Industrial disease in Northern Ireland case study
David worked in a large factory in Belfast for over fifteen years. He worked with noisy machinery every day as part of his employment. Despite the factory floor being so loud, David’s employer had failed to provide him with equipment which would adequately protect him from sustaining this type of injury. They also failed to reduce the noise levels to a safe level. As a result, he developed noise-induced hearing loss.
What is noise-induced hearing loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss is a condition that impacts our hearing. In this context, it is also known as industrial deafness. Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dBA can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for noise-induced hearing loss to happen.
Symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss include:
- Inability to hear high-pitched sounds
- Difficulty in conversations, particularly with background noise
- Others may sound muffled or distorted
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
- Not hearing the doorbell or telephone ring
- Television or radio volume is required to be set to a higher setting than it used to be
The sometimes slow onset nature of noise-induced hearing loss means that it is common for people not to realise they have it until many years after exposure to loud noises.
Thankfully for David, the three-year time limit on claiming begins at the point of realising there’s an injury, not at the point of exposure. It is not uncommon for people to claim years after exposure to consistent loud noise at work.
David enquired about claiming for industrial deafness
Shortly after noticing some symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss, David received his diagnosis. He suspected the cause and contacted our industrial disease team who offered him the benefit of a free initial consultation. He instructed Tanya Waterworth with his case.
We sent letters of claim to David’s former employer. In this letter, we explained that we were instructed to claim for personal injuries, loss and damage on behalf of our client as a result of his exposure to excessive noise during the course of his employment with them.
Noise-induced hearing loss claims
We then issued proceedings in the High Court and set the matter down for hearing.
We arranged several expert witness reports, one of which involved a medical appointment with one of Northern Ireland’s leading hearing loss specialists. The ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultant was able to determine around when the damage to David’s hearing occurred with impressive precision. The time frame aligned with David’s employment at the noisy factory.
The factory’s appointed solicitor showed a willingness to settle the matter and we entered negotiations with them. The matter ultimately settled for £9,750, to David’s delight.
If you suffer from work-related hearing loss, we can help
If you are suffering from hearing loss and believe it relates to your employment, we can advise. Visit Hearing Loss Claims to learn more about our services or Contact Us to arrange a free initial consultation.
Hearing loss can creep up on us without us realising it. The leading national hearing loss, RNID, offers a quick and easy Online Hearing Test. Although this test is approved by the NHS, if you have symptoms, it is advisable that you visit an audiologist.