Anonymous British troops launching mortar rounds
Scotland

Charities Issue Warning Over Sight And Hearing Loss In Veterans

Veterans are at greater risk of losing their sight and hearing than other members of society.

Anonymous British troops launching mortar rounds

Forces personnel are at greater risk to hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises (Picture: MOD).

Three Scottish charities have issued a warning that military veterans are at greater risk of losing their hearing or sight than other members of society.

Age Scotland, Action on Hearing Loss and Scottish War Blinded are urging veterans to be given screening so that those at risks of losing their hearing can be identified at an early stage.

Veterans, the organisations note, are at greater risk because many were exposed to loud noises, such as gunfire and battlefield explosions, during their military careers.

The charities also want the registration process for the Certificate for Vision Impairment to be changed, with every individual asked whether they served in the Armed Forces.

Rebecca Barr, director of Scottish War Blinded, said: "It is vital that veterans who are concerned about their sight have it checked as soon as possible, so that they can access the support available to them."

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Action on Hearing Loss Scotland director Teri Devine said: "We want older veterans to be screened for hearing loss so they can access the person-centred support they need to reduce the impact of deafness in their everyday lives.

"People on average take up to 10 years before getting their hearing tested from the point they first notice hearing difficulties."

Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: "Older veterans with sight and hearing loss often miss out on a wealth of support available to them, either because they are unaware it is available, or because they don't realise they count as a veteran.

"Anyone aged 65 years and older who has done and received pay for at least one day's service in the UK Armed Forces is classed as an older veteran, including national servicemen, reservists and merchant navy who have supported a military operation."

The groups have put together a guide for military members on how best to get help.

"This practical guide for older veterans who are living with sensory loss, primarily sight and hearing, details in clear, concise language the advice and support available," said Scotland's Veterans Commissioner, Charlie Wallace.