Do you have a hearing loss due to military service? A report from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that more than 59,000 military members are on disability for hearing loss from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
HLAA was founded in 1979 by Howard “Rocky” Stone, a retired CIA agent, who endured hearing loss from his service in the United States Army. Rocky was well-known in the agency for both his skill and his hearing loss. On one occasion he was having a hard time “hearing” when talking with then-Director Richard Helms, so Rocky plopped himself on Helms’ desk and asked him to face him directly so he could read his lips! Another time, his old-fashioned body hearing aid was mistaken for a recording spy device and was confiscated. Rocky earned the Agency’s highest honor and went onto establish an organization for people who have hearing loss and want to stay in the hearing world with technology and strategies.
Complimentary HLAA Membership for Vets of OIF and OEF
Membership includes Hearing Loss Magazine, a helpful resource on the latest in technology, medical issues, legislation, personal stories, and more. If you are an OIF or OEF veteran and are interested in a free one-year complimentary membership, then please visit our Membership page.
Complimentary HLAA Convention Registration
HLAA would like to show its support of veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) by offering a convention registration at no charge. For more information about registering for HLAA’s annual convention, contact the Director of Events and Marketing.
The HLAA Convention has workshops, a trade show with all the latest technology and services, is communication accessible (real-time captioning and assistive technology in all sessions) and is a lot of fun!
Telecommunications Equipment and Assistive Listening Systems
Please visit our Financial Assistance page for more information about accessing devices at a reduced rate or free of charge depending on the eligibility requirements.
Education for Vets
Learn more about HLAA’s partnership with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology to address the educational needs of veterans of recent conflicts. Read an article about the Veterans with Hearing Loss Project at RIT/NTID and view the following videos on YouTube for more information:
News Story: This story on the Veterans with Hearing Loss program appeared Friday, October 22, 2010 on the Rochester ABC affiliate WHAM evening news.
Meet Captain Mark A. Brogan, United States Army, Ret.
Operation Iraqi Freedom (2005-07 vet)
"Out of all of the disabilities from my injury, hearing loss is one of the most noticeable and one with the most frequency of problems for me."
— CPT Brogan
I was injured by suicide bomber at close range, on April 11, 2006, while leading a foot patrol in Rawah, Iraq. The blast killed the soldier immediately to my rear and severely wounded myself. I sustained a severe penetrating head injury, multiple shrapnel wounds, and a nearly severed right arm.
My hearing was substantially damaged. My first hearing test was not till a few months after my injury. The test results showed that my right ear had been perforated and sustained severe to profound damage and the left severe. The blast came from the right side which was the worst. The inner ear was so damaged that my vestibular system was damaged and my balance and dizziness were horrible. This made physical therapy that much harder. My physical therapist at Walter Reed was fortunately knowledgeable about the Hall Pike maneuver which greatly helped the symptoms but I still have flare ups occasionally.
I have terrible tinnitus [ringing in the ears] that I almost have gotten used to at this point. The VA gave me a pair of great hearing aids and they work very well, I even have a remote control much like a car key remote that changes volume and programs.
CPT Brogan Finds HLAA
I found out about the Hearing Loss Association of America when looking up support groups in my area that related to the different disabilities. I found the Knoxville (TN) HLA Chapter where I live. The group has been very helpful. It is good to just get with people who have the same type of disability. Out of all of the disabilities I accrued out of the injury, hearing loss is one of the most noticeable and one with the most frequency of problems for me. It’s is just so hard to understand what people are saying, even my wife and she ‘gets it.’
I have only been going to the HLA meetings for a short while but I already feel like a part of the ‘family’ of attendees. I have met a couple my age and it’s great to have friends our age and know we are going through the same things. It's hard to find friends that understand what it's like with any disability. Everyone just assumes, hey you look fine you must be fine, which couldn't be further from the truth with the hearing loss and the severe brain injury. Invisible injuries are tough; I like the group because they get it.
Suivez Moi: A Leader in Every Right by Barbara Kelley
“Suivez Moi,” is about Mark Brogan, a war hero comes home from Operation Iraqi Freedom with a Purple Heart, a traumatic brain injury, and hearing loss. Where does that leave him now? He and his wife, Sunny, tell their story.
- Mark Brogan Interview on NBC News
Webinar for Veterans with Hearing Loss
Hearing Loss Association of America is proud to present live Webinars, featuring the nation's leading experts in hearing loss. This is your opportunity to ask a question and learn more about hearing loss from leaders in a number of medical disciplines associated with hearing loss.
- Audiology and Hearing Aid Benefit for Veterans Webinar by Gene Bratt, Ph.D. Dr. Bratt is chief of the audiology and speech pathology service at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville.