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Military Hearing Loss Claims

Many military personnel are being diagnosed with a significant one sided hearing loss: 

  • Is this caused by the way that shooting exposes the left ear to noise more than the right ear? 
  • Is there any connection with communication devices, such as Personal Role Radio (PRR)? 
  • Is this preventing the use of hearing protection of the left ear, or is it causing additional loud sound to be directed at an unprotected left ear, or indeed a combination of both?
  • Has the MOD considered the issue at all? 

Whatever the answer, military service hearing loss is causing personnel to be discharged from the armed services. The untimely end to a career, in for instance the army, can have significant financial and psychological effect, in addition to the injury itself. 

What sort of noise exposure might there be in the Services?
As an example, a gunner in the RAF Regiment will undergo a significant amount of weapons training prior to and in preparation for deployment. He may be trained in the use of blank and live ammunition such as:

  • L85 A2 rifles (IW) and L86 A2 
  • light machine guns (LMGs)
  • general purpose machine guns (GPMGs)
  • grenade machine guns (GMG)
  • heavy machine guns (HMGs)
  • pistols (including Glock 17, Browning and SIG pistols) 
  • grenades
  • mortars (including both 60mm and 81mm)
  • under slung grenade launchers (UGL) 
Noise Induced Hearing Loss for Military Services 
In addition to noise exposure from weapons and armoury, service men and women can be exposed to excessive noise from the following: 

  • providing simulated resistance to house clearance drills
  • enemy contact
  • IED (improvised explosive devices) detonation
  • transport to the patrol area by helicopter or ground vehicle

Building on our experience from years of dealing with noise induced hearing loss claims, at NewLaw we have specialist solicitors that can offer advice on your military hearing loss claim.

How can claiming for hearing loss compensation help me?
Claiming compensation will give you access to the best rehabilitation providers and maximise your recovery following the accident. The NHS provides excellent care at the acute stage following an injury, but long term rehabilitation, especially in the community, can be lacking. Making a successful claim for compensation will mean funding is made available for a range of expert input.

If we believe that you have reasonable prospects of success, then we will discuss all the funding options for making a claim with you. Military hearing loss claims are usually dealt with on a no-win no-fee basis. 

To succeed in your claim, you will need to prove that your hearing loss and/or tinnitus has been caused by exposure to excessive noise during your military service. In addition, it will be necessary to prove that the MOD has been negligent or in breach of their statutory duties (pursuant, for instance, to the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005). 

In some cases, they may try to argue the combat immunity defence. It is in our opinion that in many cases this will not be relevant for most of the exposure to excessive noise levels.

NewLaw are experts in making deafness claims, including for former military personnel. Noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus are generally not common in young people.

In the armed services, personnel should be subject to regular hearing tests to ensure that they are not suffering from progressive hearing problems.

What we will do
In each and every case, we will carefully assess your prospects of success with you.

Our team will discuss with you in detail your exposure to excessive noise, including during training, as well as following deployment. We will discuss your hearing problems and how they impact upon you on a day-to-day basis.

We appreciate that being discharged from the armed services as a result of medical disability can have a devastating effect for individual service men and women and their families. We understand that there are likely to be financial implications, including continuing loss of earnings into the future. We take into account military career forecasts when assessing future loss of earnings. We will also include the cost of treatment where appropriate, and the future purchase of hearing aids.

Making a civil claim for compensation is a type of personal injury claim. This is of course different to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. You can find out further information about this scheme, which is in addition to making a personal injury claim, by contacting NewLaw Solicitors.

What are the symptoms of Noise Induced Hearing Loss?  
Noise causes damage to the inner ear and the technical term used for it is sensorineural hearing loss. Common complaints for a person with noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) can include having the television and radio too loud for the rest of the family.

Wives, partners, family members and friends often complain that military personnel affected by hearing loss do not respond to their calls. Initially this might be thought to be 'selective' hearing, but after a while it might dawn that the hearing loss is genuine. 

The problems will include not hearing properly in a group, particularly when out and there is background noise, for instance from other people talking and from background music. Not being able to hear properly can ruin the enjoyment of a film in the cinema, or listening to music. Sometimes it can be more difficult to hear children speak because their voices are high pitched than adults.

In addition to not being able to hear as well, the other main problem that a person with noise induced hearing loss may suffer with is tinnitus. This is the sensation of hearing a noise or noises such as ringing, buzzing or hissing. Tinnitus can have little effect on some people, yet for others it may be devastating. Very worst cases suffer from psychiatric illness and even consider suicide.

Time Limits for claiming 
Like all injury claims, there are strict time limits to make a personal injury claim for hearing loss against the MOD. 

Delay in bringing a claim may mean no claim. It is therefore essential to contact us as soon as possible, so that our experienced hearing loss team at NewLaw can advise you immediately of your rights.

Court proceedings must be started within 3 years of the injury, or as in most cases of noise damage, within 3 years of becoming aware of hearing problems caused by exposure to excessive noise during time with the services.

Not taking action may mean that your claim will be out of time. The court may allow the claim to continue, however we urge you not to take the risk. Contact us at NewLaw as soon as possible, so that we can give you the best possible advice.

Why choose NewLaw Solicitors for your military hearing loss compensation?
NewLaw Solicitors has helped thousands of people to claim for their loss of hearing whilst working for an employer. Occupational Deafness is nothing new to our experienced team, and we are urging those in the military to come forward and speak to us about the exposure to noise levels that has caused a hearing problem. 

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