Defence chiefs face a £100million compensation bill over troops
suffering post-combat deafness.
Up to 2,000 serving and former military personnel are understood to be planning legal claims.
The MoD has already paid out almost £70m in the past eight years to 10,339 found to have hearing loss or severe tinnitus caused by the noise of battle.
But that is expected to exceed £100m in the next few years because of the rising size of payouts.
Many have claimed careers were destroyed after they were medically downgraded.
All troops are given earplugs or headphones in live firing training.
But many ditched them in firefights in Afghanistan and Iraq as they caused communication problems.
Freedom of Information figures show payouts in the past few years quadrupled, while the number of cases remained fairly steady.
In 2015/16, the MoD paid out £3.79m over 795 claims, but in 2018/19 its bill was £11.73m for 809.
The average payout was around £14,500, but some High Court awards have hit six figures, with lawyers arguing troops should be compensated for loss of future earnings.
Last year ex-Royal Marine Alistair Inglis, 39, received more than £500,000 for hearing damage in Afghanistan.
His payout included around £480,000 for future loss of earnings and pension.
His lawyer Harry Steinberg said: “His employer failed to protect him in a job where he was putting his life on the line.”
An MoD spokesman said: “We have measures in place to minimise the risk of hearing loss to service personnel.”