What is noise induced hearing loss and can I claim for it in Belfast & Northern Ireland?
8 minute read
Noise induced hearing loss, sometimes called industrial deafness
Noise induced hearing loss is a hearing impairment caused by exposure to loud, high decibel sounds. When the exposure occurred in a loud work environment, it is sometimes known as industrial deafness. Noise induced hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss together with age-related hearing loss. It can affect one ear or both ears.
The dedicated hearing loss claims solicitors at McCartan Turkington Breen could help get you the compensation you deserve, even if your hearing loss was caused many years ago. Visit Hearing Loss Claims to learn more.
What is tinnitus?
Often noise induced hearing loss is also associated with tinnitus which is a “ringing” in your ears. This can be extremely frustrating and has varying levels of duration, depending on whether it has been caused by a short-term excessive exposure to noise or long-term exposure to high levels of noise. It can be permanent. Tinnitus is usually classed by medical experts as mild, moderate or severe.
What causes noise-induced hearing loss & tinnitus?
Noise induced hearing loss may be caused by exposure to noise over a prolonged period or a one-time exposure such as an explosion. Depending on the type of noise exposure, noise induced hearing loss can take a long time to become noticeable. Noise induced hearing loss can affect people of all ages. As a general rule, the louder the sound, the less exposure is required to cause noise induced hearing loss.
How do I know I have hearing loss?
You may experience one or more of the common symptoms of noise induced hearing loss.
- 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 higher setting than it used to be
If you are exposed to very excessive noise the hearing loss may be immediate.
If you have symptoms of hearing loss, you should consider having your hearing tested. This is especially so if you have a history of working in a noisy environment.
Getting a hearing test
Hearing loss can be determined by having an audiogram carried out. This can be arranged through your GP or through a private audiologist. Many private audiologists such as Samuel Lewis Hearing Aids offer free hearing tests if you also require a hearing aid.
If a hearing test concludes that you have hearing loss and you have a history of working in loud environments, you might be entitled to compensation if it is linked to your employment. We are experts in hearing loss claims and can advise you on industrial deafness claims. Contact us for a free initial consultation with an expert solicitor.
Noisy work environments in Belfast & Northern Ireland
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 outlines what acceptable levels of noise are and what duties your employer has to try and minimise the noise in the workplace.
Your employer has a duty to not expose you to excessive noise and should take all steps necessary to minimise it. They should include you with personal protective equipment (PPE) if necessary. PPE such as ear defenders should be readily available, of good quality and replaced regularly. Employers must also carry out regular risk assessments.
We are hearing loss claims experts
Our team of industrial disease solicitors have represented many who have suffered from hearing loss as a consequence of working in a noisy environment. From this experience, we have noted the sectors that see the highest levels of industrial deafness in Northern Ireland.
We often see instances of hearing loss in professionals who work in:
- Military and Policing
Making a hearing loss claim in Belfast & Northern Ireland
You can make a claim within three years of a diagnosis of noise induced hearing loss or tinnitus. Even if the damage to your hearing was caused many years ago, you may still be able to claim compensation. The rules on hearing loss claims differ slightly if you were employed by the MOD. If hearing loss was caused prior to 1987, it is not possible to claim.
The level of compensation you could expect to receive for noise induced hearing loss is dependent upon the level of hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
The hearing loss claims process at McCartan Turkington Breen
If you instruct a hearing loss claims solicitor at McCartan Turkington Breen, you can expect to go through the following steps.
1. Medical examination including audiogram (hearing test)
We will have you privately examined by an ear, nose & throat (ENT) expert who will take an audiogram and advise on things such as the level of hearing loss and when it likely occurred and where. This helps us identify a reasonable valuation of your claim.
2. Employment records
We will ask HMRC for a record of your employment history to date. This will show us where and when you were employed and help us identify a defendant or defendants in your case. This is an important step as it’s very common for people to have worked in several noisy environments. This means that many former employers could be liable for your hearing loss.
3. Issuing of proceedings
We would then send a letter of claim to the liable parties. Even if the former employer has since gone out of business, we can investigate who their insurer at the time was. Although the defendant might contest liability, in most instances the matter will be settled without the need of going to Court.
Speak with a hearing loss claims expert solicitor
Our industrial disease department has a solid understanding and excellent success record in pursuing claims for hearing loss contracted through employment. If you suffer from hearing loss and believe it was due to working in a loud environment, contact us for a free initial consultation with a hearing loss claims expert. or, learn more about our services at Hearing Loss Claims.