Guide to Hearing Loss

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Guide to Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common injury that can remain unnoticed for years as it develops gradually. Most people accept a certain level of hearing loss with age. However, if that hearing loss is due to previous exposure to excessive noise at work, a claim for compensation for noise induced hearing loss may be made. As we deal with these claims on a ‘no win no fee’ basis there is nothing to lose by investigating a potential claim.

Many of our clients often comment that they did not like to complain about the noise levels at work because they were happy to have a job and did not want to ‘rock the boat’. Regardless of this, employers should have provided suitable conditions for their employees and clients should not feel as though they are not entitled to make a claim. Noise induced hearing loss is a permanent loss and therefore clients should investigate whether a claim can be made as they will have to live with the damage caused by their previous employers forever.

Guide to Noise Levels

Vocal Effort NeededNoise Levels: dB(A)Noise Levels: dB(A)Noise Levels: dB(A)
Close to ear2 feet away4 feet away
Normal VoiceLess than 81
Raised Voice87
Very loud voice93
Shouting105
ImpossibleMore than 110

Typical Noise Levels

IntensityExample
10Broadcasting studio
20Bedroom at night
30Library
40Suburban Living room
50Busy office
60Conversational speech
70Traffic on a street corner
80Inside a bus
90Inside an underground train
100Grinder, circular saw
110Loud Motor Horn
120Sandblast machine, propeller engine
130Pneumatic road breaker
140Jet engine, pain threshold

NB. A 3dB increase in the noise level represents a doubling of the noise intensity i.e. a noise at 93dB is twice as intense as a noise at 90dB (although to the human ear a 3dB change is barely noticeable).

A 10dB increase represents a 10 fold increase in noise intensity.

A 20dB increase represents a 100 fold increase in noise intensity (e.g. 90dB is 100 times more intense than a noise of 70dB).

Expected attenuation values for hearing protectors

Class of Hearing ProtectionAttenuation (dB)
Dry cotton wool and music headphones0
Waxed Cotton wool5
Soft plastic ear plugs10
Canal caps (suprameatal plugs on headband)10
Personalised ear moulds10
Glass down ear plus (e.g. Bilsom)15
Plastic foam ear plugs (e.g. E.A.R. range)15
Earmuffs (ear defenders)20

If you have an enquiry and would like to discuss a claim or injury on a no obligation basis please feel free to contact us on 01244 312306.