Suki Bains, a Regional information coordinator from Action on Hearing Loss explains everything you need to know about Action on Hearing Loss' Aged Veterans Fund project which runs until March 2020 offering support to both Aged Veterans and their families. This service is part of a portfolio of projects along with the British Tinnitus Association's research project, which explores the impact of tinnitus on aged veterans.

What is the Aged Veterans Fund?

Funded by The Chancellor using LIBOR Funds, our three-year Aged Veterans project offers information, advice, support and signposting to veterans with hearing loss and tinnitus born before 1st January 1950, including those with undiagnosed hearing loss. We are also able to work with family members and carers, and can provide support in community and residential sessions, as well as on a one-to-one basis at home for veterans unable to access local services. Locally developed and led, our service also includes working with community groups and partners to support them to become more inclusive of veterans with hearing loss, and our aim is to have a lasting impact on the services that veterans receive across the breadth of areas where we work.

Since 2017, we have helped over 3,000 veterans, as well as giving support to 800 family members and carers. Our experienced team attend regional events, give talks, make visits to community groups and, where possible, visit veterans and their families in their homes to provide information and support.

Who can use the service?

All veterans with hearing loss and tinnitus born before 1st January 1950, including those with undiagnosed hearing loss. Family members and carers of veterans are also able to access our information and support, as are community groups working with veterans, or those wishing to make their services more accessible to veterans with hearing loss.

Why we support veterans with hearing loss

Hearing loss is a common health issue in the armed forces. Many veterans have been repeatedly exposed to loud noise from small arms fire, artillery, engines and other machinery, and explosions, during service, which caused permanent hearing damage.

The 2014 Lost Voices report, produced by the Royal British Legion with our support, found that veterans under the age of 75 are around three and a half times more likely to experience hearing loss than the general population.

Studies show that the decibel levels for routine military activities far exceed the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommendation of regular exposure to no more than 85 decibels. For example, a jet take-off at 25m is 150 decibels, and the general noise level on an aircraft carrier deck is 140 decibels. Jet and helicopter flyovers/landings routinely exceed 100 decibels, whilst small arms fire is frequently around 140 decibels and rockets and/or canons can reach 185 decibels. Health.mil research notes that noise exposure exceeding recommended levels can be a 24/7 experience for those serving in the Armed Forces, and it is the prolonged exposure for those serving that poses the most significant risk of developing hearing loss and Tinnitus.

 

Where are we based?

Our services are available across England, as well as North and South Wales, and Northern Ireland.

What we offer

We provide information and support to older veterans in local community settings or through home visits for those who are unable to travel.

We offer:

  • basic hearing checks
  • information about assistive equipment
  • support to help you access NHS services
  • information on benefits
  • information about local community groups
  • other complementary information and support.

We also provide support to the families and carers of older veterans with hearing loss or tinnitus, and work with community groups to enable them to be more inclusive of veterans with hearing loss.

Who to contact

To find out more about how our Aged Veterans project can support you, please contact: our Information Line.

Telephone:    0808 808 0123 (freephone)
Textphone:    0808 808 9000 (freephone)
Email:           [email protected]

If you are in London or South East and wish to find out more, get in touch with Suki Bains via email [email protected] or via her manager Sinead Armitage on 020 3227 6004.  

The Royal British Legion manage both the British Tinnitus Association's Veterans research project and Action on Hearing Loss' Aged Veterans Fund.