Industrial deafness compensation claims

Our specialist No Win, No Fee solicitors can help you make a compensation claim if you suffer from industrial deafness due to someone else's negligence.

Take our 10-second hearing loss claim test now and find out how much compensation you could be entitled to:

ear defenders for industrial deafness

Industrial deafness, also known as 'occupational deafness' and 'noise-induced hearing loss' refers to an individual losing their hearing as a result of being subjected to high levels of noise in the workplace.

Read our guide below to learn more about industrial deafness and how could make a claim for compensation:

noise at work

What is industrial deafness?

Industrial deafness, also known as ‘occupational deafness’ and ‘noise-induced hearing loss’ refers to an individual losing their hearing as a result of being subjected to high levels of noise in the workplace.

Sometimes industrial deafness is only temporary however, there are many cases where the hearing loss is permanent. If symptoms of industrial deafness are found early enough, the chance of it becoming a permanent issue is much reduced.

Different types of industrial deafness

In addition to temporary or permanent hearing loss, there are also two conditions which are classed as types of industrial deafness – acoustic trauma and tinnitus, both of which are explained below:

Temporary hearing loss

Temporary hearing loss can occur when an individual is subjected to constant loud noise, for example in a factory with loud machinery, over several concurrent hours. A sufferer will usually begin to have some amount of hearing loss after being subjected to the constant loud noise.

The best thing to do when in this situation is to take yourself out of the noisy environment. Doing this will dramatically lower the chance of your hearing loss becoming worse or last longer. In some cases, it can take up to 16 hours for a person’s hearing to return to normal, provided they are situated in a quite environment.

Permanent hearing loss

Permanent loss of hearing can occur if an individual is exposed to a high level of noise without adequate protection for a long period of time, usually years. It occurs because the hair cells within the ears deteriorate from being subjected to noise and they do not replenish.

Once permanent hearing loss occurs, if there is no improvement in symptoms over a long period of time, it is highly unlikely that any hearing will return.

Acoustic trauma

Acoustic trauma, which is also known as ‘acoustic shock’, occurs when an individual is subjected to an extremely loud noise such as a gunshot or explosion. If there isn’t sufficient protection of the ears, the acoustic shock from the loud noise can cause irreparable damage such as a perforated eardrum.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a common hearing problem that affects approximately 15% of people at some point during their life. In the workplace, it can be caused by long term exposure to loud noise.

Symptoms of tinnitus include a ringing, buzzing or whistling type noise in one or both of the ears, and sufferers often believe that the sounds they are hearing are coming from an external source.

How can industrial deafness be treated?

If you have any of the symptoms above, and work in a particularly loud environment or have been subjected to a particularly loud noise, you should see your GP who will assess you fully. If a doctor feels it is necessary, he or she will then refer you to a specialist for further, more thorough tests to determine the extent of your hearing problem.

Unfortunately, hearing loss is an extremely difficult condition to treat as the damage to the ears is usually irreversible and irreparable. In some cases, sound therapy and the use of hearing aids may be recommended to help poor hearing.

How to prevent industrial deafness

The ‘Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005’ is an act which is in place to protect workers from having to suffer high levels of noise in the working environment.

Employers must follow the instructions to ensure that their employees are at the lowest risk of developing any form of hearing loss as a result of being subjected to loud noise.

As part of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, noise in the workplace is set into ‘action levels’. In each of the levels, if noise reaches a certain decibel level, prevention action must be taken. The lowest level is noise of 80dB.

If noise in the workplace is at this level, employers must provide information and training regarding noise level, whilst also providing sufficient hearing protection to all employers. The upper level of the scale is for an average noise of 85dB. When this is the level of noise in the workplace, employers must issue sufficient hearing protection and ensure that all employees wear it.

In addition, The Control of Noise at work Regulations 2005 states that the noise level in a workplace should never exceed an average of 87dB.

There are things that employers and employees can do to help minimise the risk of developing industrial deafness, which are:

Employers:

  • Making sure the legal limits on noise exposure are never exceeded
  • Assessing the risks to all employees of exposure to noise
  • Ensuring that noise level risk assessments are carried out thoroughly, correctly and regularly
  • Providing employees with sufficient information and training regarding noise levels in the workplace
  • Providing employees with the correct hearing protection equipment and ensuring that they are worn correctly and at all times
  • Taking sufficient action to minimise the level of noise in the workplace where possible (for example, by using silencers on equipment)

Employees:

  • Making sure that hearing protection is used correctly and at the right times (for example, ear defenders, ear plugs, semi-aural insets)
  • Ensuring that they are correctly trained to use equipment in the workplace
  • Making sure that all hearing protection is correctly maintained
  • Not staying in areas with high levels of noise for periods of time which are longer than necessary

Take our 10-second hearing loss claim test now...

Find out if you are eligible to make a claim, and how much compensation you could be entitled to claim.

Industrial deafness symptoms

Common symptoms of all four types of industrial deafness (temporary hearing loss, permanent hearing loss, acoustic shock and tinnitus) include:

  • Lack of hearing in one or both ears
  • Missing part or full sentences in conversations
  • Struggling to hear speech when there is background noise
  • Having to turn the television or radio up to a particularly high volume
  • Hearing a constant ringing, buzzing, whistling, hissing or droning sound in one or both ears (this usually refers to tinnitus)

If you feel your hearing has been damaged due to excessive noise at work, you could experience some or all of the above tell-tale signs and symptoms.

Causes of industrial deafness

Industrial deafness can occur when a person is subjected to loud noise. This is usually over a long period of time where the person was not wearing sufficient ear protection. But in addition, hearing problems like acoustic shock can occur from being subjected to just one extremely loud noise.

There are certain occupations where workers are at a higher risk of developing industrial deafness.

These include:

  • Construction workers
  • Engineers
  • Factory workers
  • Jobs in the music industry

There are also certain tools which pose a higher risk of causing industrial deafness.

Such as:

  • Bench grinders
  • Break pad grinders
  • Cold cutting circular saws
  • Concrete vibrators
  • Hammer mills
  • Hydraulic power packs
  • Multi-headed grinder
  • Pedestal grinder
  • Pneumatic transfer systems
  • Sand burners

Industrial deafness claims process

The claims process for industrial deafness compensation can be broken down into three stages: Getting a diagnosis, demonstrating the cause and establishing liability.

Getting a diagnosis

As industrial deafness is a 'latency' disease, it can take many years for the symptoms to show after the initial damage is caused. Subsequently, many sufferers simply put the symptoms down to old age or other causes rather than their former employment.

If you feel your hearing could have been damaged due to your previous employment then you should get in touch asap to discuss the matter further with our industrial deafness experts.

Demonstrating the cause

Once we have established that you do indeed suffer from industrial deafness, the claim will then focus on demonstrating the cause of your condition.

One of the most common causes of industrial deafness is the lack of training provided by the employer, or the lack of protective equipment given to employees.

During the initial phase of the claim process we will request a full medical report, which will help to establish what the cause of the condition was e.g. a construction worker who was subject to excessive noise over a long period of time without protection.

Establishing liability

The next step is to establish exactly who was at fault for the hearing loss - this could be the employer for not providing adequate ear protection, for example.

Take our 10-second hearing loss claim test now...

Find out if you are eligible to make a claim, and how much compensation you could be entitled to claim.

According to the Health and Safety at Work Act, all employers have a legal 'duty of care' to make sure that their employees are safe while at work.

In terms of industrial deafness, there are now much stricter rules and regulations in place than in the past, with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 helping to ensure workers' hearing is protected from excessive noise in the workplace.

In order to comply with the regulations, your employer has to carry out regular and thorough risk assessments and assess the levels of noise. Procedures to manage the risk should then be put in place to protect employees - e.g. providing ear protection to factory workers if they work close to loud machines all day.

Employers must make all reasonable efforts to manage the level of noise in the workplace and keep it below the legal limit (80 - 85 decibels). Measures they can take to achieve this can include:

  • Using quieter machinery
  • Installing barriers and absorbent materials
  • Shortening working periods
  • Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) i.e. earplugs

As well as this, employers also have to provide their staff with training on the risks, regularly monitor the risks and the health of their employees.

If your employer fails in their legal duty then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Everything you need to know about hearing loss claims

Suffering hearing loss, whether it is slight or full deafness, can be a distressing time. If your hearing loss was caused due to the negligence of a third party then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

The most common form of hearing loss claim is against an employer, as hearing damage can be caused due to excessive noise and a lack of ear protection at work. These claims are commonly known as industrial deafness, but may also be referred to as ‘occupational deafness’ or ‘Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)‘ claims.

Industrial deafness is generally the result of an employee being subjected to a loud noise, normally over a long period of time while not wearing the correct ear protection. There are certain occupations that have more risk of industrial deafness, such as working on construction sites or in factories with a lot of loud machinery. However, industrial deafness can affect workers in any industry.

Negligence in hearing loss claims

In order for you to make a successful compensation claim, you must be able to demonstrate who is at fault for your hearing loss.

When it comes to industrial deafness claims, negligence generally lies with the employer. All employers have a duty of care to their employees in terms of making reasonable provisions to protect their health and well-being while they are at work.

That duty of care extends to your hearing if you work in a loud environment. Therefore, your employer must carry out regular risk assessments as well as provide training to staff regarding the use of loud machinery and ear protection.

If your employer has failed in this duty of care, then you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Find out more: What is negligence?

Hearing loss compensation payouts

When calculating how much compensation you may be awarded for a hearing loss claim we need to take into account the severity of your injury as well as the impact it has had on your day-to-day life.

If you have suffered severe and/or permanent hearing damage, then you could be entitled to the higher compensation payout amounts which could be as much as £118,000.

For less serious hearing loss e.g. occasional tinnitus with slight hearing loss, you could be entitled to anywhere between £6,000 – £10,600.

The compensation you receive will depend on your own personal circumstances, so the above figures should only be viewed as a basic guideline.

Find out more: Personal injury claims payout guide

How much compensation for industrial deafness?

If you are exposed to excessive noise at work, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

To do so you will need to establish that your employer was negligent and failed to uphold their legal duty at the time you were exposed to the noise. If negligence is established, you will be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation. But how much compensation will you be entitled to for industrial deafness?

Industrial deafness compensation amounts

There are several factors that will need to be taken into account in order to determine how much compensation you could be entitled to for an industrial deafness claim.

The severity of your subsequent hearing loss i.e. whether it is temporary or permanent, whether you have a long-lasting condition such as tinnitus, whether you have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in one or both of your ears etc...

The effect your hearing loss has on your day to day life will also be taken into account, so whether it affects your social life, mental wellbeing, ability to work, requires you to wear hearing aids and so on.

As a general guide to how much you could win, we've collated some guideline industrial deafness compensation amounts below*:

TEMPORARY HEARING LOSS COMPENSATION AMOUNTS

  • Occasional tinnitus with slight hearing loss: £6,000 – £10,600
  • More frequent and severe tinnitus and hearing loss: £10,500 – £25,000
  • Severe tinnitus and more serious hearing loss: £25,000 – £38,000

PERMANENT HEARING LOSS COMPENSATION AMOUNTS

  • Complete hearing loss in one ear with tinnitus: up to £38,000
  • Complete deafness in both ears with tinnitus: up to £92,000
  • Complete deafness in both ears and loss of speech (usually when the hearing loss occurs at a young age): up to £118,000

*the above figures are to be used as a guideline only

Different types of deafness claims

Industrial deafness and hearing loss claims come in many different forms, and all are unique.

Some of the more common forms of deafness claims are:

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) claims

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a work-related condition that can be common in workplaces and industries where excessive noise is a regular occurrence.

Regular exposure to high levels of noise can lead to serious hearing impairment which can cause a range of problems and difficulties for the sufferer.

NIHL can often appear years after the original exposure to excessive levels of noise, which means a lot of people fail to identify their work as the cause of the problems.

Symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss

There are lots of different symptoms associated with noise-induced hearing loss, all of which can vary in severity depending on factors such as your level of exposure to excessive noise and what, if any, ear protection you used at the time.

Before you take the decision to pursue a claim for hearing loss it can be useful to consider the following questions to help identify the severity of your symptoms:

Do your family/friends/colleagues say that you talk too loudly sometimes?

Do you have to have the television on at a loud volume to hear it comfortably?

Do you have trouble hearing the telephone when it rings, or when trying to hear someone on the other end?

Do you often struggle to follow a conversation and hear other people speak?

If your answer to any of the above is 'yes', then it is likely that you do have a hearing problem that could be the result of one of the below common work-related hearing conditions:

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: Also referred to as occupational deafness or industrial hearing loss, this is temporary or permanent hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear

Tinnitus: Characterised by constant ringing, buzzing, humming or whistling sounds in one or both ears.

Acoustic shock syndrome: Reparable or irreparable damage to the ears caused by an isolated incident involving loud noise.

What workplaces cause noise-induced hearing loss

Any workplace that is subjected to regular and excessive noise has the potential to cause noise-induced hearing loss.

Some examples of typically noisy industries that have led to NIHL claims include:

  • Construction
  • Manufacture
  • Steel
  • Engineering
  • Textiles
  • Military
  • Mining

If you suffer from hearing damage or loss later in life, it could be the result of a noisy work environment in the past.

How to claim against your employer

It's common to feel uncomfortable at the thought of making a compensation claim against your employer, but don't worry - they will not be required to pay your compensation personally so they won't be left with a huge bill they can't afford.

All employers are required to take out employer's liability insurance which is designed to cover the costs of any personal injury claims made against them by their employees, so if you have a claim your compensation will be paid by the insurance company.

Also, it's worth remembering that it is illegal for your employer to sack you or treat you any differently if you make a compensation claim against them. If you were to lose your job because you made a NIHL claim, then this would be seen as "unfair dismissal".

It's also important to make a claim as this can help highlight the safety issues in the workplace which may not have been taken seriously before, meaning the workplace safety will be improved for your colleagues.

 

Tinnitus claims

Tinnitus is a high-pitched ringing, humming or buzzing sound in the ears that many of us have experienced at one time or another - after going to a loud concert for instance - and which usually goes after a few hours.

However, if you are regularly exposed to excessive levels of noise you can suffer significant hearing loss and permanent tinnitus. If this excessive noise was at work and you were not provided with the necessary ear protection, then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Find out more: Tinnitus compensation claims

 

Military noise-induced hearing loss claims

If you have served in the armed forces then you may have had no choice but to work in a noisy environment. You may have gotten used to the noise – as most do – but there can be serious consequences from the excessive noise exposure if proper safety measures are not followed.

If you have suffered hearing loss or damage whilst serving in the military due to excessive noise and employer negligence towards adequate hearing protection, then you may be eligible to make a claim to compensation.

What is noise-induced hearing loss?

Long-term exposure to volumes that are above safe limits or a single exposure to an extremely loud sound can cause damage to your hearing, which is known as noise-induced hearing loss.

These sounds can include, but are not limited to:

  • Gunfire
  • Artillery fire
  • Explosions
  • Pyrotechnics
  • Brass bands
  • Aircraft noise
  • Vehicle noise
  • Mortars

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 define the level at which employers must provide hearing protection and hearing protection zones. The DSE state that this level is:

85 decibels (daily or weekly average exposure) and the level at which employers must assess the risk to workers’ health and provide them with information and training is now 80 decibels.

There is also an exposure limit value of 87 decibels, taking account of any reduction in exposure provided by hearing protection, above which workers must not be exposed.

What symptoms might I have?

With noise-induced hearing loss you may experience:

  • Deafness
  • Muffled sounds
  • Inability to hear different frequencies – most commonly high pitched sounds

Tinnitus (a constant or intermittent ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling or other noise in your ears) and Hyperacusis (increased sensitivity to certain frequency and volume ranges of sound) are also types of hearing damage suffered by members of the armed services.

These types of hearing damage can make it difficult to communicate with others, cause problems with sleeping and may also impact your mental health.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms after exposure to noise due to your work in the armed services and were not given adequate hearing protection, then we may be able to help you to make a claim for compensation.

How should I have been protected?

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), like all employers, has a duty of care to its employees and must take all reasonable steps to protect its employees while they are at work – and this includes protecting your hearing.

Avoiding loud noises is not always possible whilst in the armed forces and so it is imperative that the MoD provides adequate hearing protection to all employees when it is necessary and take all appropriate steps to assess noise and the risks caused, exercise noise control, provide properly maintained hearing protection if requested and identify areas where hearing protection is likely to be needed.

Industrial deafness compensation claims

Our specialist No Win, No Fee solicitors can help you make a compensation claim if you suffer from industrial deafness due to someone else's negligence.

Take our 10-second hearing loss claim test now and find out how much compensation you could be entitled to:

ear defenders for industrial deafness