Industrial hearing loss – What to do if you suspect your hearing issues are connected with your current or past employment

If you have started to notice a deterioration in your hearing, or the symptoms of tinnitus, it is possible that this has been caused by the environment you have been working in, either in your current job or in a past one.

Hearing loss can develop over time and may not be noticeable when it first starts, so many people don’t consider that their ears may have been affected by a loud working environment until many years later. Some don’t even make the connection, and assume their hearing is just deteriorating with age.

If it can be shown that your hearing loss, or tinnitus, is work related, then it may be possible for you to make a claim for damages with an injury lawyer. Law companies like Roper James who specialise in personal work-related injury compensation claims in Plymouth have a lot of success with claims related to industrial hearing loss, so it can be well worth making an appointment for a free consultation.

What Are Some of The Signs You May Be Experiencing Industrial Hearing Loss?

Most people begin to notice that their hearing is not as good as it used to be through small things in normal life. Perhaps your family complain that you have the TV on too loud, and you always find yourself turning it up when it is at a comfortable volume for them to hear. Perhaps you find that you often need to ask people to repeat themselves in conversation or on the phone, or that you find speech hard to follow in a crowded place. Maybe you find listening to people on the phone requires a lot of concentration now, so you find yourself using text messaging and email wherever you can, even if it is not the fastest option.

If you can identify that you can’t hear as well as you think you used to be able to, and have had a job where you were exposed to loud noise for prolonged periods without mandatory ear defenders, then it is possible you may have industrial hearing loss which a personal injury solicitor may be able to help you seek compensation for.

What Kind of Sound Exposure Can Cause Hearing Loss?

Employers are expected to provide functioning ear protection for people who are regularly exposed to sounds over 85 decibels, especially for prolonged periods. It should also be mandatory for staff who do not routinely work in loud environments to be provided with ear defenders when visiting locations where this kind of volume is regularly experienced (for instance managers visiting sites within the company where heavy machinery is used).

To give you an idea of what kind of working environments would expose someone to damaging levels of noise, a nightclub would range from 90’100 decibels, and a riveters or boiler shop from 110-120 decibels. When it comes to specific tools and machines, many surpass the 85 decibel threshold, including power drills at 85-95 decibels, road drills at 95-105 decibels, and chainsaws at 100-110 decibels.

This doesn’t mean that simply walking past some noisy roadworks will damage your hearing, but when you are someone who operates that machinery for hours a day, it doesn’t take long for it to begin to take its toll on your ears if the proper protection isn’t provided.

If you have worked in noisy situations such as in ship building, construction, factories, steel making or road works, and you have signs of hearing loss, it could be a good time to get in touch with law firms to see if you can make a claim.

But It Was So Long Ago!

Due to the fact that health and safety has become much better in recent years and that hearing loss can take years to manifest itself, many of the industrial hearing loss cases solicitors Plymouth deal with at the present time date back to claimants’ previous employers, and this is something personal injury lawyers in Plymouth tend to have a lot of experience with. It is even possible to make successful claims if the company you worked for no longer exists, or if you want to make a claim against multiple companies where you were exposed to harmful levels of noise without adequate protection during your career.

I Don’t Want to Harm My Current Employer

Another reason some people hold off on making claims, even when their hearing loss is their employers’ fault, is that they don’t want to cause problems for their company. In actual fact, companies are insured against these kinds of claims, and so your compensation will not damage the business financially. In fact, claims can be a good way for businesses to learn where they are failing their staff in terms of health and safety.

If you think you may have a case, the best thing to do is contact a lawyer with your questions as soon as you can.