In the United Kingdom, thousands of people have been affected by industrial deafness. Employees can be put at risk in many different industries particularly shipbuilding, coal mining, metal manufacturing and engineering [factory environments] where noisy machinery is used.
Hearing loss can have a serious impact on your life. The effects of hearing loss can’t be reversed and hearing aids only help the situation, they don’t cure it. Hearing loss can also creep up on you. You might not realise the full extent of your hearing loss until years later.
Common hearing problem indicatorsinclude:
- Often being accused of not listening
- Often saying pardon and asking people to repeat what they have said
- Difficulty following conversation in a group of people especially where there is background noise
- Having the television or radio on louder than is comfortable for other members of the family
- Finding loud sounds uncomfortable
- Difficulty hearing the telephone ring
- Noises in your ears such as a ringing or buzzing
If your hearing problems have been caused by your work environment, you may be able to make a compensation claim.
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.
Depending on when you worked in excessive levels of noise the core regulations governing noise exposure are The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 and The Noise at Work Regulations 1989, and the Factories Act.