Minister for Veterans, Kevan Jones, praised the work of charities and other key stakeholders during a symposium on noise induced hearing loss jointly organised by the charity Deafness Research UK and the MoD at the UCL Ear Institute on Monday 7 December.
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 and the practical problems faced during military operations.
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 through one simple phone call. At this stage its just a pilot scheme but Im hoping its 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 UKs 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.
Notes to editors
About Deafness Research UK
Deafness Research UK is the countrys only charity dedicated to finding new cures, treatments and technologies for deaf, hard of hearing and other hearing impaired people.
The charity supports high quality medical research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all forms of hearing impairment including tinnitus.
Deafness Research UK is entirely dependent on voluntary donations, gifts and personal legacies. You can donate online at www.deafnessresearch.org.uk , or call 0207 7833 1733 for further information on how to support the charity.
In January 2008, Action for Tinnitus Research (ATR) was linked with Deafness Research UK under a uniting direction order under section 96(6) of the Charities Act 1993.
One in seven people in the UK almost nine million people – suffer hearing loss.
Deafness Research UK was founded in 1985 by Lord (Jack) and Lady Ashley of Stoke.
Jon Gardner, BeyondPR. Direct line 0114 275 6996. Mobile 07930 697773. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ref: DR-UK0177 MoD