Hearing loss caused by military service is widespread. Damaging exposure to loud noise, known as Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), is almost always irreversible. In other words, it’s permanent. According to figures published by the Ministry of Defence, in 2019/20, there was a near 40% increase in the number of compensation claims brought for Noise Induced Hearing Loss compared to the preceding 12 months.
The impact of Noise Induced Hearing Loss cannot be underestimated. It’s not just a difficulty in hearing and understanding others, sufferers can face a lifetime of other symptoms and the long-term consequences of NIHL can be devastating. Symptoms include:
- tinnitus – a distressing and often constant ringing or buzzing in the ear
- stress and depression
- social isolation
Studies also link hearing loss with a decline in brain function. So, it’s imperative that our hearing is protected.
For several decades, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been subject to a lawful duty to provide its serving men and women with equipment which enables them to fulfil their roles without being exposed to an unacceptable risk of injury.
This includes ear defenders.
If you dig deeper, you will also learn that, in accordance with policies issued by the Secretary of State for Defence, the MOD is also required:
- To minimise work-related injuries and reduce health and safety risks so that they are as low as reasonably practicable;
- Within the UK, to comply with all applicable health and safety legislation;
- Overseas, to apply UK arrangements where reasonably practicable;
- Where exempt or entitled to derogate from health and safety legislation, to maintain arrangements that produce outcomes that are, as far as reasonably practicable, at least as good as those required by UK legislation;
- That those in positions of management or command lead by example on health and safety matters by giving it the priority it deserves and maintaining a culture that promotes safety
They didn’t tell you that during Phase 1 training!
Noise Induced Hearing Loss – negligence by the MOD
When the MOD fails to issue you with suitable hearing protection, fails to conduct a regular medical review and, generally, fails to protect you against the risk of suffering NIHL, then a deafened individual can pursue a personal injury claim.
A typical case is where NIHL is identified during periodic testing and you are given a medical downgrade. However, rather than making changes to protect you from exposure to further dangerous levels of noise, nothing is done and your hearing loss worsens, often leading to medical discharge a decade or more before your expected run-out date.
IF THIS IS YOU THEN CALL US
What happens when I make a claim for NIHL?
If you have had an audiogram already, we will ask you to send us your most recent audiogram and ideally, in addition, any audiograms which were conducted prior to you being negligently exposed to the damaging levels of noise. In this way we can compare the before, and the after.
If you’re concerned that you’re suffering from hearing loss that could potentially have been caused by exposure to loud noise during military service, but not yet had an audiogram, as a veteran it should be simple for you to arrange a test locally. They are easy to undergo and painless!
Alma Law have a unique and unrivalled expertise in military claims. We are led by solicitor Grant Evatt, a former Army Commando and Platoon Weapons Instructor. He is an authority in military claims with over 20 years of experience.
Access to your service medical records, personnel and unit files will be required to enable us to understand your whole case and to prepare a detailed witness statement from you in which you can explain, in your own words, how, when and where you were exposed to damaging levels of noise. We will arrange for you to be assessed by independent medical experts who may ask you to undergo further assessments in order that they can be quite certain of the extent of the damage that you have suffered.
If we can prove and win your case, significant personal injury damages will follow.
We would urge all military personnel and veterans who have sustained NIHL during their service and are unsure of their rights, to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation about pursuing a personal injury claim for their injuries and financial losses.