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Hearing Loss

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 11 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South of 20 July 2005, Official Report, column 1753W, on health and safety, what estimate he has made of the number of servicemen and women who have experienced hearing loss as a result of their service in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. (89843)

As my predecessor said, there are currently no specific measures in place to monitor the prevalence of noise-related hearing loss among servicemen and women serving in Iraq. This is also the case in Afghanistan—personnel deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan do not undergo specific pre- or post-deployment hearing tests. No estimate has therefore been made of the number of personnel who have experienced hearing loss as a result of their service in those operational theatres.

However, hearing tests of all service personnel are carried out at periodic medical examinations, which will detect deployment-related hearing loss.

The MOD also has robust hearing conservation procedures in place across the services and I refer the hon. Member to my predecessor’s answer of 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 2114W to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) which gives information on these procedures.