Noise-induced hearing loss compensation
Posted on February 25th 2021
Our Industrial Disease Team works hard to obtain compensation for clients who have suffered injury due their work. They deal with a wide range of conditions from asbestos diseases and vibration white finger, to repetitive strain injuries and noise-induced hearing loss.
Hearing deteriorates with age
As people get older, it is expected that their hearing will deteriorate slightly, however, for people who have been exposed to excessive noise at work, they may find their hearing gets significantly worse. Hearing loss due to excessive noise affects the higher frequencies and it is often not until age-related hearing loss begins that the loss is noticed.
A hearing test or audiogram is a quick and easy way to see whether someone has hearing loss and, because noise-induced hearing loss affects specific frequencies, it is easy to differentiate hearing loss caused by noise and that caused by age.
Having a hearing test
Having a hearing test is a quick, easy and painless process.
The first step if for the audiologist to look inside your ears, this is to make sure there is no physical reason for any hearing problems such as wax build up or a damaged eardrum. To do this they will use an otoscope which is like a torch with a small cone attached, the cone section goes just into your ear and the audiologist will need to pull the top of your ear slightly so they can see your eardrum. This should not hurt and should only take a few seconds.
As the audiologist will need to be able to see your ear drum, if you are aware that you have particularly waxy ears and often have a wax build up, it is a good idea to arrange to have your ears cleaned before you go for your hearing test. Please make sure this is done by someone with the necessary qualifications and do not try to do this yourself. Putting anything into your ear can be dangerous and medical professionals always say you shouldn’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear!
Once the audiologist is happy that there are no physical issues with your ears, they will explain the hearing test to you. You will be given a set of headphones to wear and a button to press. The audiologist will play a series of tones through the headphones, these will be at different frequencies and volumes and you should press the button when you can hear a tone. The audiologist will work through all the frequencies to establish your hearing levels and will then prepare the results.
Hearing test results
The results will be plotted on a graph and the audiologist will talk you through your results.
Here are some example results you may get.
You can see that for age-related hearing loss, the line goes down and does not recover but for noise-induced hearing loss the line goes down and then at around 4kHz it comes back up or goes flat.
Making a claim for noise-induced hearing loss
Once you have established that you have noise-induced hearing loss, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. It is essential that you instruct a solicitor who specialises in noise-induced hearing loss claims, which our Industrial Disease Solicitors do. They have recovered thousands of pounds for clients and are experts in this field.
Our solicitors will take you through your employment history to identify the companies where you were exposed to excessive noise. The general rule is that anywhere you would have to shout to be heard over the noise could cause you hearing loss and you should have been provided with hearing protection and the wearing of protection should have been enforced by the company.
If you are still in contact with any former colleagues, we would also like to speak to them, as evidence from other people will strengthen your claim.
From this information, we will identify the defendants in your claim and if they are no longer trading, will try to trace insurers for the company. Our solicitors will draft a witness statement detailing your full employment history and how your hearing loss affects you.
As part of the claim we have to obtain a medical report from a medical expert. They will review your medical records and, pre-COVID 19, you would go for an appointment with them where you would talk about your hearing issues and have a further hearing test. The expert will then prepare a medical report and this will be the basis of the value of your claim.
The witness evidence and medical report will then be sent to the defendant(s) and we will attempt to negotiate settlement of the claim. In some cases, the defendant(s) will deny they were at fault for causing your hearing problems and it may be necessary for us to issue the claim at Court. This does not mean that your case will ultimately go to Court and be heard in front of a Judge, but it does give the claim a Court approved timetable to help move the claim along and encourage settlement negotiations.
Value of a noise-induced hearing loss claim
Every claim is different and it is impossible to provide a value estimate for a hearing loss claim without having all the information and the medical report. The claim value has two parts, an amount for ‘pain and suffering’ this is based on the level of hearing loss, and an amount for ‘special damages’ which is for any financial losses such as travel to appointments or hearing aids.
It can be difficult to claim any amount for hearing aids as there are good hearing aids available on the NHS, free of charge. However, in some cases we have been successful in arguing that private hearing aids have been necessary.
How can we help with your noise-induced hearing loss claim?
Our Industrial Disease Team has decades of experience in dealing with noise-induced hearing loss claims and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Our team understands that it can be a very difficult and daunting time for you and they will do their best to offer an unparalleled support network and specialist legal expertise. If you are suffering from loss of hearing, buzzing or ringing in your ears, you may be entitled to claim for compensation.
Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306