If you work in a noisy working environment over a prolonged period, your hearing can suffer. Therefore, as part of their duty of care towards you, your employer should take steps to prevent you from suffering hearing loss. That could mean providing you with ear defenders, installing soundproofing or rotating your tasks to keep you away from the noise for a while. If your employer fails to act and your hearing is affected as a result, it may be possible to claim industrial deafness compensation.
Our specialists can help if you’re considering claiming compensation for industrial deafness. Initially, an advisor will review the merits of your case with you to determine your chances of being compensated. They’ll also provide free legal advice about your next steps. If they believe your claim is strong enough, it could be passed to one of our personal injury solicitors. Importantly, they provide a No Win, No Fee service so you won’t need to pay for their work in advance. In fact, you’ll only have to pay any solicitor’s fees if you receive a compensation payment.
If you’d like to begin an industrial deafness claim right away, please contact us on 0800 6524 881. Alternatively, please continue reading if you’d like to learn more about when claims might be possible.
Table of contents
- What Is Industrial Deafness?
- Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation For Industrial Deafness?
- Examples Of Negligence That May Lead To Hearing Loss At Work
- Making An Industrial Deafness Claim
- Evidence To Support A Claim
- How Much Compensation For Industrial Deafness?
- Industrial Deafness & Hearing Loss Compensation Amounts
- Time Limits For Claiming Industrial Deafness Compensation
- Starting The Industrial Deafness Claims Process
Industrial deafness is a term used to describe Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) caused by being exposed to excessive noise in the workplace. It is sometimes called occupational deafness as well.
Unlike other workplace injuries which are apparent immediately, industrial deafness might not be diagnosed for years or decades after it was caused. To reduce the risk of industrial deafness, your employer should take steps to protect you if the noise in the workplace regularly exceeds 80 decibels (dB).
Industrial deafness claims can be based on several different conditions. They include:
- Temporary hearing loss.
This can occur if a worker is exposed to sounds in the 75 to 80 dB range continuously for several hours. This type of injury will often be apparent immediately or may take a few hours to develop. Sound can appear muffled or dull but normal hearing should resume after a period of rest in a quiet area.
- Permanent hearing loss.
This injury is much more serious and is caused by exposure to loud noise for prolonged periods. Permanent noise-induced hearing loss is usually caused over many years of exposure to excessive noise without proper protection. In some cases, hearing aids can improve hearing but in more severe cases, the claimant may need to resort to sign language or lip-reading.
- Acoustic trauma.
This is also referred to as acoustic shock. This type of injury happens when the worker is exposed to sudden loud noises. This can include explosions, gunshots, loud feedback from headphones and high-decibel shouting. In some cases, the eardrum can be perforated which could lead to permanent hearing problems. While many modern headphones are limited to 118 dB, some cheaper or older headphones do not have this safety feature and so could cause acoustic trauma.
This is a problem that can be caused by exposure to loud noise over a long period. The symptoms of tinnitus include ringing, buzzing, droning or whistling noises in the ear even in silent rooms. Tinnitus can be continuous and lead to sleep disturbance. It can also lead to problems concentrating and hearing specific noises as well.
If you’ve been exposed to high noise levels in the workplace and are suffering from any of these symptoms, you may have sufficient cause to file a claim for industrial deafness compensation:
- Temporary or permanent lack of hearing
- Difficulty to hear in one or both ears
- Total lack of hearing in one or both ears
- Struggle to hear people speaking over background noise.
- Failure to hear words or phrases when others involved in the conversation can understand them without a problem.
- Need to have the TV turned up to levels that others complain are too high.
- Struggle to follow conversations on the phone.
- Hear buzzing, whistling, roaring, droning, hissing or ringing noises regularly.
- Have difficulty hearing specific frequencies of sound.
- Think you can hear better in one ear over the other.
To make a claim for industrial deafness, you will need your condition diagnosed by a doctor. During your appointment, they will probably consider your work history to see if your injuries are linked to noise within the workplace.
To make a compensation claim against your employer for industrial deafness, you’ll need to show that they breached their duty of care towards your safety in the workplace and that:
- They were negligent; and
- Your hearing has been damaged as a direct result of that negligence; and
- Your hearing problems have been diagnosed within the last 3-years.
Our solicitors will usually establish whether an employer is likely to have breached their duty of care fairly quickly by referring to applicable legislation such as The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.
Some examples of negligence that could mean your employer is deemed liable for an employee’s hearing loss include:
- They failed to monitor noise levels in the workplace and therefore did nothing to protect you.
- Did not provide ear defenders or similar protection despite knowing noise levels were too high.
- Failed to assess the risk to your hearing despite your raising concerns with them.
- Did not consider using less noisy equipment.
- Did not look into soundproofing or similar noise-reducing strategies.
- Failed to warn you of the dangers of excessive noise levels and the measures that need to be taken to reduce the risk of hearing loss.
If you’d like to discuss claiming compensation for industrial deafness with our team, please call today and we’ll review your options.
When filing a claim for industrial deafness, there are several factors that will need to be taken into consideration. Every compensation claim will have a different set of circumstances, from the cause of the deafness to the level of pain and suffering. A compensation claim for total hearing loss in both ears will be substantially higher than the compensation for partial hearing loss in one ear.
In order to file a successful industrial deafness compensation claim, it is absolutely important to do the following:
- Visit a qualified medical professional and get a proper diagnosis of deafness and/or tinnitus. To file a claim, you will need to produce an official medical report detailing the extent of your injury.
- Proving that your injury was caused because of the work environment is another essential requirement. This could involve putting together documentary evidence about conditions in the workplace as well as collating witness statements from workmates.
- You will also need to prove that your employer could have reasonably foreseen the possibility of hearing injuries in the workplace but failed to take the necessary preventive measures or provide you with the required information and training that would have helped prevent your injuries.
All three factors are vital to the success of your industrial deafness claim.
If you are to make a successful claim, you’ll need to provide some evidence to support your allegations. This can include:
- Your medical reports. These can be requested to show what condition your doctor diagnosed after an assessment. In some cases, reports from hearing specialists could also be used.
- Your work history. This is a useful method of determining which employer and which role could have caused your hearing loss.
- Witness statements. Your solicitor could ask previous colleagues to confirm what conditions you were working in. Similarly, family and friends might be asked to confirm how your hearing has deteriorated.
- Occupational health reports. If at any time in your career you raised concerns about the noise in your workplace, an occupational health specialist may have been asked to investigate. If so, you could use a copy of their report as further evidence.
Our solicitors specialise in workplace injury claims and know what evidence is needed to support them. If your case is accepted, they’ll work with you to gather any information that could help to prove how your hearing was damaged.
When determining what compensation should be paid for an industrial deafness claim, your solicitor would essentially split the claim into two types of damages:
- General damages. This is compensation to cover the suffering you’ve endured because of your hearing problems. It could also cover any impact on things you cannot enjoy anymore because of your injuries, known as loss of amenity.
- Special damages. In this part of your claim, you’ll focus on any costs of financial losses you’ve suffered because of your injuries. For example, you might claim back any earnings you’ve lost because of your injuries. Furthermore, you may need to claim back any medical costs, travel expenses or care costs.
To help prove the extent of your hearing loss, as mentioned above, you’ll need an independent medical assessment. This will involve a meeting arranged by your solicitor (usually held locally) with a hearing specialist. They’ll test your hearing and discuss how you’ve been affected by your hearing loss. Then they’ll write a report to explain your injuries and prognosis. This will be sent to your solicitor and your employer’s insurers.
When calculating general damages compensation for industrial deafness, solicitors are able to refer to the guidelines set by the Judicial College. Using these figures below, you can get some idea of what compensation might be claimed in relation to hearing loss.
- £90,750 to £109,650 compensation for total deafness.
- £31,310 to £45,540 compensation for complete hearing loss in one ear.
- £29,710 to £45,540 compensation for severe Tinnitus and hearing loss.
- £14,900 to £29,710 compensation for moderate Tinnitus and hearing loss.
- £12,590 to £14,900 compensation for mild Tinnitus and some hearing loss.
- In the region of £11,720 in compensation for mild Tinnitus only, or mild hearing loss only.
- £7,360 to £12,590 compensation for slight Tinnitus and slight hearing loss.
- Up to £7,010 compensation for slight hearing loss only, or slight Tinnitus only.
In our opinion, the best approach to determining what settlement amount you might be able to claim is to arrange a free consultation with our advisors.
As with all personal injury claims, there are time limits for work injuries within which you have to file your claim. For industrial deafness which typically occurs over a long period of time, the time limit would typically be 3 years starting from the date that you became aware that your hearing loss was caused by your employment or the date that you should have reasonably been aware it was due to your employment, for example when your doctor diagnosed your hearing loss.
If you think you may be entitled to compensation for your hearing loss, it is best to seek advice from an experienced personal injury solicitor as soon as possible to maximise your chances of filing a successful hearing loss claim.
Even if you are no longer employed by the company you believe caused your loss of hearing, it may still be possible to file an industrial deafness claim against them. However, it takes time to gather all the necessary information and documentary evidence you will need to file a compelling case. Time is of the essence and the sooner you get started, the better your chances are likely to be of getting the compensation you deserve.
If you still work for the employer you’re claiming against, you mustn’t worry about any repercussions. Legally, your employer cannot sack you, demote you, pick on you, or prevent you from receiving training because of your claim.
So long as your claim is honest, there shouldn’t be any negative impact on your employment. If there were, you might have grounds to claim for unfair or constructive dismissal. Therefore, please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your options with one of our advisors.
We believe that taking on legal representation for an industrial deafness claim can improve your chances of being compensated fairly. Our solicitors specialise in workplace claims and understand what evidence is needed to prove what caused you to suffer.
You could benefit from that experience by calling us today on 0800 6524 881. There’s nothing to lose by getting in touch because you’ll receive free legal advice and a no-obligation review of your case whatever you choose to do.
If your claim is taken on, one of our solicitors will represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. Throughout the industrial deafness claims process, they’ll do all they can to try and make sure you’re paid the maximum compensation possible.