Military deafness

Being in the armed forces can be a noisy business – whether on land, in the air or at sea. In some ways it’s unavoidable and goes with the territory, particularly if you’ve been on the front line or your role exposed you to extended periods of loud noise.

However, hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) are not inevitable consequences of military life. Like any employer, the MoD has a duty of care to safeguard you from the risk of hearing damage – for example, by providing adequate ear protection against noise from:

  • gun and artillery fire
  • mortars
  • explosions
  • pyrotechnics
  • aircraft noise
  • vehicle engine noise.

You’re not alone

An estimated 300,000* ex-armed forces personnel in the UK suffer from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus. What’s more, if your hearing problems are due to long-term exposure to excessive noise while in service, you might be entitled to compensation. If you think your hearing’s suffered, you may have a case – even if you’ve previously been told you have no hearing problems or been turned down for a payment under the AFCS or War Pension schemes. Both these no-fault schemes have very strict criteria, usually resulting in smaller compensation payments.

You don’t have to suffer in silence

NIHL and tinnitus caused by military equipment can be debilitating, affecting all aspects of life – yet they are avoidable. In military circles, people have known about them for decades, but many sufferers prefer to remain silent, often out of loyalty towards their regiment or the MoD. Or perhaps they feel responsible, as it was their choice to enlist. Or maybe they don’t want to admit to suffering from hearing loss.

Where do you stand?

Unknown to many, Crown Immunity (which protects the MoD from civil or criminal prosecution) was lifted in 1987. This means you have every right to make a claim – even if you’ve previously been turned down through the no-fault and very strict Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) or War Pension Scheme.

Help is at hand – how to make a claim

Whether you’re a veteran or still serving, our highly experienced Military Services team will advise you for free on whether you have a civil claim for compensation. If we think you have a strong case, we’ll represent you on a no-win, no-fee basis. Plus, you can bring a civil claim at the same time as an AFCS or War Pension claim.

The Royal British Legion and Veterans Agency can help you apply for the AFCS or War Pension Scheme, or we can if you prefer. Either way, we always aim to achieve the best outcome for you, and to make the process as straightforward and simple as possible.

Get in touch

If you’ve suffered hearing damage during your time in service – past or present – our team is ready to listen. Get in touch today.

*Source: The Royal British Legion, Lost Voices’ report (2014)

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