If your acoustic shock injury was caused due to negligence, you may be eligible to make an acoustic shock claim for compensation for your hearing damage.
Acoustic shock refers to a specific type of hearing-related injury. It is caused when a sudden loud, high-pitched noise damages the hearing mechanisms located in the inner ear. It is also known as acoustic trauma. Acoustic shock is different from hearing loss that is caused when a person is exposed to loud sounds over extended periods of time without the adequate protection.
Symptoms Of Acoustic Shock
Acoustic shock symptoms vary considerably. Symptoms may range from mild to serious and may be temporary or permanent. A person suffering from acoustic shock may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Tinnitus – constant buzzing, whistling, or whooshing sound in the ears.
- Muffled conversations.
- Partial or complete loss of hearing.
- Hypersensitivity to sound.
- Feeling of intermittent or constant pressure in the ear.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Fatigue and sickness.
- Sleep disturbance.
- Psychological consequences.
Acoustic shock does not always result in hearing loss or deafness. However, any of the symptoms above can cause significant physical and emotional distress, which can lower the quality of life.
Who Is Risk For Acoustic Shock?
Although anyone can experience acoustic shock if an unexpected loud noise occurs too close to their ears, workers in certain industries are more prone to this type of hearing damage.
Call centre workers are at high risk of suffering from acoustic shock. The job entails answering phone calls while wearing head phones for several hours at a time. A sudden, high volume or high pitched sound caused by a defective telephone or headset equipment, transmission faults, or somebody blowing a whistle loudly into the receiver can cause the call centre operator to experience acoustic shock.
It’s not just call centre operators who are vulnerable. Armed forces personnel are also at risk from gun shots or explosions that are too close to their ears.
Workers employed in the quarrying, mining, and fireworks industries as well as factory workers who operate heavy machinery are also susceptible.
If you have suffered acoustic shock in the workplace and believe your employer is at fault you may be able to make an acoustic shock claim against them for compensation.
Preventing Acoustic Shock In The Workplace
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was established to protect workers from all types of risks in the workplace. The Noise at Work Regulations 2005 specifically addresses risks pertaining to hearing.
In order to comply with both of these regulations, employers are required to put reasonable measures in place to reduce the impact of loud noises in the workplace. This measures may include:
- Making sure that all equipment is well maintained to prevent high-pitched sounds typically of faulty equipment.
- Use sound absorption materials to muffle loud noises.
- Educate employees as to the risks of loud noises and how to protect themselves.
- Provide workers with adequate hearing protection such as sound-proof ear muffs or ear plugs.
If your employer made no effort to reduce the risk of acoustic shock, nor did they provide you with the necessary training or personal protective equipment, they are acting negligently. If you suffered from acoustic shock because of this negligence, you may have grounds for claiming pursuing an acoustic shock compensation claim.
Making An Acoustic Shock Claim
The first thing you should do immediately after the exposure to a loud or high-pitched sound is to report this to your employer or supervisor. Make sure you file a written report and get a signed copy for yourself as this can be used as evidence in your acoustic shock claim.
The next thing to do is to get medical attention for your injuries. Your doctor can conduct a thorough examination to assess the extent of the damage and can prescribe the appropriate treatment regimen. Seeking medical attention is very important in an acoustic shock compensation claim. This is something you should not overlook, even if your injuries seem minor. Unlike most other accidents, there aren’t likely to be any visual clues as to the cause of your hearing damage. In this case, your doctor’s report as to the cause and extent of your injuries will form the basis of your claim.
The third step is to arrange a free consultation with a personal injury solicitor to explore your options toward claiming compensation.
No Win No Fee Acoustic Shock Claims
One thing you can expect from our experienced personal injury solicitors is to get expert legal advice and representation without having to pay any upfront fees. If, during your consultation, the solicitor determines that you have a strong claim, they will pull out all the stops to protect your legal right to claim compensation for your acoustic shock injury in the form of a No Win No Fee agreement.
The No Win No Fee agreement is essentially self-explanatory. You pay zero fees if you do not win. You only pay a set percentage of the compensation awarded when the claim is won. The percentage amount will be deducted out of the compensation itself so you are never out of pocket at any time.
Acoustic Shock Compensation Amounts
Every acoustic shock claim is assessed on its own merits, and compensation is calculated on the basis of general damages and special damages, explained here. Put briefly, compensation for general damages relate to pain and suffering and special damages compensation relate to financial losses/expenses such as loss of wages, medical expenses.
These are just some of the factors that will be considered:
- The severity of the symptoms.
- Whether your hearing loss is temporary or permanent.
- The total cost of your short and long term medical treatment.
- The cost of any assistive devices such as hearing aids, that can improve your hearing.
Although your solicitor will need to physically add up all of your expenses and losses to calculate what compensation you can claim for special damages there are guidelines they can refer to for general damages acoustic shock injuries. These are as follows:
- £77,430 to £93,540 for total deafness.
- £26,710 to £38,850 for total hearing loss in one ear.
- £25,350 to £38,850 for severe Tinnitus + hearing loss.
- £12,700 to £25,350 for moderate Tinnitus + hearing loss.
- £10,750 to £12,700 for mild Tinnitus & some hearing loss.
- In the region of £10,000 for mild Tinnitus only, or mild hearing loss only.
- £6,280 to £10,750 for light Tinnitus & slight hearing loss.
- Up to £5,980 for slight hearing loss only, or slight Tinnitus only –
Your solicitor will research precedents to ask for the maximum amount of compensation that is due to you for your acoustic shock claim.
If you would like more information regarding an acoustic shock claim please contact us today and a solicitor will be available to assist.