure settlements. We couldn’t be happier for these veterans and their families.
This money represents the loss of experiences that these veterans will have for the rest of their lives. We hope the money can bring some sort of justice to them, and they can focus on getting the best hearing care they deserve going forward.
Is Hearing Protection Necessary For Loud Environments?
Hearing protection is not only necessary for loud environments; it’s also vital. Especially here in Alaska, where we all find ourselves around loud noises such as engines, gunfire, and power tools.
While these are the things that make our state so amazing, we must take precautions to ensure a long and happy life of healthy hearing.
Due to our outdoor lifestyle, we can all incur a hearing loss faster than our compatriots in the lower 48. Hearing loss usually develops gradually and, in doing so, allows us time to adapt without even knowing it.
Using hearing protection prevents this from happening and insulates our ears from sounds that are too loud.
What Are The Ramifications Of Not Protecting Your Hearing?
Not protecting your hearing doesn’t always result in a check for $8.2 million. There are millions of Americans who have neglected hearing protection and must deal with the consequences.
They do not have to deal with them alone, though. We are here to help, and no matter what stage your hearing loss is at, we can work with you to find a solution. We always encourage people to come in as soon as they notice something is wrong.
By not addressing it right away, you open the door for many more severe problems. Issues such as frustration, isolation, and social withdrawal are just some of the early signs.
If left untreated beyond these symptoms, it’s very common to develop tinnitus, which is a constant ringing in the ear. More serious cases can eventually result in cognitive decline and diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
How Often Should Veterans See An Audiologist?
Having a working relationship with your local audiologist is a huge step in the right direction. We can identify your unique hearing profile and develop a plan that is tailor-made to you.
Some people will need to come in every six months, while others may be yearly. Hearing loss can progress unpredictably, especially for those in loud noise environments.
In most cases, our veterans are taken care of through their VA program, so we encourage all veterans to use their benefits to their fullest and take good care of their hearing.
How 3M Failed Veterans On Adequate Hearing Protection
The military was trying to protect their service members, however, it just wasn’t enough.
I don’t believe it was intentional on the military’s part since they have significantly increased their hearing conservation programs. It was an unfortunate result that 3M was not more forthcoming with their product.
If you have a loved one in the military, have them seek an evaluation with an audiologist – we can help them correct their hearing & tinnitus, often fully covered by the VA.
What Does This Mean For The Future Of Hearing Protection?
With this recent decision, we hope it will bring attention to how valuable our hearing is. Our veterans deserve the best we have to offer, and hopefully, companies will acknowledge this now even if their intention is to avoid a lawsuit.
The military will be more diligent with their product selection and rollout. Protecting our veterans should be number one, and while they have made the first step by getting help, they need to perform their due diligence to secure better products.
Do Other Noisy Environments Require Hearing Protection?
In short, YES! Especially in our unique environment here in Alaska, our hearing is more at risk than others.
Working in construction, the oil fields, shooting, snow machining, fish canneries, commercial fishing, etc. are all examples of the things we as Alaskans love to do. Our list is much longer than other states. Knowing this is the first step to protecting our hearing for the long term.
Do You Know A Veteran Suffering From A Hearing Loss?
Sometimes having a loved one suffering from a hearing loss can be very difficult if they don’t acknowledge the problem themselves.
If this describes you, please show them this article and have them call us, or come in for a non-invasive hearing assessment. This test will show us everything we need to know about their unique hearing profile and the best next steps to ensure they receive the tailored care they deserve.
If they are a veteran, then we encourage them to reach out to their local VA to get information on what they can do to help cover costs.
How We Can Help
Please help your vets. They served our country and thankfully, they’re still with us, but they don’t have to be isolated and suffering from their hearing loss!
We offer personalized consultations and support to find the right solution for the individual and their listening environments.
There’s foam earplugs for the mechanic or custom shooting plugs for when you’re out hunting. However you spend your days here in Alaska, we can assist in keeping your hearing healthy to keep enjoying all your favorite things.
We offer all varieties of custom hearing protection and are happy to help regardless of your hearing protection needs.
Don’t wait; take care of your hearing now.
Happy Veterans Day!