Many people work in industries that are inherently noisy. This can have an adverse impact on employees’ hearing if measures are not taken to reduce the risks associated with long-term exposure to loud noise. This article aims to help you if you or a loved one is suffering from Noised-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) and wants to claim compensation. We’ll look at what actions employers should take to try and prevent NIHL and what harm can result if they don’t. Noise-induced hearing loss claims could be made if you’ve suffered partial or complete hearing loss as a result of your employer’s negligence. We’ll explain more as we continue down.
Our team of specialists can help if you have any questions about the NIHL claims process. When you get in touch, your claim will be reviewed on a no-obligation basis. During your initial consultation, you’ll receive advice on your options along with free legal advice. Should your claim be suitable, you’ll be connected with one of our personal injury solicitors. If they decide to represent you during a compensation claim, they’ll act on your behalf on a No Win, No Fee basis. As a result, you will only need to pay for their work if you receive a compensation payout.
To begin an NIHL claim right away, contact us today on 0800 652 1345. Alternatively, please continue reading to find out more about your rights before getting in touch.
What is noise-induced hearing loss?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that 2-million employees have to deal with unacceptable levels of noise in the workplace. Noise-induced hearing loss can result from exposure to loud noises over a prolonged period or short bursts of excessive noise caused by explosions or similar incidents.
You might not realise that your workplace has caused your hearing to degrade until it’s too late and it’s often the case that NIHL is irreversible.
The symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss will vary from case to case but can include:
- Finding it difficult to hear what others are saying, especially in noisy environments.
- Having to raise the volume on your radio or television to higher levels than before to hear things properly.
- Struggling to keep up with conversations.
- Difficulty hearing people properly on the phone.
- Having to ask people to repeat themselves.
- Finding it tiring or stressful to have conversations because you need to concentrate so much.
If you’re suffering any of the symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss and it can be linked back to your employment, you may have grounds to start a NIHL compensation claim.
Tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss
Another problem that can lead to noise-induced hearing loss claims is called tinnitus. This is where you hear sounds in your ears that others around you cannot hear. You might only hear them when everything around you is quiet. Some noises associated with tinnitus include:
Tinnitus can be constant or intermittent and can lead to anxiety and depression in some cases. If you’re suffering from tinnitus that is linked to your employment, please see our guide on tinnitus claims.
Can I Claim Compensation for noise-induced hearing loss?
Establishing liability for a noise-induced hearing loss claim can be complex. Our solicitors will only take on your claim if they believe there is a reasonable chance you’ll be compensated. To check this, they’ll try to verify whether:
- Your employer breached their duty of care towards your welfare; by
- Being negligent through their actions or lack of action; and
- Your hearing has been damaged as a direct result of their negligence.
In most cases, claims will be handled by the firm’s insurance provider. That means you’ll need to provide enough proof to demonstrate how your hearing has been damaged and the extent of the problems it’s caused you.
Our solicitors specialise in workplace injury and industrial deafness claims and could help you. In most cases, noise-induced hearing loss compensation claims can be settled amicably without the need for a court hearing. Please get in touch today to see if you could be compensated for your work-related hearing loss.
What causes work-related hearing loss?
According to the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, employers must take action when noise levels reach certain values. If they don’t, and your hearing is damaged as a result, they could be deemed negligent and you could be compensated for your suffering.
To help protect staff from the dangers of excessive noise and hearing loss in the workplace, employers could:
- Introduce quieter machinery or equipment where possible.
- Use soundproofing absorbent materials to help reduce noise levels.
- Implement rotas that allow staff plenty of rest breaks to get away from excessive noise.
- Rotate job roles so that staff aren’t exposed to loud noises continuously.
- Provide staff with ear defenders, earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones if there’s no other way of controlling noise in the workplace.
If you have concerns about the noise levels in your workplace, you should raise them with your employer. It may be a good idea to do this in an email so that you can keep a trail of any responses you’ve received. An occupational health specialist might be asked to investigate your case. If so, you should also keep a copy of any reports they send following their investigation as well.
If you believe your employer has acted negligently and caused your hearing to suffer, please get in touch for a free claim consultation.
Will my employer sack me for claiming compensation against them?
While many noise-induced hearing loss claims are made against old employers, you may be in the position of claiming against the company you currently work for. You should not be put off by the prospect of being sacked or discriminated against for claiming though.[table “1” not found /]
It is illegal for your employer to demote you, sack you, treat you differently or prevent you from being promoted because you’ve decided to take action against them. Legally, you could claim constructive or unfair dismissal if you were disciplined in any way after making a legitimate claim.
Please contact us if you’d like to discuss your options.
How much compensation for NIHL can I claim?
When you make a noise-induced hearing loss claim, unfortunately, you can’t simply pluck a settlement amount out of the air. Instead, you’ll look at the suffering you’ve endured because of your hearing loss (general damages) and any associated costs (special damages).
If you call for your case to be reviewed by one of our specialists, they’ll explain what you could be compensated for. Generally, though, compensation for work-related hearing loss or NIHL claims can cover:
- The physical suffering your hearing loss has caused.
- Any psychiatric harm you’ve suffered such as depression or anxiety.
- Care costs if somebody has had to support you with daily tasks because of your hearing loss.
- Any income you’ve lost if your symptoms have stopped you from working. You might also claim for additional lost earnings as well if you’ll lose work in the future too.
- Travel and medical expenses linked to your NIHL.
- The costs of devices or aids that might reduce the impact of your symptoms.
If your NIHL claim is taken on by one of our solicitors, they’ll examine it in detail with you to ascertain exactly how you’ve suffered. They’ll then file your claim and aim to secure the maximum compensation possible in your case.
Providing proof for NIHL compensation claims
During your claim, you’ll need to provide proof to help confirm how your hearing loss was caused by your employment. There’s no exact science to this process but it could involve any of the following:
- Videos of your workplace. If you’re still employed by the company you’re claiming against, a video on your phone could go some way to proving the noisy conditions in which you have to work in.
- Witness information. To help corroborate your version of events, your solicitor might want to take statements from colleagues about shift patterns, noise levels and other work-related information. Additionally, friends and family might be asked to describe how you’ve changed because of your work-related hearing loss.
- Medical information. To proceed with a noise-induced hearing claim, a medical diagnosis is needed. As such, you should visit your GP so that they can assess your hearing if you haven’t already. They are likely to ask you about your work history and may refer you for additional tests elsewhere. Any medical reports could be used to help prove the severity of your hearing problems.
- Correspondence. If you’ve raised concerns with your employer about workplace noise levels, any emails, letters or text messages could be used as proof. Similarly, if you have a copy of an occupational health report, this could be used as well.
- A diary. You may also wish to keep a record of how you’ve been affected since your hearing loss was diagnosed. This could include a record of any events that were ruined or the days you could not attend work. Also, it’s a good idea to keep any receipts for any expenses you’ve incurred as well.
If you call to discuss your NIHL claim with our specialists, they’ll consider any proof you’ve got to help determine whether you could be compensated. Please get in touch today if you’re ready to begin your claim.
Hearing assessments for your claim
You will need to have an independent medical assessment as part of the noise-induced hearing loss claims process. This will be carried out by an independent hearing specialist. Usually, our solicitors can book these appointments locally.
During the meeting, you may undergo pure tone audiometry tests, speech perception tests or tympanometry might be performed to assess the extent of your hearing loss. Then the specialist will discuss the impact of your hearing damage before reporting back to your solicitor about your prognosis.
NIHL claims time limits
As with all personal injury claims, claims relating to NIHL have a 3-year time limit. As you may not have found out about your condition until months or years have passed, the 3-year time limit will usually start from the date of diagnosis.
We would suggest that you begin the claim as soon as possible so that your solicitor has the time they need to collect any proof that will help with your claim. Also, you’ll probably find it easier to recall the impact of your hearing problems the sooner you begin.
We can’t say exactly how long your claim will take to be completed as each case is different. For straightforward cases where your employer has admitted liability, you could be compensated within 9-months. However, if liability or the extent of your hearing problems is disputed, claims can take more than a year.
No Win, No Fee hearing loss claims
The thought of paying a solicitor to help you and then losing the claim is quite frightening. Fortunately, you won’t need to be concerned about that if you work with us. That’s because our solicitors offer a No Win, No Fee service for any work-related hearing loss claim they agree to work on.
As a result, you only need to pay for your solicitor’s work if you are awarded compensation. Full details of your solicitor’s service will be explained in a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is a contract you’ll both sign before work begins on your claim.
Should your claim be won, your solicitor will deduct a percentage of your compensation as a success fee. This is used to cover their costs and their time. You don’t pay the success fee if your claim fails. Legally, you can’t be asked to pay more than 25% of your compensation as a success fee when using a CFA.
Start a noise-induced hearing loss claim today
If you would like to begin an NIHL claim for yourself or a loved one today, the simplest way to start is by calling our advice centre on 0800 652 1345. Your call is free and there’s no obligation to proceed. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll be given free legal advice and an explanation of your options.
Please let us know via live chat if you have any extra questions about noise-induced hearing loss claims and thanks for visiting.