When I would be on a tour, there were a small handful of things that kept me focused: the goals of our mission, my platoon, and my family. They’re the reason that I chose to serve, and they’re the reason why I always believed in going home.

Like many of us, I experienced a number of things that could have been harmful to my hearing. Up until recently, I would do my best to remember to wear hearing protection, but earplugs weren’t always a top priority in my line of work. Growing up, my family didn’t place a lot of emphasis on hearing protection, either. I figured that hearing loss was something that happened to older folks.

But a few years ago, I started to notice a change. When I sleep, I usually lay on my side. And when my head hit the pillow, I noticed that a ringing sound would appear. Initially I assumed it was a high frequency electrical sound. But as time went on, the sound grew louder and louder — and I heard it no matter where I was. It didn’t take me long to realize that no one else could hear it — it was just me.

When I described what I was going through to a close friend, he told me that what I was experiencing sounded a lot like tinnitus — a ringing, buzzing, or pulsing sound that is often caused by noise exposure, head trauma, and certain medications — that no one else can hear. He recommended that I see a professional, since tinnitus isn’t curable, but it is treatable. I found an AudigyCertified practice that specializes in tinnitus management, and I’m really glad that I did.

What a lot of people may not know is that the effects of tinnitus can be overwhelming, and without the proper counseling, you can begin to feel that there’s no hope of feeling better. My provider introduced me to the AGX Tinnitus Solution, and that — in combination with the wonderful care and service they provided — has certainly changed my life for the better.

I’ve always been committed to being present, no matter if it’s completing an objective in the line of duty, or if it’s taking my daughter out to spend the evening with her daddy — I want to be there at 100%. She’s the light of my world, and knowing that I can be there for her without distraction gives me indescribable peace of mind.