Noise induced hearing loss is a condition suffered by those who have come to experience deafness or partial deafness as a result of being regularly exposed to extended periods of loud noise. This is most commonly seen to materialise in individuals who, during the course of their working lives, have endured spells of employment where the operation of heavy machinery has been responsible for creating a working environment above the accepted legal limits of noise. Consequently, this can be seen to result in a material reduction in afflicted individuals’ ability to hear, and can often result in other debilitating auditory conditions such as tinnitus.
Noise induced hearing loss is an insidious disease, which involves a significant latency period from the time that the damage was done, and the time when symptoms are noticed by the sufferer. It operates as an overlay on the normal hearing loss that a person will experience as a result of the ageing process. It is common that the symptoms will not begin to appear until an older age. It is therefore not unusual for sufferers attributing their hearing loss to seniority alone. However, where an individual has continuously worked in a noisy environment for lengthy stretches of their lives, it is very possible that this has contributed to their hearing loss.
Despite this, it is often difficult to realise that this is the case as periods of noisy employment could have come to an end for individuals some many years previously. In turn, this makes connecting former working environments to illnesses suffered today a challenging prospect to consider. Therefore, it is important that those who may possibly be suffering from some degree of hearing loss and have in their life endured a noisy workplace, seek specialist legal advice before deciding whether or not to pursue a claim.
In order to show that there is a loss present, clients must undergo a hearing test. This is a hassle-free process and lays the foundations of any potential claim. Noise affects the hearing in the higher tones first, and there is sometimes, but not invariably, a notch or dip at 4kHz with a recovery at 6 and 8kHz. The presence of a so called ‘noise notch’ within a person’s audiogram indicates that there may have been past exposure to noise which has caused the deterioration of hearing over the specific frequency. If there is sufficient loss identified, it then falls to a medical professional to assess whether the damage is attributable to noise exposure and/or any other factors.
Upon receiving a possible positive identification of noise induced hearing loss, it is then necessary to investigate the working conditions of any previous employers, and whether those employers may have exposed their workers to excessive noise levels. It is for those pursuing the claim to prove that their place of work failed to take the reasonable steps to prevent any damage occurring.
Indeed, for more than half a century, employers have had a legal duty to protect their staff against extended exposure to excessive noise levels of noise. This encompasses a wide variety of obligations which are commonly observed in a number of ways including the provision of effective hearing protection, the raising of awareness of the dangers posed by loud noise and the delivery of comprehensive training to prevent damage ever materialising. However, this is not always the case, with employers often failing to adhere to such legal duties.
Firstly a conversation with one of our team would allow us to assess the prospects of any new case and provide some general advice.
We would then carry out investigations on the client’s behalf, gathering relevant medical evidence and investigating their employment history to identify those employers that may have exposed the client to excessive noise levels. Thereafter, claims would be intimated against the relevant employers or their insurers and we would enter into negotiations with the defenders.
As a result of extensive experience in dealing with hearing loss claims, our firm has developed a unique expertise in identifying cases of noise induced hearing loss and pursuing these vigorously. We have successfully pursued claims against companies and their insurers, both out of Court and by using the Court process to conclude cases to settlement. Our specialist knowledge allows us to properly asses your case and assist in deciding what steps to take next.
While the types of work capable of causing noise induced hearing loss is endless, certain industries consistently appear in the pursuit of such claims. These include, but are by no means confined to:
If, for any reason, you suspect that you may have been exposed to excessive noise during your employment, resulting in noise induced hearing loss then it is crucial that you do not hesitate to contact our professional and dedicated team of who would be more than happy to help.
Call 0141 375 1222 or email to see if you could be entitled to compensation.
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