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Armed Forces: Hearing Impaired

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make an assessment of the need to provide for hearing specialists at Camp Bastion hospital to treat servicemen and women whose hearing has been affected by explosions or the use of munitions. (262185)

[holding answer 10 March 2009]: The medical facilities at Camp Bastion already include the means of examining the hearing of personnel who have been exposed to explosions or the use of munitions, and medical staff at Camp Bastion already institute hearing conservation measures when audiometry indicates that it is appropriate to do so for an individual.

The Ministry of Defence takes the issue of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) seriously and we are continually looking at ways of monitoring and mitigating the risk in operational scenarios, including the development of improved hearing protection, while not hampering the operational effectiveness of combat personnel. A study is currently under way to determine the numbers of personnel that have been affected by acute acoustic trauma, the results of which will help to inform future policy on treatment and the provision of specialist support. I have met with The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) to discuss how they can further assist us and it has been agreed that they will have a representative at the Surgeon General’s Working Group on Hearing Loss.