OCCUPATIONAL DEAFNESS SOLICITORS - HEARING LOSS COMPENSATION CLAIMSOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0330 660 7119
Occupational hearing loss affects thousands of people in the UK every year and the consequences often have devastating effects on employment, family relationships and social life. Our occupational deafness solicitors have detailed experience in dealing with hearing loss compensation claims and are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts. If you suffer from industrial deafness as a result of your employer failing to take adequate care to protect you we can help you to get the compensation you deserve.
Industrial deafness can be avoided if an employer complies with the law and takes adequate steps to protect his workforce from noise induced hearing loss by reducing noise levels and providing ear protection where necessary. This condition results from exposure to loud sounds for a significant period and may range from mild to profound and may also result in tinnitus which is a ringing of the ears. If an employee can show that his employer's negligence has caused any degree of hearing loss then he can claim compensation the value of which depends on the extent of the problem. Whether or not the occupational deafness was caused as a result of noise at work can be positively established by the use of an Evoked Response Audiogram, the results of which cannot be falsified.
Employers must take adequate care of their employee’s health and safety by carrying out noise assessments and reducing the risk of noise damage to the lowest level reasonably practicable by muffling the noise, or reducing exposure. Hearing protection should be provided on request and must be provided and worn in very noisy areas. Safety training should be given on the risks of damage to hearing from exposure to noise together with advice on how to reduce the risk.
Compensation for occupational deafness includes ‘General Damages’ which represents compensation items that are difficult to calculate accurately and include ‘pain and suffering’ , loss of the enjoyment of life and disadvantage on the open labour market. In addition a claim can be made for ‘Special Damages’ which represents compensation for losses that can be accurately calculated and may include;
- medical charges
- loss of earnings
- medical therapies
- traveling expenses
- general expenses
- hearing aids and equipment
What Is Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Noise induced hearing loss usually occurs as a result of being exposed to loud noises particularly over a long period of time – it can however also be caused by just one incident of exposure to excessive noise such as an explosion. It is caused by permanent damage to the inner workings of the ear and is irreversible – it cannot be cured. The effect of occupational hearing loss is that sounds may become muffled or distorted with the top end of the frequency range being almost absent. It is a particular problem to understand normal speech especially when a woman is talking which is made worse if there is any other background noise. Hearing loss can be associated with both psychological problems and social problems with sufferers often being shunned by others due to their inability to properly hear which may be misconstrued as a lack of intelligence. Occupational hearing loss is also often associated with ‘tinnitus’ which is a condition whereby sufferers experience continual ringing or buzzing in the ears which is not caused by an external sound source.
Occupational hearing loss may be caused by factors other than noise suffered in a working environment and to prove the cause of the hearing loss it is necessary to have an audiogram carried out by an experienced medico-legal consultant who is sufficiently experienced in industrial deafness compensation claims to be able to come to the correct conclusion. If your audiogram shows a typical noise induced hearing loss pattern and you have been exposed to excessive noise at work then you should be able to prove that your past employers are liable to pay you industrial deafness compensation. If the audiogram is not typical of noise induced deafness or if there are doubts about the level of exposure to excessive noise then it may be difficult to prove an occupational deafness claim. The cause of hearing loss is a medical issue determined by medical specialists rather than by occupational deafness solicitors.
The Noise at Work Regulations 1989 place obligations on employers to reduce the risk of occupational hearing loss which in turn reduces the employers risk of having to pay out industrial deafness compensation claims as follows:-
- Every employer must ensure a noise assessment is performed where any employee is likely to be exposed to dangerous noise levels.
- The employer is under a duty to reduce the risk of noise damage to the lowest level reasonably practicable by muffling the noise, or reducing the period of time spent in a noisy environment.
- Where an employee is likely to be exposed to between 85 dBA and 90 dBA hearing protection should be provided if requested by the employee. For employees exposed to over 90dBA the employer should provide employees with hearing protection without waiting for a request and they must take all reasonable steps to ensure hearing protection is fully used.
- An employer must advise and instruct his work force of the risks of damage to hearing from exposure to noise and of the steps that can be taken to reduce that risk.
- Areas exceeding 90dBA are to be identified and marked as ear protection zones and as areas in which ear protection should be worn to reduce the risk of industrial deafness.
Employers are legally obliged to ensure their employees health and safety whilst in the workplace. Hearing loss and tinnitus can be debilitating and may affect quality of life and employment prospects which can be the subject of an industrial deafness solicitors compensation claim in the civil court. Workers at risk of industrial deafness and occupational hearing loss include those who use power tools in the construction industry or those who work with metal, stone or wood. Industrial workers are at particular risk including those who use textile manufacturing machinery or work in the printing industry, transport or farming. Any noise above 90dB is liable to cause hearing damage and measurement apparatus is available to reveal the level of noise in the workplace. Occupational hearing loss may be caused by exposure to substantial noise over a significant period of time however exposure need not be long-term and just a short burst of very high level noise may cause industrial deafness.
Every year noise induced hearing loss is responsible for occupational deafness solicitors taking action for compensation throughout the UK. Notwithstanding comprehensive health and safety legislation employers continue to disregard the factors responsible for noise induced hearing loss and put workers at risk by failing to provide adequate and effective ear protection, by failing to reduce noise to acceptable levels, by failing to provide warning notices of excessive noise and by failing to insist on the use of personal protective equipment under threat of dismissal from employment. If your employer has failed to provide adequate protection in a noisy workplace environment and you have sustained occupational hearing loss you may be able to instruct an occupational deafness solicitor to make a no win no fee industrial deafness compensation claim.
Hearing loss is not the only outcome of a noisy occupational environment. Tinnitus is also a hazard of a noisy workplace. Tinnitus is a condition in which the sufferer hears noise that is not produced by outside influences. Tinnitus usually takes the form of whistling or buzzing and is liable to be distressing and annoying for the sufferer. Some sufferers of tinnitus are aware of their condition and simply tolerate it, however it causes most people severe distress. Tinnitus is a real condition that affects hearing and can potentially affect the quality of life in a similar way to hearing loss.
Occupational Hearing Loss Time Limits
If you have been diagnosed with occupational hearing loss within the last three years you should be able to make an industrial deafness claim. It does not matter that the exposure to excessive noise levels may have taken place many years ago or that you had several appropriate employers some of which may no longer be in business. The important issue is to ensure that you take legal advice on a potential industrial deafness claim within three years of receiving a positive diagnosis of occupational hearing loss from a consultant audiologist. If you have not yet visited a doctor in regards to potential noise induced hearing loss and you believe that a former or current employers failure may be responsible for your condition our industrial deafness solicitors can arrange for a medical specialist appointment at no cost to you in order to establish whether or not you are suffering from occupational hearing loss.
So what should employers be doing to prevent tinnitus and industrial deafness compensation claims? They should undertake assessments of noise levels and act on the findings. They are required to ensure that the use of tools and machines which create excessive noise is limited to as few employees as possible and when employees must be exposed to it, they should ensure appropriate protective equipment is used including ear plugs and industrial ear protectors.
Occupational Deafness Solicitors
Our occupational deafness solicitors deal with personal injury compensation claims. They are all members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts and they are also all members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers:-
- we operate the no win no fee scheme
- claims are completely risk free
- no expenses or insurance to pay
- personal injury expert solicitors
Our occupational deafness solicitors will assess your potential personal injury claim at no cost to you and will deal with it by using the risk free no win no fee scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. You will be kept fully informed in writing about the progress of your claim and our occupational deafness solicitors will always be available to discuss your claim on the telephone. If you are suffering from this debilitating injury and would like advice at no cost from accredited experts just use the helpline or complete the contact form or email our offices and a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts will discuss your claim on the telephone with no further obligation.SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0330 660 7119