Could You Be Entitled to Industrial Deafness Compensation?
Industrial Deafness, also known as occupational deafness or noise induced hearing loss, occurs in people who have worked in noisy environments over a prolonged period of time.
The hearing loss can manifest into either a temporary or permanent condition, or as tinnitus (ringing/buzzing in the ears).
Temporary hearing loss
Temporary threshold shift – or ‘temporary hearing loss’ – is a condition that can appear if a person has been subjected to constant loud noise in the range of upwards of 75dB. The sufferer’s hearing quality deteriorates to muffled, dull noises. If a sufficient time period of recovery is allowed, the chance of permanent hearing damage is low.
Permanent hearing loss
However, interruptions to the recovery period by returning to the same loud environment greatly increases the risk of a more permanent condition developing. Permanent hearing loss results from long periods of exposure to high levels of noise over a number of years without proper ear protection.
This is known as sensorineural hearing loss and it is permanent and irreversible. Once the sensitive hair cells within the ear become damaged, sufferers must rely on hearing aids or other treatments to improve their hearing ability.
Working in loud environments
Working in loud environments, or with loud machinery and equipment can also cause hearing loss. Extremely loud, sudden noises such as explosions, gunshots or sharp, noisy feedback through a headset can, at their most severe, perforate the eardrum if adequate protection is not worn and cause a condition known as acoustic shock.
Those working in loud, industrial workplaces or with noisy equipment are also at a greater risk of developing tinnitus. Sufferers of tinnitus, in especially serious cases, hear a constant buzzing, whooshing or whistling noise. It can be unilateral and only affect one ear, or bilateral and affect both.
Some cases of tinnitus can be extremely severe and cause an immeasurable amount of suffering for the patient. When these conditions arise due to negligence, many workers are entitled to compensation. Had adequate safety measures been put in place, a lot of sufferers could have avoided developing these debilitating conditions.
How to Be Sure if You Have a Claim
It’s important that you visit a qualified medical professional to establish if, first of all, you are suffering from noise induced hearing loss and second of all, to gauge the severity of the condition and what treatment is available.
Once this has become clear, you need to show that the injury developed as a result of your working environment. Employers must be able to show that they have taken adequate steps to prevent reasonably foreseeable hearing damage being sustained due to exposure to the noise in the their workplace.
If you suspect you’re suffering from hearing loss to any extent, TLW Solicitors may be able to help. It doesn’t matter if your place of work has closed down; if you’ve worked in a noisy workplace you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us for more information or advice.