Veterans and Hearing Loss

Veterans and Hearing Loss
By: Myrtle Barrett, President of Canadian Hard of Hearing Association

This is not the first time I have sent this message but this year the meaning is even more real to me.

This past August, the National Executive Director, Christopher Sutton and I had the opportunity to attend a Legion Conference, where veterans from all over the world gathered.  Some of them were very old and had seen many wars and were loaded with medals but some of them were also very young and equally proud of the medals they wore.  Many of them shared their stories with me and I still remember the faraway look in their eyes as they talked about things they did to keep me from ever having to experience the horrors of war on home territory.


In the month of November, the media comes alive with stories of people and their combat-related sacrifices that have helped keep Canada safe.  Many of us have had the honour of knowing these people, and others have heard stories passed down through the generations.  While we will be forever grateful, we sadly admit that these wars are not just in the past, and there are current stories of tragedy and sacrifice affecting us as a nation and as families. Most of our military are lucky to come home and others, we can only keep them in our hearts.

I grew up hearing stories from my great-uncle and family friends who went to war as young men.  As a child those stories seemed so exciting, but as an adult I realize the reality was unbearable and the sacrifices were huge. Those who came home often brought the battle scars, both mental and physical. My great-uncle lost an eye.  His friend lost his hearing.

Yes, injuries continue to happening and many of our young men and women return from the battlefield, forced to cope with tinnitus or life with noise-induced hearing loss, the number one combat-related disability.

If you know a young soldier or veteran who could benefit from our help let them know about us. We may not be able to fully appreciate their life on the battlefield, but we understand the life with hearing loss.

On this Remembrance Day wear your poppy with pride and gratitude.