Hearing loss in the military is - thankfully - receiving more and more attention. Hearing issues are the most common service-connected disabilities among American veterans. So the obvious question is why aren't soldiers doing more to protect their hearing while in those situations that are loud enough to damage it - like combat? Part of the answer may surprise you - they don't want to. Why? It reduces situational awareness - if their hearing is "protected" they can't hear what is going on around them, be it a command from a fellow soldier or approaching enemy activity. There are of course other factors, but all of them come back to the fact that protection of life comes before protection of hearing, as it should. Unfortunately, many veterans are paying the price later.