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P.O. Box 5 Portland, OR 97207 800-634-8978 • www.ata.

org

What you should know about tinnitus
Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sound where no external source is present – those who are affected often describe tinnitus as ringing, hissing, roaring, buzzing or whooshing, perceived in one or both ears; Nearly 50 million people in the United States experience tinnitus; 10-12 million have tinnitus chronically and seek medical attention for their condition; 1-2 million in the U.S. are debilitated by their tinnitus – cognitive abilities are compromised and quality of life is ruthlessly reduced from their tinnitus; In 2001 The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) reported that nearly 13% of children between the ages of 6-19 have some form of noise induced hearing loss which can cause and/or lead to tinnitus; In 2007 a study of 900 musicians found that at least 60% report occasional tinnitus; Tinnitus is most commonly caused by noise exposure – According to the National Institutes on Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) maximum allowable noise exposure is 85 dBA for eight hours and even at that level seven to eight people will still sustain hearing damage; 30 million workers are at risk for tinnitus and noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) from hazardous noise on the job; Under-employment and unemployment due to NIHL costs $2.5 billion a year with an additional $2 billion per year in welfare and disability programs; Industry experts recommend that for every 3 decibel increase above 85dBA a person should cut their time exposure in half. For example, if 85 dBA is “safe” for eight hours, then 88 dBA is “safe” for only four hours; Even though there are recommended maximum allowable exposure times, cumulative noise exposure even at “safe” levels can cause tinnitus over years; We are living in the age of amplified sound where many every day noise sources produce decibel levels that can be hazardous to our hearing and can result in tinnitus and other types of hearing loss - Here are some examples of every day noise sources and their respective decibel levels: Noise Source City Traffic, Vacuum Cleaner Power Lawn Mower MP3 Player Chainsaw Rock Concert Piccolo Jackhammer Decibel level (dBA) 85 90 105 110 115 120 130 Maximum allowable time exposure 8 hours 4 hours 7 minutes 4 minutes 1 minute or less 30 seconds or less 15 seconds or less

The American Tinnitus Association exists to cure tinnitus through the development of resources that advance tinnitus research.

P.O. Box 5 Portland, Oregon 97207 www.ata.org · (800) 634-8978

Facts about the Military, Veterans and tinnitus Tinnitus, commonly defined as “ringing in the ears,” is often a debilitating condition that ruthlessly reduces quality of life for those chronically affected. Tinnitus is the number one service-connected disability for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan (three consecutive years). Tinnitus is most often the result of extreme noise exposure from either a single impulse noise or the accumulation of noise exposure; head and neck injury is the second leading cause. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) detonate at decibel levels of 140 dBA+ which is loud enough to immediately leave soldiers with a painful – and constant – reminder of their service. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2009 there were over 760,000 veterans receiving service-connected tinnitus disability. At the current rate of increase, the number of veterans service-connected for tinnitus will increase to over 1.5 million by 2014. Those 760,000 Vets translate into $1.12 billion annually for compensation as of 2009. At the current rate of increase, service-connected disability payments to veterans with tinnitus by the VA will increase to over $2.26 billion by 2014. Walter Reed Army Medical Center recently conducted a study of soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan; the study concluded that of all those exposed to IEDs, 49 percent reported having tinnitus. In 2009, in the United States, there was only approximately $10 million combined from various organizations and agencies for tinnitus research. It costs $4.3 million to create an M1 Abrams Tank, $5.9 million to engineer an M1 Helicopter and $18.8 million to make an F-16 Fighter Jet. The Army is the only branch of the military that requires ear plugs as part of its uniform. Examples of Sound Levels Associated with Military Equipment used in 2005
IOM Study on Noise in the Mlitary: Implications for Tinnitus and Hearing Loss (2005)

Type of Equipment Apache Helicopter 9mm Pistol 5.56mm automatic weapon fired from HMMWV Grenade 105mm towed howitzer

Sound Level Location Pilot/Copilot Shooter Gunner At 50ft Gunner

dBA 104/101 157 160 164 183

The American Tinnitus Association exists to cure tinnitus through the development of resources that advance tinnitus research