July 31, 2009

Review Use of Mental Health Services by Veterans Disabled by Auditory Disorders

The report hypothesizes that veterans with auditory disorders would use Veterans Administration (VA) mental health facilities less due to communication difficulties. The initial results found that disabled veterans with hearing issues had used VA mental health services at least once. Later the article states that although veterans with auditory disorders were more likely to seek initial mental health care, they were less likely to follow up on subsequent visits. This remains a national problem due to the steadily increasing in this population since 2001 will undoubtedly rise rapidly with our modern wars. In fact the report indicates that in the years 2005 there were 822,413 veterans diagnosed with a service-connected disability, a 176.2% increase in auditory disorders.

There has been some evidence that veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and tinnitus have a link; it was reported that 34% of veterans seeking mental health care have both disorders. The article seems to be long on words to facilitate the information; although the study was comprehensive I felt that it could be condensed into a smaller package. The level of research involved would indicate that the intended reader were other researchers to offer direction in future studies. The language is sterile and includes terminology indicative of the mental health professions and overcomes the racial and cultural differences in veterans. As in the VA means testing system, once you have a diagnosis equal care is given on a scale of service-connection to the medically retired.

The article gives a perspective that has not been fully realized with protocols and assessment procedures. “Although veterans disabled by auditory disorders seem to readily connect with VA mental health services, the reduced frequency or repetition of services use may require intervention” (Kendall, and Rosenheck, p. 1357, 2008). Since the mental health field has a greater number of social workers they have the necessary skills to implement multidisciplinary approaches to best fit the issues at hand. Psychometric measures can be established maximized through the skill sets of social workers; including better assessments that include audio disorders, mental health disorders and measures taken when assessed properly.

Kendall, C. J., and Rosenheck, R. R. (2008). Use of mental health services veterans disabled by auditory disorders. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 45(9), 1349-1360.

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