Hearing Loss – common questions

What is Noise Induced Hearing Loss?

Noise Induced Hearing Loss, which can also be referred to as occupational deafness or industrial deafness, is a condition that results in the loss of hearing (often over a prolonged period of time) as a consequence of a person’s working environment.

Who is responsible for my hearing whilst at work?

Your Employer has a duty to protect you against any harm or injury whilst at your place of work. It is the responsibility of your employer to provide you with all the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and training you need to perform you job safely.

I was offered ear protection but failed to use it, can I still claim compensation?

No. If hearing protection was provided to you and you did not wear it, or think it was necessary to wear it, then you will not be able to claim for NIHL. It is now mandatory to wear hearing protection and employers should enforce its use.

How much compensation could I receive for a work related hearing loss problem?

This is hard to say, the average claim can range from £1,000 – £10,000. The amount of compensation you could receive will depend on many different factors including amount of noise induced hearing loss, your amount of exposure, the length of your employment, the amount of insured cover and any added symptoms i.e. Tinnitus and its severity.

What evidence do you need?

During the course of the claim’s process your Solicitor will gather detailed information from you in relation to your noisy employment, your symptoms, the effects of your hearing loss on your day to day life etc. The Defendant of your claim will also require relevant information in order to investigate your claim. Later we will gather medical evidence from an ENT expert who will examine you and prepare a report, we may also instruct an Acoustic Engineer.

Which workers are more at risk from noise induced hearing loss?

Anyone who works or has worked in a noisy environment is potentially at risk from NIHL. The main types of noisy working environments include Engineering, Road working, Bottling Plants, Factory’s, Heavy industrial Textiles and Steel Works. Other types of work can also be considered risky if you are subjected to a constant noise of any type.

What are the key signs of noise induced hearing loss?

Most people give the same symptoms and these include – Missing parts of conversation, Turning the TV volume up, Not being able to hear the Telephone/Doorbell, Whistling/Buzzing in the ear(s). Sometimes people do not realise they have NIHL and consider these signs to be a part of getting older.

What are the main work-related causes of hearing loss?

The main causes include, working with machinery or tools which expose the employee to levels of noise above 85dB without hearing protection. The higher the decibel level the less time an employee would need in the noise to cause irreparable damage to their hearing.

Can I still claim if my former employer or organisation is no longer trading?

Yes, your solicitor will investigate the company who employed you. In some instances the company was taken over and the liabilities of your employer were transferred, but in most cases a search of the Employers Liability Tracing Office (ELTO) database will reveal the insurer of your employer during the time of your employment. Providing relevant insurer(s) can be located you would be able to make a claim.

For more information, help and advice, please visit our dedicated Hearing Loss page.

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