Acoustic Shock Compensation Claims
If somebody else’s negligence has caused you to suffer an acoustic shock injury, you could be eligible to receive compensation by making an acoustic shock claim.
Acoustic shock refers to an injury caused to the ear and hearing and is a relatively new form of an industrial accident. Employers are now legally obliged to provide adequate protection and thorough risk assessment to staff in order to prevent acoustic shock, though previously, legislation was less structured in this area.
In 2004, the Acoustic Safety Programme was introduced, and this was set up to offer guidance and support to businesses and call centres to protect staff from hearing related complications. However, some employees still suffer from cases of acoustic shock, and when it can be proven that the employer was liable, a personal injury compensation claim can be pursued.
What is an acoustic shock?
The term acoustic shock refers to a shock to the hearing which can have a significant and long-lasting impact. The condition is most often caused in call centres, where occasional strained hearing and headsets are used over extended periods of time.
The shock is usually caused by an extremely loud or high-pitched noise or a trigger noise like feedback oscillation or fax machine prolonged beeps are exposed down the line. The usually unexpected noise results in an intense muscle contraction, and this leads to a tear in the inner membrane of the ear. This can be an incredibly painful and uncomfortable injury which can have an ongoing impact on the victim.
What are the symptoms of an acoustic shock?
The strong muscle contraction that is caused following an acoustic shock can lead to a host of unpleasant and painful symptoms. Some of the most common ailments related to acoustic shock that are presented to us in cases include the following:
- Pain in the ear
- Dizziness and nausea
- Jaw, neck and face pain
- Tinnitus – where the victim suffers from ongoing ringing in the ear(s)
- Hyperacusis – which is an increased sensitivity to sounds that were previously tolerable. This can lead to painful hearing and severe discomfort.
- Depression caused by the impact of symptoms
- Sensitivity in hearing
- Strange and unwelcome noises in the ear such as fluttering
- Hearing distortion
Many victims of acoustic shock suffer psychological damage as well as physical symptoms. The initial trauma of the shock can lead to anxiety and even prolonged fear, confidence issues and low mood as a subsequent result of the pain and impairment that has been inflicted. Further emotional distress is likely to be caused by the inability to work or carry out activities in the same way you did prior to the shock.
The symptoms can have a significant impact on a victim’s life and can result in restrictions to the enjoyability of normal activities, work capabilities and socialising. The amount of compensation that is awarded to you will reflect the level and extensiveness of the symptoms that you incur.
Is acoustic shock permanent?
An acoustic shock will often result in some level of permanent damage to the ear. The impact of this damage can vary massively, with many people being able to regain normal hearing function within a few days or weeks.
However, in some cases, a person’s hearing may only partially improve, or there could be permanent damage.
Tinnitus, for example, is a common symptom experienced by people that have suffered an acoustic trauma. This can often last for long periods, and in severe cases of tinnitus, the damage and symptoms can be permanent.
Who is at risk of suffering acoustic shock?
Acoustic shock can affect anybody who experiences a sudden and unexpected louse noise. Naturally, some industries and job roles are more at risk of suffering this type of hearing injury than others.
One of the main industries prone to acoustic shock injuries are call centre workers. Many call centre employees will be required to wear headsets for most of their working day. They could suffer acoustic shock from a high pitched or loud noise caused by any of the following:
- a faulty headset, telephone or other equipment
- a transmission fault
- somebody making a sudden loud noise down the phone line
Other professions that are vulnerable to acoustic shock and other ear injuries include the armed forces, factory workers, agriculture, mining and quarry workers. Basically, anybody working with or in close proximity to heavy machinery could be at risk of suffering this type of hearing injury.
Regardless of your job role or the industry you work in, if you have suffered from acoustic shock and believe that your employer was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation.
To find out if you have a valid acoustic shock claim, call free on 0800 678 1410 to speak to a trained legal advisor. Alternatively, you can enter your details into our online claim form, and a legal advisor will call you back.
How is liability determined for acoustic shock claims?
Acoustic shock is not a condition which is specifically referred to in UK legislation, but there are laws which outline the way in which employers must protect their workers. This includes the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Noise at Work Regulations 2005. These two pieces of legislation detail that the maximum noise that a person should be subjected to is 85 decibels, which is the same level observed by the manufacturers of headphones.
It is possible for people to suffer acoustic shock below the level of 85 decibels, and so employers are required to complete thorough risk assessments and take steps to ensure that full reporting measures are in place for their staff who have concerns about the potential hazards.
The HSE guidelines stipulate that acoustic shock is unlikely to occur if an employer observes their legal duty of care to their staff through the practice of good safety actions and minimising exposure to risk. Furthermore, employers, under the HSE guidelines, are obliged to provide training to call centre staff to help them recognise incidents of acoustic shock and report them promptly in order to receive relevant treatment and support. If the employer failed to provide such training, the victim is well placed to make a successful claim for compensation.
If your employer fails in their legal observations and duty of care to you and as a result you have suffered an acoustic shock, you are likely to be eligible to make a claim for work accident compensation.
How much compensation will I receive for an acoustic shock injury?
Your solicitor will strive to achieve the highest levels of compensation available for your case. This is done by assessing and demonstrating:
- The severity of the injuries you have suffered.
- The longevity of your symptoms and whether there is any permanent hearing loss.
- The impact and disruption that the acoustic shock has had on your life.
- The cost of any hearing aids or other assistive devices needed to help improve your hearing.
- Any financial losses linked to your injury, such as lost wages and transport costs for medical appointments.
The largest compensation awards are paid to victims who experience the worst symptoms of an acoustic shock or who have suffered irreparable damage to their hearing.
When negotiating the final settlement sum on your behalf, your solicitor will endeavour to recover costs for:
- Physical suffering
- Emotional impact
- Loss of earnings – both to date and potential lost future earning capabilities
- Costs of any treatment needed
- Costs for any specialist equipment that the acoustic shock has necessitated, such as telephone and television audio support.
- Travel costs for any treatment or examination appointments
The table below shows some approximate compensation amounts for various hearing injuries linked to acoustic shock claims. These are based on guidelines produced by the Judicial College and only take into account general damages.
General damages is the pain and suffering part of the compensation award before any financial losses are taken into account (known as special damages).
|Total deafness in both ears||£85,170 to £102,890|
|Total hearing loss in one ear||£29,380 to £42,730|
|Severe tinnitus with hearing loss||£27,890 to 42,730|
|Moderate tinnitus with some hearing loss||£13,970 to £27,890|
|Mild tinnitus with some hearing loss||£11,820 to £13,970|
|Mild tinnitus with no hearing loss||Up to £6,580|
|Slight hearing loss with no tinnitus||Up to £6,580|
No Win No Fee acoustic shock claims
Most people have heard of the phrase no win no fee. But some may not be familiar with what it actual means, and how a no win no fee service works.
In a nutshell, making a no win no fee acoustic shock claim means that you are protected against having to pay your solicitors legal costs if they are unable to win your case.
The phrase is used to describe what is called a conditional fee agreement. This is the agreement between yourself and your solicitor that confirms all of the terms and conditions of the service being provided.
Before you sign anything, your solicitor will make sure you fully understand the terms of service. Solicitors appreciate that any legal interaction can be daunting, so they always work hard to keep their service as transparent and straightforward as possible.
The key points to remember about the no win no fee service is that there are no upfront costs, no hidden charges and if the solicitor doesn’t win your case, you won’t pay them a penny.
What is the time limit for making a claim for acoustic shock?
If you have suffered from acoustic shock due to your employer’s negligence, we would advise you to contact an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible.
You must start your claim within three years of the injury to be eligible to proceed. Failure to abide by the time limit can render your claim invalid, regardless of how significant your injury and losses have been.
The date that the time limit begins to tick away is usually the date of the accident. If the injury you have suffered, or the fact that it was caused by your working environment, was not discovered until a later date, it is this date that will be used. This is known as the date of knowledge.
In either case, it is best to start legal proceeding as soon as possible. This is because the longer it is left, the more difficult gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim may be.
Start your acoustic shock claim with InjuryClaims.co.uk
If you or a loved one has been affected by an acoustic shock injury and you would like to find out if you have a valid claim, contact a solicitor today.
For a free case assessment, call today on 0800 678 1410 or request a call back. This is a chance to discuss your accident and the impact it has had on your life. If you do have a valid claim and you would like to proceed, your solicitor will be happy to offer you a 100% no win no fee service.
To get started, or to simply receive some free advice about the process of making a compensation claim, enter your details into the contact form below. A friendly and fully trained legal adviser will call you back for a friendly chat and explain how they can help.