Hearing Loss Claims (Noise Induced Deafness)
Thousands of workers are exposed to excessive noise at work that can give rise to hearing loss. Many workers do not claim until later on in life, as the disability is insidious.
The brain adapts to changes in auditory input but forgets the sounds that it is no longer exposed to. The earlier a hearing aid is worn the easier it is for the brain to re-learn these forgotten sounds. Hearing loss can also be damaged by injury, drugs, age and our own genetics.
This does not prevent a claim being made if a solicitor can prove that some hearing loss/damage has been caused by work. Some signs of hearing damage are, difficulty to hear people speak, having worked in a noisy place, ringing or buzzing in ears, complaints that the TV is on too loud, difficulty to hear a knock on the door and the need to wear a hearing aid.
The law is clear, employers must ensure that all work equipment and machines does not emit noise that can be dangerous to hearing. If employers are not able to reduce the noise levels they must provide suitable ear protection, guidance, training and job rotation to eliminate the dangers.
Noise is measured in decibels. As a general rule, any noise above 85 decibels risks injury to the ears and the louder the noise the shorter exposure needed for damage. As a guide, normal conversation is about 50-60 decibels, loud music is around 100 decibels, a pneumatic drill at 1 metre is about 120 decibels and a jet engine at 30 metres is around 130 decibels.
Currently there is no cure for hearing loss damaged by noise. Hearing aids cannot restore natural hearing but they can be of benefit.
How We Hear
Sound waves in the air are collected by the auricle, and passed down the external auditory canal to the eardrum, making it vibrate. These vibrations are then transmitted through the middle ear by the ossicles, and the fluid of the inner ear is set in motion. The nerve cells of the Organ of Corti are activated, to stimulate nerve impulses which are transmitted to the brain along the acoustic nerve.
Any job that involves exposure to loud noise. This can include laborers using drills to break up concrete and tarmac in the road, factory workers, and even call center operatives where hearing can be damaged to the ear when sound is emitted through the earpiece.
Tinnitus (ringing/buzzing/hissing) noises may also be a sign that hearing has been damaged by noise at work. Tinnitus can be intermittent or constant. It tends to be worse at night when it is quiet. It can be very distressing leading to sleepless nights, irritability and depression. Tinnitus can make hearing even more difficult as the noises can mask sound. Compensation payments are therefore a lot greater if there is a combined hearing loss and tinnitus.
The courts will take into account that your health, livelihood, family and social life can be adversely affected. Your hearing will be damaged for life. You may have to change jobs or in fact may be unable to obtain employment. Below is a quick guide on what courts will award for the injury alone. On top of these figures can give rise to other substantial damages such as loss of earnings, hearing aids and out of pocket
If you believe you or a relative may have an Induced Hearing Loss... Contact Us now.