The very real problems of noise induced hearing loss challenging British armed forces serving in Afghanistan has been raised previously, yet it seems growing numbers of serviceman are still leaving the army in 2011 suffering with hearing loss caused by combat conditions.
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It has been estimated that one in every six people experience the effects of tinnitus at some point in their lives yet fail to recognise the condition because the “whistling, rushing or ringing” sounds heard in their ears are thought to be temporary and mostly ignored.
In the current economic climate, fear of losing your job for any reason is raised to new heights. Amongst the ten million people in the UK with hearing loss, of whom, around 3.7 million are of working age, hiding any slight inability to hear distinctly can also easily turn into simple self-denial, which can stay with someone for years after retirement.
Many retired men and women who spent most of their working lives on the ‘shopfloor’ of UK industry and manufacturing right up until the late 1970s, 80s and beyond will recall just how easy it was to forget about ‘factory noise’ and get used to simply using hand signals or shout when you needed to make yourself understood!
There will be 14.5 million people with hearing loss in the UK by 2031, according to a recent estimate by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID). Of the 10 million people in the UK who currently suffer some form of hearing disability, over 800,000 have severe or profound impairment or industrial deafness.