Loss of Hearing at work and how you could be entitled to compensation
Loss of hearing is a common complaint for those working or living within a noise hazardous environment. A noise hazardous environment can range from living near road works, using tools such pneumatic drills, to working with factory machinery. Loss of hearing can also be caused by social activities such as regular clubbing and/or sports such as clay pigeon shooting.
It is important therefore that if you are suffering a loss of hearing you determine what exactly is causing it. If you visit your GP they may refer you to a hearing specialist who will use tools such as an audiogram, which will assess your level of hearing and will enable the physician to establish if your hearing has been damaged.
Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss
The following are signs that you may be suffering damage to your hearing:
- Your understanding of people’s speech is becoming inhibited
- You are less able to hear noises that are quiet such as background music or whispers
- Loud sounds can often be painful leaving a ringing noise in your ears
- Tinnitus (constant buzzing or ringing in your ears)
One of the most widespread causes of hearing loss is prolonged exposure to noise pollution encountered whilst at work. If you have suffered damage to your hearing whilst working then you may be entitled to claim compensation from your employer.
Your hearing – your employer’s responsibility
An employer is under a statutory duty to do a risk assessment of noise pollution in the working environment (Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005). They are also under a duty to implement protective measures when noise levels reach 85dB(A). Examples of tools or processes, which would cause noise to reach this level, are using power drills or arc welding.
If employees are exposed to a high level of noise an employer should provide ear protection. The employer should ensure that the ear protection does not cause dangerous isolation and that any ear wear is regularly changed to ensure good hygiene.
An employer should also implement changes to the environment to reduce the noise such as design a timetable so that not just one employee is consistently exposed to the noise, use cushioning material to prevent vibration noise (‘damping’) and raise barriers or screens to prevent noise travelling. Although not a strict legal requirement, it is often good practice for an employer to provide regular health check ups for employees with high exposure to noise with an occupational health provider.
If an employer fails to do a sufficient risk assessment or fails to provide adequate ear protection and consequently one or more employees suffer damage to their hearing, they may be entitled to make work accident claims for compensation.
Making a Hearing Loss Claim
If you have suffered a loss of hearing due to exposure to noise whilst at work, then contact an experienced accident claim solicitor for more information about whether or not you can claim compensation. Any damages awarded will be relative to the level of injury suffered and what effects it will have on your future.
Click here to read more about making a Personal Injury Claim