Hearing loss and tinnitus are among the most common disability claims submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Kurt Yankaskas has been working on hearing loss prevention and was recognized last week when he received the 2019 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award. His work focuses on effectiveness of communication because hearing and understanding verbal commands are critical to safety. Many types of machinery and work spaces in the Navy can reach decibels outside of safety regulations for prolonged periods of time. This extended exposure to high-level noise can kill sensory hair cells found in the inner ear's cochlea, damage other essential auditory nerves and alter brain circuits necessary for hearing and speech understanding, which can cause permanent hearing loss.
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