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Shilo Harris: War Hero, Hearing Health Advocate

03/27/2015

This week, our company proudly sponsored Staff Sergeant Shilo Harris’s inspiring keynote speech at the AudiologyNow! 2015 conference in San Antonio, TX. He then signed copies of his book for hours at the Siemens booth.

Sgt. Shilo Harris enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He was deployed twice to Iraq. It was during his second tour of duty there in 2007 that his Humvee hit an IED while on patrol near Baghdad. The explosion killed three of his friends and Harris lost his ears, the tip of his nose, and three fingers, along with suffering broken bones and extensive burns. The incident marked the end of his Army career, but after a 48-day long medically-induced coma, and nearly three years spent recovering in the Brooke Army Medical Center, Harris embarked on a new career — as a motivational speaker, advocate, and author.

New ears — new hearing aids

Harris was able to recover much of his hearing thanks to a combination of prosthetic ears and hearing aids. First he received his new ears, which were fashioned out of silicone and matched as closely as possible to his skin tone. They were created by the maxillofacial prosthetics team at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, a group of medical professionals who have helped a number of wounded veterans in need of replacement ears, noses, eyes, and teeth. Harris’s prosthetic ears consist of metal implants inserted into the sides of his head and silicone outer ears, which are affixed using dental magnets. The advantage of these kinds of magnets is that they don’t interfere with the operation of the hearing aids the prosthetic ears enabled him to wear.

Today, Harris is a staunch advocate for other wounded military veterans. He travels extensively to speak at events about coping with hearing loss, wearing hearing aids, and the importance of supplying members of the military with adequate hearing protection. Hearing damage, including hearing loss and tinnitus, is the number one most common affliction reported by service veterans.

Harris shares his journey in an inspirational book, Steel Will: My Journey Through Hell to Become the Man I Was Meant to Be (September 1, 2014; Baker Books).

Please join us in thanking Sgt. Harris for his service in the military and his continuing support of others with hearing loss!

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