£48,000 Settlement: Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Our Client’s Background
The client served as an RAF Fire Fighter, Senior Aircraftsman and Corporal from 8th February 2008 until December 2018. Furthermore, in September 2016, our client confirmed his promotion from Senior Aircraftsman to Corporal. During this time our client served at various locations. As a result of inadequate noise protection equipment, our client made a claim for military noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus.
Working Conditions Resulting in Noise Induced Hearing Loss
The client worked in and around different aircraft, helicopters, and vehicles, responding to incidents and drills. Notably, from 2008 to 2018, he endured repeated exposure to loud engine noise without consistently having access to hearing protection.
Deployment to the Falkland Islands
From February 2010 to June 2010, our client was deployed to the Falkland Islands where he would work in and around different aircrafts on a daily basis. On arrival he was required to carry out zeroed weapon firing whereby he was required to fire 50-60 rounds of living firing in addition to what others were firing. The client cannot recall that he was ever provided with any form of hearing protection during this time.
In August 2011, the client was sent on pre-deployment training and he was required to attend RAF Honnington and RAF Barnham for a 2 week period. The client was required to carry out 3 days live range firing of around 500-600 rounds and 5 days exercise of blank firing of 600-1,000 rounds. He recalls being provided with small yellow disposable ear plugs at during this time.
Deployment to Afghanistan
Furthermore, the client was deployed to Afghanistan from 25th September 2011 to 27th January 2012. In the first week he had to carry out a live firing range exercise to zero weapon 50-100 rounds. He reports that once a month after this, he would carry out a zeroed weapon exercise in the same manner. Following the first week acclimatisation training, the client would have to respond to inbound and outbound aero meds every day. He reports that he would deal with around 15-30 patient transfers a day. He worked in and around helicopters and other aircraft with their engines running at full power for 20-30 minutes at any one time when he was dealing with an incident. The client would be provided with small yellow foam ear plugs which were supplied but not always enough to go around and sometimes none were available due to short supply.
Further Pre-Deployment Training
In April 2013, our client underwent pre-deployment training, attending RAF Honnington and RAF Barnham for a two-week period. During this training, the client had to engage in three days of live range firing, involving approximately 500-600 rounds, and five days of exercises with blank firing, totalling 600-1,000 rounds. He recalls being provided with small yellow disposable ear plugs at during this time. Furthermore, he had to attend a 2 day pistol training course of around 50-100 rounds of live firing. The client cannot recall if he was provided with any hearing protection during this time.
Further Deployment to Afghanistan
Next, our client actively served in Afghanistan again from May 25, 2013, to September 27, 2013. In the first week, he had to carry out a live firing range exercise to zero weapon 50-100 rounds. He reports that once a month after this, he would carry out a zeroed weapon exercise in the same manner. Following the first week acclimatisation training, the client would have to respond to inbound and outbound aero meds every day. He reports that he would deal with around 10-20 patient transfers a day. He worked in and around helicopters and other aircraft with their engines running at full power for 20-30 minutes at any one time when he was dealing with an incident. The client would receive small yellow foam earplugs; however, they were not always sufficient for everyone, and at times, none were available due to a shortage in supply.
Deployment to Brunei
From May to September 2017, the client actively served in Brunei, where his responsibilities included working in or around helicopters. He would have to be in or around these around 10-15 times a day for 20-30 minutes at a time. The client reports that the lack of hearing protection was due to their team being the first deployed, resulting in a shortage of equipment and insufficient protection.
How Our Client’s Deployments and Training Led to Noise Induced Hearing Loss
During deployments and while at the base, our client faced exposure to noise from loud vehicles, sirens, petrol-powered pumps, saws, and other cutting equipment used in day-to-day operations. Furthermore, the client reports that there was aircraft engine noise, both when the engines were running but also when on standby. Noise from dangerous goods moves as well as hot refuels and defuels. This meant close proximity to aircrafts whilst the engines were running.
The specific noise would be from aircraft engine runs and refuels and DG moves and medical transfers.
When on exercise and on deployment training, the client, and other individuals, could fire up to 200 rounds a day or live or blank rounds. The client would use different weapons such as SA-80 rifles, 5.56 calibres and also Browning 9mm pistols. He could also face exposure to noise from controlled explosions and IDF strikes.
The client would face exposure to noise at all hours, day or night in the UK, whenever called upon for specific aircraft moves or emergencies. When he was on deployments, whenever the helicopters came in with wounded troops, he would have to attend immediately, day or night, and transfer the wounded from the aircrafts, whilst the engines were still running, to the ambulances that were waiting nearby. The client would be near this and carrying this out, as mentioned above, to around 30+ times a day.
The client would be within 6 inches to 1 foot or less at times from the noise exposure reported above.
As a result, exposure to noise often made it difficult for the client to communicate with others. Shouting proved ineffective, leading him to resort to using hand signals.
Inadequate Hearing Protection Results in Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Despite the evident risk of noise-induced hearing loss, the client frequently chose not to use proper hearing protection during drills, live firing exercises, and deployments. Although sporadically available, the personnel sometimes lost and inconsistently replaced the protection.
Moreover, despite undergoing annual hearing tests, the client and others who failed often had to retake the test. This continued until they achieved a satisfactory score. Consequently, no one ever informed the client about whether he had any hearing deficiency or if there were any issues.
Industrial disease solicitor, Stacy Pimlott obtained a medical report as evidence supporting the client’s military noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus condition. This report was a result of service from Graham Cox. Additionally, Stacy Pimlott requested another report from an audiologist regarding the provision of hearing aids.
Expert solicitor, Stacy Pimlott undertook the case, highlighting the client’s extensive exposure to hazardous noise without adequate protection. The legal claim focused on seeking compensation for the client’s military noise induced hearing loss and associated conditions.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss Claim Resolution
With the expert legal guidance of our military/industrial disease solicitor, Stacy Pimlott, our client secured a substantial settlement of £48,000.00. This compensation recognises the impact of the client’s dedicated service and the resulting industrial disease.
This case underscores the importance of ensuring the welfare of military personnel by providing consistent protective measures against occupational hazards. Stacy Pimlott’s commitment to securing justice for our client demonstrates her expertise in handling complex military industrial disease claims.
Making a Claim for Military Noise Induced Hearing Loss
If you have experienced hearing loss in the armed forces resulting in permanent or disabling hearing damage, we can help you with your hearing loss claim to get you the compensation you deserve. Start your workplace hearing loss claim with AWH today on a no-win, no-fee basis.Get in touch
Hear more about the member(s) of our team featured above:
- Stacy Pimlott Senior Associate Solicitor/Team Manager view profile