A Cardiff based audiologist has told the press that he now sees a soldier with hearing damage at least once every two weeks, whilst Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokespeople say that current levels of hearing loss compensation are due to increase shortly.
Soldiers in active service are often caught in a catch-22 situation as, although issued with hearing protection, many choose not to wear it because it lessens their ability to hear orders and dulls awareness of their surrounding environment.
Consequently, a road-side bomb blast and/or the constant damage-inducing rattle of machine gun fire has seen a mini epidemic of young servicemen seeking treatment for noise induced hearing loss and hearing loss compensation.
Kevin Thomas, a registered hearing aid audiologist in Cardiff, said, "Often it is the left ear that receives the most damage, as this is the ear that is not protected by the rifle butt which is held close to the right ear. It will emit a noise of 120 decibels which is very high.
"My advice to those fighting in Afghanistan or any other conflict zones would be to treat hearing protection as they would other protection devices worn in battle.
"Damage sustained to your hearing is usually permanent, so it is important to take all precautions available.
"Some hearing loss and tinnitus [ringing in the ears] may be relieved by a hearing aid."
Currently MoD hearing loss compensation ranges from £5,250 for minimal hearing damage to £46,000 for total deafness. These figures are due to increase to £5,775 and £92,000 respectively.