Ex-Marine Receives Over £700,000 Damages for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss


Anyone who reads the news will know that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is facing a multitude of claims by services personnel who sustained noise-induced hearing loss. In one such case, an ex-Royal Marine who was stricken by tinnitus following an overseas training exercise received over £700,000 in compensation.

Most of the damage to the man’s hearing was likely to have been caused during the large-scale exercise in California. Amongst other things, a heavy machine gun was operated within 10 metres of his position; grenades and other ordnance went off close to him during urban warfare training in a dummy town and F16 fighter jets dropped concrete bombs, giving rise to loud reports.

He began to notice intrusive, high-pitched ringing in his left ear shortly after his return to the UK. His bilateral hearing loss progressively worsened and ultimately led to his discharge from the Marines on medical grounds. After he issued proceedings, the MoD admitted breach of statutory duty and negligence, including failing to provide him with suitable hearing protection.

Ruling on his case, the High Court rejected the MoD’s argument that he was in part responsible for his own injury. He did take steps to protect himself and he did, as best he could, wear such hearing protection as was provided to him. He was reliant on the equipment issued to him and the failure to ensure that his hearing was properly safeguarded was entirely the fault of the MoD.

His hearing loss amounted to a disability in that it had a substantial adverse effect on his day-to-day activities. He was awarded a total of £713,716 in damages, including £27,500 for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity, £8,000 for the loss of his congenial employment in the Marines and over £630,000 in respect of his past and future loss of earnings and loss of pension entitlement.

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