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Armed Forces: Hearing Aids

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 2 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in cases of hearing aid tribunals for ex-servicemen whose hearing was damaged during service with the Armed Forces, they have routinely referred to later National Health Service test records when considering the suitability of their first compensation decision, or when assessing a request for review. [HL3305]

National Health Service audiometry records are not routinely used in deciding no-fault compensation claims. Depending on individual circumstances they may be helpful in diagnosis or for assessment if they date from around service termination. No-fault compensation is paid for personal injury and illness causally related to service. Claims are governed by the relevant law and case facts and the MoD is committed to evidence-based policy and decision making. Current generally accepted scientific understanding is that permanent hearing loss due to noise exposure does not improve or worsen on removal from the noise. In addition, when hearing loss due to age or other causes is superimposed on an existing noise-induced loss the overall loss is not more than additive. As a result, under the MoD's compensation schemes, only hearing loss measured at or around service release is included when assessing claims. To include later loss, such as hearing loss due to ageing or other sources of noise, would be to compensate for something which was not due to service.