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hearing loss increased by the traumatic effects of gunfire

I suffer from congenital hearing loss (otosclerosis) much increased by the traumatic effects of gunfire during military service. Some years ago as a result of this latter damage I applied for a disability pension from the UK Government, was firmly resisted by the Army Pensions people, and appealed and was successful and granted a pension now at the 70% level. This has the added advantage of being tax free in the UK!

I was informed by the military pensions people that I was the first ex serviceman to be granted a pension in these particular circumstances.

I had received muted help from the ex servicemen's organisations and when I wrote them telling them of my successful appeal and inviting them to publish it tso that others could benefit, I was told by The British Legion, no less, that "mine was a special case". Special case : my foot! So they no longer get a hand out from me on Armistice Day! Others (more knowledgeable than I) reckon that the army deafened a whole generation of national servicemen. - a bit of an exaggeration but certainly there are probably many thousands in my circumstances as a result of rifle work on ranges with unprotected ears.

As a lawyer and subsequently I resisted the Army's initial offer of a modest lump sum payment in favour of being permitted to take their lump sum BUT remain free to claim a disability pension as my hearing deteriorated with age and the damage done consequently created a greater impact on my hearing.

Matters were not helped I might add by clumsy surgery to correct the congenital defect - otosclerosis.

So now I have a major loss - being a right handed shot, somewhat worse in the left ear than the right.

I was fortunate in being able, as chairman of the Church of England Council for Deaf people, (and as a member of its General Synod) to extend the care of that organisation to include care of the hard of hearing (such as my self) from just care of the deaf - a very different disability indeed.

Paul Rippon


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