Work Related Hearing Loss


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By Grace Hickman

on Monday 18 December 2017


noisy work environment

Loss of hearing is commonly associated with getting older but many don’t realise that they can become deaf through working in noisy environments. Hearing loss can be suffered at different levels of severity. Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, depending on the length and type of exposure to noise at work.

Causes of industrial hearing loss

Hearing loss can be caused by a number of different reasons but typically i results from a sudden loud noise or from long exposure to high levels of noise. There are limits on the acceptable levels of noice you can be exposed to in the workplace regulated by thecontrol of noise at work regulations 2005.

Sudden hearing loss

Hearing damage can be immediate if someone is exposed to a sudden, loud outburst of sound, like an explosion, gunshot or a piercing noise through a telephone or speaker. It can also develop later in life if you have been exposed to noise in a working environment without sufficient protection on a regular basis and over a long period of time.

Temporary or permanent hearing loss

In some instances, the damaged hairs in your ears can repair and any hearing loss could diminish and return back to normal, meaning that it is a temporary loss of hearing. In worse cases, the ears may not repair and people have to resort to hearing aids, implants and relying on lip reading or in more severe cases, sign language, which can be costly and distressing.

Long exposure hearing loss

People working in the music industry, construction, manufacturing, engineering, textile production, and many others could be at risk of exposure to high noise levels. For those lucky enough not to have experienced any form of work related hearing loss, it may be easy to forget about making sure you are protected at work; ultimately, it is your employer’s responsibility.

Types of work induced hearing loss 

Just like causes, there are a number of different types of hearing loss that can occur in a noise working environment. They tend to range in severity and therefore the compensation amounts will be calculated differently for each one.

The main types of hearing loss are:

  • Temporary loss of hearing
  • Permanent loss of hearing
  • Acoustic Shock Syndrome
  • Tinnitus

Some symptoms of these conditions include: ringing in one ear or both, disturbed sleep patterns because of the noise, pain from perforated eardrums and inability to follow conversations with others, particularly in places with background noise. Dealing with symptoms such as these could lead to further effects such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

To find out more about the types, causes and symptoms of hearing loss, click here.

Statistics for Noise Induced Hearing Loss in the UK

The Disability Facts and Figures (6th edition) state that last year, there were an estimated 10 million people in the UK, if not more, suffering from some form of hearing loss and over 800,000 severely or extremely deaf.

Over 6 million of sufferers are 65 or over and although hearing loss is commonly known to come about with age, it could still mean that the majority of those were affected by noise during their working days and it has just taken a longer period of time to transpire.

These statistics are ever-increasing and it has even been predicted that by 2035, the number will have rocketed drastically to around 15.6 million people tolerating hearing loss.

In addition to the increasing number of workers suffering hearing impairments, over the last few years there has also been a significant rise in the number of submitted noise-induced hearing loss claims, otherwise known as industrial deafness claims. More and more are recognising that they aren’t or weren’t adequately protected in working environments of loud noise exposure.

Making a Claim for Noise Induced Hearing Loss

If you feel you are suffering from work related hearing loss, here are some of the tips and stages you should follow when thinking about hearing loss compensation:

  • Get a hearing check done as soon as you suspect you have noise-induced hearing loss. A medical professional will use the report and results to determine whether the impairment was caused by noise exposure at work or not. Although this isn’t vital, an audiogram will help towards a potentially successful hearing loss claim. Make sure you keep a copy of any reports.

  • The hearing loss claim should be submitted within 3 years of the date you were exposed to loud noise that caused your hearing loss, or the date you realised your hearing damage was associated with work related noise exposure (‘date of knowledge’).

  • Get in touch with the right people for advice and guidance and who use expert solicitors who specialise in making hearing loss claims.

  • Once you have a solicitor, they will help you collate necessary information: colleague witness statements, proof of employment and records of risk assessments carried out by your employer.

No Win No Fee Hearing Loss Claims

Accident Line Direct works in your favour on a No Win No Fee policy; meaning that if your hearing loss claim was to be unsuccessful, your solicitor will not charge you any fees. If the opposite is true, your solicitor will charge you a fee for achieving a positive outcome with your hearing loss claim. The current ‘success fee’ with most solicitors stands at approximately 25% of the total hearing compensation amount.

With No Win No Fee, we reduce any financial stress or risks, meaning that you won’t be out of pocket either way.

Accident Line Direct

At Accident Line Direct, we can provide you with free-of-charge, no-obligation advice. Our team of experienced advisors are ready to help, with the aim of leaving out any legal or medical jargon and providing you with simple, informative and clear advice on your situation and anything else you may need.

If you feel you have suffered any industrial hearing loss due to a negligent employer, or you just want to know more, contact us today and we can help guide you through the process of getting the hearing loss compensation you deserve or just with answering any queries you may have.

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