Minister for Veterans, Kevan Jones, praised the work of charities and other key stakeholders during a symposium jointly organised by the charity Deafness Research UK and the MoD at the UCL Ear Institute yesterday.
‘A Modern Approach to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss from Military Operations’ brought together interested parties from the Armed Forces, the NHS, academic research and the voluntary sector to share and update knowledge of the science relevant to noise induced hearing loss.
Speaking at the symposium, the Minister said he was committed to working with the charity sector to make sure that serving personnel, veterans and their families were aware of the wide range of support available to them.
Kevan Jones said:
“The support that our people deserve is out there and we want to make sure that they can take full advantage of everything that the MoD and charities such as Deafness Research UK provide.
“I want to make sure that people know where to find this invaluable support, which is why I launched the Welfare Pathway in Kent last month – a one stop shop that allows our men and women to access all the support they need. At this stage it’s just a pilot scheme but I’m hoping it’s the start of things to come.”
The Minister added that he acknowledged the achievements of the Defence Hearing Working Group (DHWG), whose members include representatives from the Royal National Institute for Deaf People and Deafness Research UK.
He told the conference that in the past 12 months the DHWG had commenced a hearing study on Royal Marine Units and had introduced an education package to warn deploying infantry of the dangers of exposure to noise.
Deafness Research UK's Chief Executive, Vivienne Michael, said: "Tackling noise induced hearing loss is a real challenge for the armed forces and this meeting is one step towards identifying key areas in research and practice that will improve prevention and management of noise induced hearing loss in the future. As the UK’s foremost research charity in this field Deafness Research UK has a particular interest in how we might use fundamental progress in basic hearing research to inform the practical solutions to this problem. We also want to begin to rebuild the practical knowledge, experience and capacity in the area of noise induced hearing loss which has to some extent been lost in UK over the last 30 years.
"We are delighted to be working in partnership with the MoD to help identify and minimise the risk of deafness and associated hearing conditions, and to offer practical advice and guidance based on the most up-to-date deafness research."
Anyone worried about deafness or seeking information on deafness and other hearing conditions such as tinnitus can contact the Deafness Research UK information line, free of charge, on 0808 808 2222.
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