RBL announce research into veterans’ hearing impairment with University of Chester

Ann Griffiths, RBL’s Head of Policy and Research, on an exciting new research project with University of Chester Westminster Centre for Veterans’ Research, looking at the impact of hearing impairment among working age veterans in the UK.

Over the next 18 months, we’ll be working together to understand more about how common an issue hearing impairment is, and how it affects the lives of working age veterans.

This is important because there’s little research in the UK examining this issue, while studies from other countries suggest hearing loss is a common injury from service.

Previous RBL surveys and experience delivering support, such as the Veterans Hearing Fund, also suggest working age veterans may be at particular risk of experiencing hearing difficulties.

This is an issue potentially affecting tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of veterans, with possible knock-on effects to wellbeing, work, and families.

“We are very pleased to be working with the RBL to deliver this vital research project which aims to support veterans suffering from hearing damage. We encourage as many veterans as possible to participate.”

Dr Alan Finnegan, Professor of Nursing and Military Mental Health and Director of the Westminster Centre for Veterans’ Research at the University of Chester

Improving our understanding of the veteran experience

The research will help us understand more about the issues veterans experience, their thoughts about and experiences of support available, and what more can be done in future to improve services and outcomes.

RBL and University of Chester will use this insight to influence future policy and practice, as well as helping break new ground on the evidence base about hearing impairment in the UK, which we hope can lead to further development of knowledge and innovation in services in the long term.

Research will include

  • a thorough review of previous research
  • analysis of primary healthcare data
  • a large survey and interviews with veterans experiencing hearing impairment – survey is now live here: RBL Hearing Survey (onlinesurveys.ac.uk)
  • a focus group to test findings and help develop recommendations

The work will be steered by an Expert Reference Group, bringing together experts with wide-ranging professional and lived experience including from the NHS, RCGP, law, military psychiatry, charities, academia, Ministry of Defence, and veterans with hearing difficulties. We are excited to be at the forefront of this work.

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