Pamela Bradshaw | Associate

Industrial Deafness: An Overview

Many individuals are exposed to loud noises on a continual basis throughout the course of their employment. The most common example is those who work in factories, surrounded by noisy machinery. There are others though, such as those who work in music venues and bars who are also exposed to loud music throughout their employment. As a result of these conditions, people will often develop a hearing loss or tinnitus (a continuous ringing noise in their ears).

At Jackson Boyd we have a wealth of experience of dealing with industrial deafness cases. A few of the issues that arise as a result of these cases are addressed below.

Time Limits

In cases involving industrial deafness an individual has three years to make a claim from the date that it was considered reasonable for them to be aware that their symptoms were due to their employment. This means that it is possible for the time limit to begin prior to any diagnosis of a hearing loss or tinnitus.

Is there an automatic right to compensation?

There is no automatic right to compensation however. You must be able to prove negligence on the part of your employer/former employer. You must also be able to prove that it was this negligence that led to you developing an industrial deafness related condition.

Under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, anyone exposed to levels of noise greater than 85db is required to wear hearing protection. Quite often hearing protection will not be provided meaning that these employees are continually being exposed to high levels of noise. As a result they develop a hearing loss and tinnitus.

What if the employer is no longer trading?

Quite often the company that exposed an individual to loud noise is no longer trading at the time they are looking to make a claim. The fact that a company has gone out of business does not prevent you from making a claim. In these cases, we will be bringing a case against the company’s employers’ liability insurers and not the company itself. We are able to take steps to identify who the insurers were at the time of your employment.

It should be noted however that employers’ liability insurance was not mandatory until 1972. If the exposure occurred prior to this date then it there is a high possibility that no insurers will be found.

What information can help my case?

It is helpful if you can provide us with a detailed description of the type of work that you carried out while working. Information relating to the availability of hearing protection and details of any hearing screening that your employers offered is helpful too.

If you are still in touch with anyone that you worked with then it is helpful for us to have their details as it means that we can take a statement from them in order to confirm the conditions you were describing.

Details of any complaints that you made to your employer about the noise levels is also helpful. If these complaints were made in writing then it would be helpful for us to have a copy of these.

Why Jackson Boyd?

At Jackson Boyd we have experience of working with clients with a hearing loss. We are aware of the barriers to communication that people with a hearing loss face and so communicate with clients in many different ways to make sure these barriers are eliminated. We regularly communicate with clients by email (as well as the traditional letters), text message and even fax if required. More recently, we have introduced a web chat function within our website which again is geared towards breaking down any remaining barriers. This means that no one is excluded.

We are also aware that clients do prefer to meet with us face to face. We have staff in the office that are able to communicate using British Sign Language and have recently been teaching our staff some of the basics of British Sign Language. This means that we can meet with clients without having to arrange an interpreter. We can even arrange an appointment by Skype if preferred.

If someone has sustained a hearing loss we understand that this can be a very difficult time for them. We are used to dealing with cases that have changed a client’s life significantly and therefore understand the difficulties and frustrations that they are experiencing.

If you have been exposed to noise as a result of your working conditions, click here to contact us online or call 0333 222 1855 to speak to a member of our specialist team.

Pamela Bradshaw

Pamela Bradshaw

Personal Injury Team

“Meeting people at a difficult time in their lives, getting to know them and helping them to get something positive out of the circumstances they find themselves in is the most rewarding part of my job.”

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