Out of all the Royal Marine Commandos who served in Afghanistan, almost 70 percent are going deaf due to noise of combat! This is also true of American soldiers that are having to work near loud equipment. One example of a man who worked with computers went deaf.
The constant roar of generators along with the hum of computer servers and the high-powered air conditioners required to cool them damaged Cripps’ hearing and left an intermittent ringing in his ears. (News Observer)
The problem is so widespread that even soldiers that have not been deployed but gone through basic training are suffering from some sort of deafening sounds at some point because of guns going off or loud noises. Among American soldiers, at least 1/4 of them have been losing their hearing because of noises and as they get older, their natural hearing derogation will contribute to the “problem”.
One ideal solution is to use already Deaf individuals in place of those soldiers that suffer the highest percentage of hearing loss because they are already Deaf and will not suffer those side effects. This is not to say that they wouldn’t be harmed but this would reduce the amount of side effects the Army has to worry about.
Meanwhile, in Britain, there has been evidence that all of the individuals from the Royal Marines have audio metric evidence consistent with noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and this is basically because the blast of a gun or a medium sized explosion is roughly 140 dB. In comparison, staff in Britain are already being protected in places of employment from having to be exposed to things over 85 decibels for long periods of time.
An MoD spokesman said they were trying out new ear protection for personnel on operations to protect them from the effects of loud explosions and gunfire. He said: “The system uses a custom moulded earplug with an inbuilt microphone to cut the noise impact of loud explosions while still giving the wearer the ability to hear colleagues. Feedback from trials with soldiers in training and in theater have allowed the rapid development of new, easy-to-fit earplugs that stay in place.” (The Guardian)
With those numbers, people can have a better idea of how loud these gunfire and explosions are. While soldiers that lose their hearing are not necessarily an international part of the community because they haven’t been raised or exposed to our community, they are going to be going through a lot of the same struggles and need the community’s support.