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Armed Forces: Hearing Impaired

Volume 461: debated on Monday 11 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to reassess the 50 decibels threshold at which hearing loss due to service can be compensated. (139859)

[holding answer 4 June 2007]: The compensation threshold for “hearing loss due to service” applies only to bilateral noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss. It does not apply to other forms of hearing loss or injury, such as that caused by blast. The 50 dB threshold was introduced into the war pensions scheme in 1993 as part of a package of changes which focused benefits on the more severely disabled and is also common to the related Civilian Industrial Injuries Disablement Scheme. The same threshold is used for compensating for this condition in the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, which also focuses on the more severely injured. This approach is based on contemporary scientific evidence and understanding. This has been confirmed in recent years by several reviews carried out by independent audiological experts. There are no plans to review the threshold, although we remain open to consider new evidence that may arise.