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Sen. Smith Introduces Bill to Help Vets with Hearing Loss

Baihly Warfield
Updated: November 06, 2019 06:23 PM

Ahead of Veterans Day next week, Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced a bill to help veterans with hearing loss. 

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Smith says currently, veterans have to prove to the Department of Veterans Affairs that their hearing issues are directly related to their time in the service. 

"What my bill would do is it would say, no, you don't have to prove that. We will presume that if you served in an area where you had exposure to lots of loud noises that that is the cause of your hearing loss," Smith said. 

It applies to both hearing loss and tinnitus, which is the ringing or buzzing in someone's head people may experience. Smith said the hearing loss issue is something she and her staff heard repeatedly while they were on a veterans healthcare tour last year. 

"A lot of people don't realize that hearing loss is one of the most common aftereffects of service," she said. "So it affects a broad number of veterans. And when they started telling us about how challenging it was to get the care that they need, we knew that we wanted to try to do something."

She says the bill would allow vets to get access to hearing aids and other treatment more quickly. You can read a summary of the bill here. She introduced the same bill last year, but a staffer in her office said she wasn't able to get the needed bipartisan support. 

There is a companion bill in the House too. Rep. Nydia Valzquez (D-NY) introduced it there.

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Baihly Warfield

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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