Tinnitus & Industrial Deafness
Industrial deafness is caused by long-term exposure to noise and is generally irreversible. It can take many years before hearing problems arise, by which time people may have retired. This means many individuals who have been exposed put their hearing problems down to age rather than the work they did years before.
Suffering from deafness or any loss in hearing because of your work can be especially traumatic. Hearing loss is generally irreversible and hearing aids are usually the only way to help with the condition.
High levels of sustained noise can cause deafness and tinnitus (a persistent whooshing or ringing noise) while short bursts of very high noise levels known as ‘acoustic shock’ may also have the same effect.
By law, your employer has a duty to provide the appropriate safety equipment such as ear defenders and ensure the work environment minimises the risk of causing damage to your hearing. Employers who have not fulfilled these duties have breached the law and, more importantly, put your health at risk so you have every right to make a claim for any deafness or tinnitus you have suffered.
More about industrial deafness and tinnitus claims
It seems only common sense that if you are exposed to high noise levels for a long period of time, you will damage your hearing. Unless you are a real heavy metal devotee, the most common exposure to excessive noise many of us will experience is in the workplace.
Complete or partial hearing loss can be caused by persistent high noise levels or sudden high frequency, high intensity bursts known as acoustic shock. Both can also cause tinnitus, a ringing, buzzing or whooshing sound in the ears that persists even after the external noise has ceased. If the tinnitus is accompanied by hearing loss and dizziness, it’s possible that you may have Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance.
Industrial deafness is not restricted to those in construction, engineering or heavy industries using machinery such as grinders, saws, jack hammers, drills or presses. Workers in textile factories or mills using looms or weaving machines are equally at risk. People who work in call centres where the volume on their headsets is turned up too loud are also at risk from hearing loss, tinnitus and a range of health issues. In fact any workplace could potentially expose you to excessive noise and damage your hearing.
If you believe you have suffered industrial hearing loss or tinnitus, you should consult you GP to confirm that it was not caused by a different, treatable problem. If it turns out that it is due to conditions at work, you may be entitled to make an industrial deafness claim and receive compensation.