Living with a hearing impairment can be very frustrating – it can be difficult for you to communicate with others, which has a knock-on effect on your confidence. And you might find it especially hard when you’re in places with lots of background noise, such as family parties or events. Hearing loss can even lead to depression because of the knock-on effects on your life.
For some people, hearing loss is just a part of growing older. But in some cases, you might be having difficulty hearing because of the noise levels at a current or previous job. This can feel unfair, especially because the consequences are usually permanent.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an estimated 23,000 workers suffered from industrial deafness between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
Some industries are more likely to cause industrial deafness (also known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) or occupational deafness) – especially those which include loud machinery such as drills, jack hammers, and pneumatic tools. This means factory and construction workers are at particularly high risk. High frequency sounds such as through telephone headsets over a long period of time can also lead to hearing problems. Others at risk also include those in the military, and people working in bars and nightclubs.
If you’re suffering from hearing problems because your employer hasn’t followed health and safety rules to protect you from noise, then you may be able to make a claim. Even if you developed your hearing loss a long time after you worked in the factory, etc. that caused the problem, you could well be able to claim compensation.
You can get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438 – they’ll then be able to let you know whether you have a case.
You can make your claim for industrial deafness on a no win no fee basis which means if you don’t win, you don’t have to pay any money.
When you speak to your solicitor, they’ll be able to let you know whether they think your hearing loss compensation claim will be successful. And if you don’t win your compensation claim, their no win no fee promise means that you won’t have to pay your solicitors anything.
With no win no fee, there aren’t any upfront charges or hidden costs either. If you do win your case, your personal injury solicitor will charge you a ‘success fee’ as a percentage of the compensation you receive, but this will only take up a maximum of 25% – so you’ll still get to keep most of it.
The amount of compensation you receive for industrial deafness will depend on how bad your hearing loss is, your prognosis and the impact it’s having on your life.
Under the formal ‘Judicial College Guidelines’ on compensation amounts, for example, if you’ve suffered severe tinnitus or hearing loss, you could be compensated up to almost £43,000, while minor hearing loss and cases of occasional tinnitus may be worth around £11,800.
You’ll also be able to claim compensation for any specific expenses that have been caused by your hearing loss, such as hearing aids, electronic devices and adapted telephones. Your solicitor will find out as much as possible so they can make sure you’re fully covered for the expenses and impact hearing loss has had.
You can also try our compensation calculator which estimates the amount of compensation you might receive based on your answers to some simple questions.
All employers have a duty of care to keep their employees safe from hearing damage, as set out in the Control of Noise at Work Regulations, 2005.
This states that if the noise levels in your workplace are at 80-85 decibels or higher, then your employer should have taken one or all the measures listed below to avoid your hearing being damaged:
If your employer hasn’t taken any of these steps and you’re left with industrial deafness as a result, then you may be able to make a compensation claim to cover the costs and impact that it’s likely to have had on your life.
The fact is, it often takes a long time for industrial deafness to develop, so there’s a risk that your old employer might now have gone out of business. If this applies to you, don’t worry – it’s likely your solicitor can still help. They will usually be able to trace your ex-employer’s insurers, and your compensation will then be paid by them.
Whether your hearing loss is minor or serious, it can still be very difficult to live with. Although hearing loss often doesn’t appear until years after exposure to the loud noise, it can get worse with time. It can also start to emerge very slowly over the years.
The three main types of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) are:
Making a compensation claim can seem daunting, but we’ve seen how much of a difference the money can make to people’s lives – both now as well as in the future.
This is because your solicitor will take all the effects of your hearing loss into consideration when putting together your compensation claim, including the impact it’s likely to have on your life moving forward.
This means you’ll be covered for:
Your solicitor will look closely into your case to make sure you get the amount of compensation you deserve, so that you can get on with your life with confidence and financial security.
You might be worried about starting an industrial deafness claim, your injury lawyer will aim to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible.
The first step is to get in contact with a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438 to find out whether you can make a claim. It’s important to take steps as soon as possible once you realise what caused your hearing loss.
After speaking with an adviser, you might decide you’d like to go ahead with your claim. If you give them your permission, they’ll find the right solicitor for your case and can put you in touch with them straight away.
Your solicitor will be able to do most of the work on your behalf, but they’ll keep you in the loop throughout the process.
To give you the best chance of winning your industrial deafness claim, your solicitor will need to prove that your employer was negligent and that your hearing loss was a direct result of the type and/or volume of the noise in your workplace at the time.
Specifically, they’ll need to prove that your employer should have foreseen that you could suffer hearing loss due to the conditions, and that you were not properly protected.
If it’s been a long time since you realised that your previous job was probably the cause of your deafness, then it can be helpful to think about any evidence you can gather to prove this. For example, you might be able to get in touch with old work colleagues who can give evidence about the noise and the lack of protection.
To help to prove this, your solicitor may also be able to arrange an expert assessment from an Audiologist. They’ll test your hearing and will be able decide whether your hearing loss is the result of your age – or of external factors such as a noisy work environment.
It’s best to start your industrial deafness claim as soon as you can, because you normally only have three years to start legal proceedings.
However, the reality is that hearing loss can take a long time to show. Because of this, the three-year period starts to run from the date of ‘knowledge’ – this is the date on which you first became aware that your hearing loss was caused by your job. Don’t worry if you’re not sure about the ‘date of knowledge’, because your solicitor will be able to talk you through it.
For advice, and to get the ball rolling, you can speak an adviser on 0800 234 6438, or submit your details using the claim form on this page.
When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partners are National Accident Helpline and National Accident Law. They are the UK's leading personal injury service. Their friendly legal services advisers will call you to talk about your claim and give you free, no-obligation advice. National Accident Helpline may pay us a marketing fee for our services.
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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.