Studies have revealed that Veterans exposed to jet fuel, commonly known as JP-8, and noise are at risk of developing hearing problems. The noise exposure does not have to be at hazardous levels in order for these problems to develop. Exposure to even safe levels of noises as defined by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, if combined with jet fuel exposure, can result in the development of auditory processing dysfunctions. This is a neurological condition rather than the traditional hearing damage resulting from exposure to hazardous noise levels that we are familiar with.
This means that a Veteran will still be able to hear sounds or speech, but their brain has difficulty processing those sounds correctly. The Veteran may end up thinking they heard a different word than the one spoken or heard random noises as well as experiencing other auditory issues and sound distortion. The most frustrating thing about this is that auditory processing dysfunctions does not impact hearing thresholds, meaning that a Veteran can have an auditory processing dysfunction but still pass a hearing exam. It also means that a Veteran can have hazardous noise induced hearing damage and an auditory processing dysfunction.
Furthermore, while the studies have focused on jet fuel, there are concerns that the other hydrocarbon fuels may pose the same threat. The same chemicals in jet fuel are also present in other more common hydrocarbon fuels. This means that anyone working around hydrocarbon fuels and noise could potentially be in danger of developing an auditory processing dysfunction. While the VA does acknowledge the connection between jet fuel, noise exposure, and auditory processing dysfunction, obtaining VA compensation for it is very difficult due to the difficulty in obtaining a diagnosis and a general lack of knowledge concerning auditory processing dysfunctions.
If you have served on active duty and are experiencing hearing problems, please call our office and speak with one of our qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, call our office at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529 for a free consultation. Gardberg and Kemmerly is proud to serve Veterans across the country from our home office in Mobile, Alabama. We would love an opportunity to discuss your claim.