Industrial deafness is a hearing impairment that is brought on by exposure to excessive noise in the workplace. Common symptoms that may be present at the onset of industrial deafness are; struggling to hear the TV, missing parts of sentences in a conversation or experiencing a constant buzzing or ringing in your ears (tinnitus).
Employees who are exposed to a high level of noise on a daily basis should wear ear protection to avoid this injury. There is a responsibility for both the employer and the employee to ensure industrial deafness is avoided.
Factors that contribute to industrial deafness are the noise levels they are exposed to and the length of time at which they have been exposed. If you have difficulty to hear certain frequencies in your working life, it may be worth investigating the noise environment at your workplace. If you are considering making a claim our team of solicitors specialise work-related injuries. Such as industrial deafness and can assist you in making sense of your situation.
Common Workplaces of Occupational Hearing Loss
Noise-induced industrial deafness can happen in a number of different working environments. People can suffer from this hearing impairment in the following workplaces:
Factories – A factory is often an enclosed working space which makes it difficult to avoid loud sounds that may be slowly affect your hearing. Any factory that operates heavy plant and machinery pose a potential risk to the employees. Especially if they are not wearing the correct protective headgear.
Construction sites – Construction workers and engineers working on construction sites can be exposed to loud noises on a daily basis . This includes machinery and heavy-duty tools such as jackhammers. This can negatively affect their hearing if proper precautions are not adhered to.
Quarries/Miners – constant exposure to explosions and drillings etc., can induce hearing loss if ear wear is not provided.
Call centres – not all cases of industrial deafness are related to construction-related workplaces. In an office environment, a person can experience noise-induced hearing loss if they are wearing faulty headphones during the day or the volume of hearing headphones is turned up too loudly. To avoid this the employer should ensure that headsets are fitted with the appropriate volume limitation to protect its workers.
Industrial deafness symptoms include:
Difficulty hearing speech when there is background noise
Needing to turn the television volume up to high levels in order to hear properly
Constant ringing and buzzing in one or both ears
Missing words or parts of sentences during a conversation
The symptoms can be categorised as follows:
Mild – difficulty hearing speech during a conversation, the TV, radio in environments where there is light background noise present.
Moderate – similar to the above but the person may need a wear a hearing aid on a daily basis.
Severe – As the person may need to rely on other forms of communication such as sign language or lip reading in conjunction with a hearing aid.
Profound – A person relies solely on the use of lip reading and sign language.
Tinnitus is a high-pitched ringing, buzzing, hissing or humming sound in your ears and is a common disorder linked with workplace hearing impairment. Similar to what you would experience after a loud concert or from a nightclub with loud music (which is temporary), constant exposure to loud noises in the workplace can bring on permanent tinnitus if the adequate ear protection is not provided or worn by the employee.
Some of the causes of industrial deafness consist of:
Working in manual labouring sites without ear protection
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) not being provided by the employer
Listening to excessively loud music with earphones or in prolonged exposure to loud music in nightclubs or at a concert
Working close to loud machinery without adequate ear protection
Acoustic Shock in the Workplace
Acoustic shock syndrome is a disorder that is brought on by sudden, high volume sound. It may result in hearing loss, tinnitus or painful sensitivity to sounds. Acoustic shock can be classified in three different groups;
Early onset (within minutes of the event): Pain/discomfort around the ear, hearing impairment (muffled hearing), Fatigue, feeling lightheaded, dizziness, nausea
Medium onset (hours to days after the event): Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, Dysacusis
Late onset: Anxiety, Phobic Anxiety, Depression
Factory workers, machinery workers and other workers on construction sites may be exposed to sudden, loud unexpected sounds. Therefore, this can cause hearing damage if the correct protective gear is not worn.
For an office worker or call centre agent in an office environment a technical fault or feedback from a phone receiver or headset, if loud enough, can cause hearing loss or a case of tinnitus leaving the person painfully sensitive to sound.
Seek medical attention
If you feel as though you are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, tinnitus or any other symptom associated with occupational hearing impairment, you should seek medical attention immediately. Reporting the symptoms to your doctor and you can request a medical report from him documenting your injuries. You will need this as part of the claims process.
Keep a diary of events
Keeping a diary of events to include witness statements, times in which you were exposed to excessive noise, safety equipment you had or had no access to at the time. Reporting these incidents to your employer is also an important step and records of these should be kept in your diary. Proving that your injury could have been avoided if the appropriate safety gear was provided at the time by your employer is an important aspect of your case. This will help prove that your hearing injury was a direct result of your working environment.
Legal time limits
The industrial deafness claim * time limit lasts for a period of two years. The two year period starts from the date of knowledge, this is generally the date an accident occurred, or the date when a person has realised that they are suffering from some form of industrial deafness. This may be the case for Industrial deafness as sometimes the symptoms can take longer to surface.
Therefore, is it important that as soon as you are made aware by your doctor that you may be suffering from an occupational hearing impairment that you contact a solicitor as soon as possible.
Once the two-year time frame has elapsed legal proceedings can no longer be brought forward. The injury claim is then labelled as statute-barred.
We give legal advices in Russian. If you need legal help contact Emilia 087 165 1564
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T: 01 649 9900 – Reception
T: 087 165 1564 – Russian
*In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.Tags: Tracey Solicitors, Здоровье
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