Noise Induced Hearing Loss Claims

As we get older most of us will expect to become a little hard of hearing. The volume on the TV is turned up higher and the telephone is harder to hear.

 

If you’ve been struggling to follow conversations and feel as though your hearing has deteriorated, it might be as a result of exposure to noise in the workplace. When symptoms of hearing loss begin to appear, you may not automatically connect it with your workplace, or environments you have previously worked in. However, prolonged exposure to high levels of noise is one of the leading causes of deafness, and when it’s as a result of your working environment, you have every right to take legal action.

In recent years, the number of Noise Induced Hearing Loss claims has grown dramatically alongside the rise in industrial deafness, an issue that is particularly prevalent in industries such as engineering, construction and car manufacturing. While temporary exposure to loud noises can be damaging, generally the ear repairs itself after an injury of this sort. Industrial deafness tends to occur due to constant every-day exposure to loud noises, and can lead to damage ranging from tinnitus to irreparable deafness. Cases vary, as do workers’ susceptibility to loud noises. Everyone is different, which is why our industrial and workplace disease solicitors will always take the time to fully understand your circumstances to decipher whether your work was responsible for your hearing loss.

In 2005,  The Control of Noise at Work Act was introduced to protect workers from damaging noise levels. Replacing the Noise At Work act 1989, these new regulations established health and safety rules that all employers have a duty to adhere to in order to prevent workers from suffering industrial deafness. While in certain workplaces have notoriously loud environments, employers are still required to do all in their power to control these noise levels, or to provide workers with protection. Therefore, when symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) begin to develop as a result of exposure in the workplace, you’ll want answers and compensation for your suffering.

That’s where we come in. At IBB Claims, we’ve helped clients from all walks of life to process industrial deafness claims against their employers, securing the hearing loss compensation they deserve.

If your employer has failed to monitor and control noise levels in your working environment, it’s vital you seek legal advice as early as possible to put a stop to their negligence before it causes life-long damage. Similarly, if you wish to claim against your employer for hearing loss compensation, we recommend you do so immediately. Time limits are strict in making an industrial deafness claim, and any compensation you can secure should be done so promptly to assist with your treatment and recovery.

Occupational Deafness

What is industrial deafness?

Noise Induced Hearing Loss is a condition which stems from prolonged exposure to loud and damaging noises in the workplace. This continual exposure causes the cells in the inner ear to gradually deteriorate, with symptoms often appearing only years after. As a result, sufferers of noise-induced hearing loss do not immediately identify their work as the cause until symptoms have noticeably progressed. Industrial deafness can range through from minor cases of hearing loss to acoustic shock syndrome, a condition that can leave a person permanently deaf. As it is your employer’s duty to monitor noise levels and prevent noise-induced hearing loss, if you begin to develop symptoms after no action has been taken to protect you, you may be able to claim for industrial deafness compensation. For each 100,000 people employed within the last year, 48 suffered from noise-induced hearing loss. As a leading cause of deafness in the UK, it’s vital that each noise-induced hearing loss claim is assessed and analysed independently by professionals in order to determine the cause. Where there is a clear connection from your hearing loss to your workplace, we will proceed with determination.

What causes industrial deafness?

Noise Induced Hearing Loss occurs as a result  of  prolonged exposure to damaging levels of noise in the workplace. The degree of damage to the human ear depends on the frequency of sound (pitch), the intensity of sound and the duration of exposure.

Pitch, which is measured in sound vibrations per second (Hertz/Hz), begins to cause damage when a noise reaches 2000-5000 Hz. The higher the pitch of the sound, the more likely you are to develop hearing loss if exposed to it on a permanent basis. Intensity of sound, on the other hand, is measured in decibels (dB) on a scale 0 to over 180. For example: while a quiet whisper would only reach 30 dB maximum, the sound of a jet engine can reach 140 dB, and a rocket pad during launch is the highest on the scale at 180+ dB.  Experts in noise levels agree that when the human ear is exposed to more than 85 dB on a regular basis, the threat of hearing loss becomes greater.

Therefore, when you work in an environment where you are exposed to sound of this level of intensity on a regular basis, the chances are you are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. If you work in certain industries that go hand in hand with high noise levels such as construction, engineering or mining, your employer should be taking every necessary step to protect you from industrial deafness. If this has not been done to a sufficient standard, it may be possible for you to make a hearing loss claim against your employer.

What are the symptoms of industrial deafness?

Symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss include:

  • Ringing or buzzing in the ear
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Lack of hearing in one or both ears
  • Struggling to follow conversations, either face to face or on the television

If you are suffering from any symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss, it’s essential you visit your GP to get a diagnosis as early as possible. Alternatively, if you speak to our industrial deafness solicitors regarding how to claim for hearing loss, we will organise a medical examination with an independent healthcare professional.

How do I claim compensation for industrial deafness?

If you wish to make an industrial deafness claim, it’s important to start the process as soon as possible. From the date on which you were made aware of your condition, you have a time limit of three years to claim against the liable party. After receiving your diagnosis, the first step is to contact a legal professional to help you with your claim. We’ll arrange for an assessment to be carried out on your hearing condition by a medical professional, who will then present the findings in a report. If we find that your noise-induced hearing loss comes as a result of exposure in the workplace, we will help you file your claim against your employer, requesting that they take responsibility for your hearing loss and pay a fair settlement to compensate you for your suffering. Most industrial deafness claims can be settled out of court through skillful negotiation and dispute resolution tactics, even in cases where the liable party denies responsibility for your injury. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, we may have to issue court proceedings in order to achieve a settlement.

Making a claim for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

What information do I need to make a claim?

In order for a claim to be successful, it’s vital the claim is evidence-based. Therefore, providing essential information such as medical records will help to prove that your employer was liable for the deterioration of your hearing. To make a claim, you will need to show that the time in which you were exposed to high levels of noise were during working hours, proving that your industrial deafness was sustained as a direct result of negligence within the workplace. It will help your claim if you have evidence that points towards past complaints regarding sound levels, showing that your employer was aware of the issue but took no steps in remedying it. It may be necessary for us to collect witness statements from colleagues and ex-employees to further strengthen your claim.

How long does a hearing loss claim take?

Hearing loss claims can vary in length of time due to a number of factors. At IBB Claims, our industrial deafness solicitors will do all in our ability to keep time and costs to a minimum – however, we don’t believe in rushing to get things done, and will always work to protect your best interests first and foremost as opposed to accepting any settlement just to speed things up. Claims can often be slowed down by a lack of cooperation from your employer, or if we have trouble tracing your employers insurance. Regardless, we will keep you informed at each stage of your claim and will be up front every step of the way regarding timescales.

How much compensation can I claim for hearing loss?

How much compensation you are able to secure from your industrial deafness claim will depend on various factors. For instance, if the exposure to noise has drastically affected your quality of life and you are likely to need on-going support as a result of your hearing loss, the amount of compensation you receive will be higher. Situations and circumstances vary, which is why it’s important to speak to a qualified industrial deafness solicitor to fully assess your situation and decide whether or not your claim is viable before proceeding.

Will I have to go to court to make a hearing loss or an industrial deafness claim?

If we cannot negotiate fair compensation with the liable party, court may be necessary in order to reach an agreement with your employer. Generally speaking, personal injury claims only go to court when each side believes they have a strong case and therefore require a judge to settle it. In this instance, you can rest assured that your dedicated industrial deafness  lawyer will have built a strong claim and tested the evidence to ensure it stands up in court.

How can noise-induced hearing loss be prevented?

While in some workplaces, loud noises will be inevitable, there are steps employers can take to control it or protect you against it. In loud environments, earplugs or earmuffs should be provided at the earliest stage to prevent long-term damage. It is your employers responsibility to monitor which noises exceed 85 dB, and where these noise levels occur, protective equipment should be provided at all times.

At IBB Claims, we believe that all employers should take full responsibility for the health and safety of their staff. That’s why when clients contact us regarding a noise induced hearing loss claim, we do everything in our ability to secure a fair settlement from their employer. Whether you are experiencing the first symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss or have already been suffering from deafness for a period of time, get in touch with our  lawyers to make your hearing loss claim today.

Contact our hearing loss compensation experts today

Call our specialist team on 0333 323 1640 today, or drop us an email at enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk and one of our industrial disease and workplace injury solicitors will be in touch as soon as possible.