Armed forces veterans must act quickly if they are having problems with their hearing or sight, three Scottish charities have urged.
With veterans at greater risk of developing sensory impairment, Age Scotland, Action on Hearing Loss and Scottish War Blinded are calling for screening for veterans to identify those who are losing their hearing at an early stage.
The charities are also campaigning to raise awareness of the help available to veterans with vision or hearing loss, often caused by being exposed to loud noises such gunfire and battlefield explosions.
Highlighting the Scottish Government’s recognition of “early diagnosis and intervention”, Action on Hearing Loss Scotland director Teri Devine said: “We want older veterans to be screened for hearing loss so they can access the person-centred support they need to reduce the impact of deafness in their everyday lives.
“People on average take up to 10 years before getting their hearing tested from the point they first notice hearing difficulties. Through our Hearing Forces service, we are supporting older veterans to benefit from using hearing aids, which are most effective when fitted as soon as hearing loss is diagnosed.”
A guide for service personnel has been produced by the groups advising how they can get help, which has been welcomed by Scotland’s Veterans Commissioner Charlie Wallace.
He said: “This practical guide for older veterans who are living with sensory loss, primarily sight and hearing, details in clear, concise language the advice and support available.
“I am sure it will prove to be a welcome addition to the information already available to those living with these conditions and to the health professionals and family members supporting them.”