Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Noise induced hearing loss /nihl, also known as industrial deafness, occurs as a result of long-term exposure to high levels of noise in the workplace. If you’re suffering from loss of hearing and have endured long periods of noise without protective equipment in the past, then your debilitating condition could have been caused by employer negligence, rather than natural hearing deterioration.
What’s the Condition and Who’s at Risk?
Working in industries such as construction, engineering and factories have been known to cause hearing loss, due to employers not providing sufficient aural protection in noisy working environments.
The resulting nihl / hearing loss can affect simple everyday activities, making basic tasks like holding conversations and going to the shop more difficult. Increasingly, sufferers are making successful claims for compensation from their employer. Last year, more than 70,000 people in the UK filed for claims alone.
Symptoms of Noise Induced Hearing Loss
The condition tends to develop over a number of years and occurs through persistent, frequent exposure to high levels of noise. The sufferer may not experience symptoms until they start to develop age-related hearing loss, months or even years after they have stopped working.
Signs that you may be suffering from the condition include a ringing in the ears known as Tinnitus, failing to hear everyday sounds such as the phone or doorbell and struggling to hear the TV, radio or what people around you are saying.
Of course, you should be careful to protect yourself from the dangers associated with your workplace, but it’s an employer’s legal responsibility to ensure that all workers have been provided with the proper safety equipment. If it can be proved that a worker’s hearing loss has been caused by exposure to noise at work, a claim for compensation can be made.
What to do if You Think Workplace Noise has Contributed to Your Hearing Loss
The first thing to do if you think you may be suffering from noise induced hearing loss makes an appointment with your GP. Your doctor is likely to refer you for an audiogram, a test which examines the affected hearing frequencies and which will determine whether it’s noise or simply age that has caused your hearing loss.
In order to make a claim for compensation, it must be proved that your employer exposed you to noise levels which were above the legal limit and failed to provide you with adequate hearing protection. It’s important to remember that the claim must be made within three years of when the connection between workplace noise and hearing loss was made.