Ex-soldier launches £160,000 lawsuit over loss of hearing

British troops serving in Afghanistan. Picture: Cpl Ross Fernie RLC

British troops serving in Afghanistan. Picture: Cpl Ross Fernie RLC - Credit: Cpl Ross Fernie RLC

A former soldier has launched a £160,000 lawsuit against the Ministry of Defence over loss of hearing while in service - claiming the sounds of gunfire deafened him.

John Green, of Falcon Crescent in Costessey, is attempting to sue the MoD for the six-figure sum, accusing it of negligence and failing to provide him with adequate hearing protection.

While the MoD says health and safety is "a foremost priority", Mr Green claims his time in the military, which began in August 2001 when he joined the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian, has left him in need of digital hearing aids.

In a writ issued at the High Court, Mr Green said he now suffers from high-frequency hearing loss and moderate tinnitus as a result of being exposed to the sounds of gunfire and explosions.

The court papers say he was exploded to the noise of thousands of rounds of ammunition during training as well as various other types of artillery, including different types of grenades, machine guns and anti-tank weaponry.

The writ adds that he was frequently exposed to noise from weapons, helicopters and military vehicles while deployed in Iraq and during six months in Afghanistan.

It claims that in 2008 he was medically downgraded after a hearing test revealed his hearing had deteriorated, meaning he was not supposed to fire weapons - but that the following year he was sent to Afghanistan to train police.

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During this deployment, it was not thought he would be exposed to significant noise but claims he continually was while doing range work.

And in a year, he estimates he fired around 10,000 rounds while taking the Junior Brecon SBCB course to become a small arms instructor.

In the papers he claims he was sometimes given ear muff and ear plugs, but that these would fall out and that while in Afghanistan in 2007, he ha to purchase his own hearing protection.

Mr Green has accused the MoD of negligence, saying it failed to provide him with suitable hearing protection and had exposed him to unnecessary risk of injury.

An MoD spokesman though, said: “Health and safety is a foremost priority on both training and operations. We carefully assess noise levels and provide appropriate hearing protection when asking personnel to undertake duties in noisy environments.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further on this ongoing case.”