Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Heritage of Army Audiology (Excerpt)

By D. Scott McIlwain, AuD, Kathy Gates, AuD, Donald Ciliax, PhD

Noise-induced hearing loss has been documented as early as the 16th century, when a French surgeon, Ambroise Paré, wrote of the treatment of injuries sustained by firearms and described acoustic trauma in great detail. Even so, the protection of hearing would not be addressed for three more centuries, when the jet engine was invented and resulted in a long overdue whirlwind of policy development addressing the prevention of hearing loss.

Military conflicts have long been identified as a source of physical disability. Veterans’ benefits were first documented in this country in 1636, when money was provided to individuals disabled in the Plymouth colony's defense.

Even before World War I, military veterans were receiving compensation for hearing loss. The medical records of Union Army soldiers document that 33% had diagnosed hearing loss.

Soldiers with disabilities from their military service were guaranteed a larger pension as compensation. Even though the method of measuring an individual's hearing acuity in the late 1800s is questionable by today's standards, hearing loss was recognized by the government as a disability. The General Law of 1862 and the Disability Act of 1890 were two major legislative movements that made this possible.

From: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov


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