From: The Honorable Elizabeth H. Esty
Sent By: Michael.Carlo@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/14/2016

Fund Research into Hearing Regeneration for Service Members and Veterans

Deadline: COB Tuesday, March 15

 

Dear Colleague,

We invite you to join us in sending a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense requesting that the Committee add hearing regeneration to the list of eligible conditions under the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). According to the Department of Defense, hearing loss is among the top disabilities associated with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, afflicting more than 250,000 service members.

While there is some funding available for hearing-related research areas, hearing regeneration is currently not eligible for CDMRP funding. Let’s act to expand research into hearing regeneration to give our veterans hope that the hearing they lost in service to our country may one day be recovered.

To join the letter or request further information, please contact Michael Carlo in Rep. Esty’s office at Michael.Carlo@mail.house.gov or 5-4476.

Sincerely,

 

Elizabeth H. Esty

Member of Congress

 

 

Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky:

We write to request that as you conclude work on the Fiscal Year 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations bill, the Committee includes report language making hearing regeneration an eligible subject of study under the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program’s (CDMRP) Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program.

According to the Department of Defense, hearing loss is among the top disabilities associated with service in Iraq and Afghanistan, afflicting more than 250,000 service members. For the Members of our Armed Forces, hearing plays a critical role in mission effectiveness, with up to 50-60 percent of one’s situational awareness coming from hearing. Undiagnosed hearing impairments could inhibit a unit’s communication and ability to give and receive commands.

For our veterans, hearing loss may present a challenge in transitioning to civilian life, with a correlation having been found between hearing loss and depression and anxiety as well as diminished income. Not to mention that compensation payments for hearing loss costs the Department of Veterans Affairs hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

We thank the Committee for its previous work in recognizing the significance of research into the prevention and treatment of hearing related health conditions, such as CDMRP tinnitus research and the work of the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence. However, for many service members and veterans, hearing regeneration has the promise of being their best chance at recovering the hearing lost during their service. Therefore, we ask that the Committee include the following language in the FY17 Defense Appropriations Committee Report:

It is the understanding of the Committee that hearing loss has become a significant problem in the Department of Defense for military personnel as well as veterans. According to the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence, hearing loss reduces combat situational awareness by 50-60%, which significantly compromises mission performance, reducing warfighter lethality and survivability. Despite this, it appears that there is little to no research being conducted to regenerate natural hearing in our service members and veterans. Therefore, the Committee requests the Department of Defense Health Agency to report to Congress as to how it is addressing this matter and includes “hearing regeneration” as eligible under the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and for your hard work and leadership on behalf of our service members and veterans.

                                                                        Sincerely,