Claims for work-related deafness and hearing loss
If you have sustained hearing loss or deafness due to your working environment, you could be eligible to make an industrial deafness claim against your employer
How Much Could You Claim?

Industrial Deafness Claims

Claims for industrial deafness and noise-induced hearing loss are surprisingly common in the UK. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), around 17,000 people are diagnosed with work-related deafness or hearing damage each year.

Suffering from any form of hearing loss can be incredibly frustrating and leave you feeling a sense of isolation. Depending on the level of damage, you may find it increasingly difficult to communicate and hold a conversation. That can significantly impact both your work and personal life.

Workers deemed most at risk are those in industries such as manufacturing, energy and construction. However, any environment where there is exposure to loud noise levels can put employees at risk of hearing loss in the workplace.

Employers must take all reasonable measures to protect you from loud noises at work. If you are suffering from industrial deafness or conditions such as tinnitus, and you believe that your working environment caused the damage, you could be entitled to claim compensation.

An experienced personal injury solicitor will be happy to assess your case during a free consultation. You can find out within just a few minutes if you may have a valid industrial deafness claim. This assessment is provided free of charge and without any obligation to proceed. Call 0800 032 3660 today or click here to request a call back.

What is industrial hearing loss?

Industrial hearing loss is a form of hearing loss caused by exposure to high levels of sound in the workplace, which can damage delicate structures in the inner ear. It can present itself in several ways, including tinnitus, temporary and permanent hearing loss.

The condition can affect workers in various industries, especially where there is frequent exposure to loud machinery, equipment, and tools. The most commonly affected are those working in:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Transport
  • Music and events
  • Military training sites
  • Bars and nightclubs

You could make an industrial deafness claim for several different conditions, including:

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is characterised by the perception of ringing, buzzing, hissing, or other similar sounds in the ears when there is no external source of such sound. The condition can affect one or both ears and may be temporary or chronic and vary in intensity. While tinnitus itself is not a disease, it can be bothersome and impact daily life, causing difficulty in focusing, sleeping, or participating in conversations.

Acoustic shock syndrome

Acoustic shock syndrome is an injury that occurs when you are exposed to sudden loud noises, such as explosions, feedback from headphones or gunshots. This exposure can lead to various symptoms that affect hearing and overall well-being. Prevention is crucial, so many modern headphones are limited to 118 decibels (dB). Sometimes, the eardrum can be perforated, causing permanent hearing problems.

Temporary hearing loss

Exposure to continuous noise over 75-80 dB for several hours can temporarily damage hearing. The louder the sound, the less time it takes to damage hearing. After exposure, you may hear muffled sounds and a sensation of pressure and discomfort in the ears. It can be immediately apparent or take a few hours to develop and can usually be reversed or improved with appropriate treatment.

Permanent hearing loss

This condition refers to a lasting and irreversible reduction in your ability to hear sounds. It is usually due to exposure to dangerous noise levels for many years in the workplace without proper protection. Hearing aids, cochlear implants, and assistive listening devices can sometimes improve hearing and quality of life for sufferers. Early detection, diagnosis, and appropriate management are essential for minimising the impact of permanent hearing loss.

If you have suffered hearing damage at work due to a lack of safety measures, you might be entitled to compensation for deafness.

What might cause industrial hearing loss?

Hearing loss in the workplace can be caused by a variety of factors. It is primarily concerned with two types of loud noise in the workplace. These noises are:

  • Continuous Loud Noise. For example, working in a factory where loud machinery is being used regularly. Prolonged exposure to loud noise without sufficient protection can lead to a progressive worsening of hearing. That can ultimately cause permanent damage.
  • Single Loud Noise. As well as prolonged exposure to noise, deafness can also be due to a single event. For example, the demolition of a building might expose a worker without adequate protection to a sudden and excessive volume. This exposure can result in acoustic shock, hearing loss or industrial deafness.

Whether hearing loss is due to a single event or prolonged exposure, if your employer was negligent, you have every right to consider starting a claim for deafness. Some common causes and contributing factors include:

  • Prolonged exposure to consistent loud noises, like machinery in manufacturing plants, construction sites, or industrial settings;
  • Sudden, intense noises such as explosions or loud equipment noises without warning or protection;
  • Not using proper hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs in noisy environments;
  • Lack of measures to control and reduce noise levels in the workplace;
  • Frequent exposure to excessive noise over time, causing cumulative damage;
  • Machinery or equipment emitting louder than acceptable sounds due to lack of maintenance;
  • Insufficient education on the risks of noise exposure and how to protect hearing;
  • Working in industries like construction, manufacturing, agriculture, or entertainment where loud noises are frequent;
  • Exposure to chemicals or substances that can damage both hearing and the auditory system;
  • Negligent employers not implementing noise control measures or providing protective equipment.

Symptoms and treatment of industrial deafness

The symptoms of hearing loss at work can vary from person to person. Some of the most common signs reported by those suffering from the condition include:

  • Struggling to understand conversations, especially in loud environments
  • Experiencing ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in the ears, even when there is no external noise
  • Temporary or permanent lack of hearing in one or both ears
  • Missing parts of conversations despite paying attention
  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves during conversations
  • Difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds like the voices of children or women
  • Increasing the volume on devices like the television or phone to hear properly
  • Withdrawing from social situations and participating in conversations
  • Misunderstanding what others are saying, leading to confusion or incorrect responses
  • Mental fatigue, anxiety and stress from straining to hear
  • Feeling unsteady or dizzy
  • A feeling of pressure or fullness in the ears

If you suspect industrial hearing loss due to workplace noise exposure, seeking medical attention and getting hearing tests is crucial. Early diagnosis and appropriate interventions can help manage the condition and prevent it from worsening. The best course of treatment will vary from case to case and may include:

  • Avoiding loud sounds and giving the hair cells in the ears enough time to rest;
  • Some medications might help manage associated symptoms, such as tinnitus;
  • For mild to moderate hearing loss, hearing aids can help amplify sounds;
  • For severe hearing loss, cochlear implants can be considered, which directly stimulate the auditory nerve;
  • Devices like FM or loop systems can help in specific listening situations, such as group conversations or public events;
  • Learning techniques to improve communication, lip-reading, and understanding in noisy environments;
  • Making adjustments in daily life to reduce exposure to loud noises and protect remaining hearing;
  • Coping strategies and emotional support can help manage the psychological impact of hearing loss.

If you have lost your hearing due to your employer’s negligence, you might be able to claim. Compensation for deafness can help you pay for any medical aids or treatments you may need for your condition.

Employer responsibilities to protect employees against hearing loss in the workplace

Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe and regulated environment for their staff. This duty to protect employees against workplace accidents and injuries is set out by several health and safety laws and regulations. The most well-known and encompassing is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

In recent years, stricter regulations have been placed on employers to protect workers against specific risks. These include working at heights, manual handling, using work equipment and working in noisy environments. These additional measures have been taken to improve workplace health and safety and reduce injuries and illnesses suffered at work.

To protect against hearing damage and industrial deafness, the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 includes several safety measures and legal requirements that employers must meet. These regulations aim to enhance the protection of employees and ensure that adequate provisions are in place to minimise the risk of damage to hearing in the workplace. Some of the terms that employers should meet include:

  • Carry out risk assessments to assess the noise levels in the workplace.
  • Evaluate which employees may be affected by excessive noise levels.
  • Take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of hearing damage to these employees.

Some of the measures that employers can adopt to minimise the possibility of hearing loss to their staff include:

  • Provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as earplugs and ear defenders
  • Use quieter equipment and machinery or adapt existing equipment to be less noisy
  • Ensure the machinery used is well maintained
  • Shorten working periods to minimise long exposure to loud noise
  • Provide regular rest breaks from the noisy environment in a quiet area
  • Making use of absorbent materials and noise barriers
  • Consider using less noisy equipment when possible
  • Provide staff with adequate warnings of high noise in specific areas of the workplace
  • Train staff to recognise potential risks to themselves and within the working environment
  • Carry out regular checks of the workplace and thorough maintenance of noise-producing machinery and equipment
  • Conduct frequent reviews of health and safety measures

If your hearing has suffered due to a breach of these duties, you might be able to start a claim for deafness. To find out if your case has merit, enter your details into our claim form to arrange a free consultation with an experienced legal adviser.

Can I make an industrial deafness claim?

If you experience any signs or symptoms of hearing loss, the first step is to visit your GP for a diagnosis. Explaining the situation to your GP will help them to determine the extent and likely cause of your injury. If your hearing loss, whether partial or permanent, is due to your employment, the next step would be to seek legal advice.

Call 0800 032 3660 to arrange a free case assessment, where you can speak to an experienced solicitor to find out if you have a valid claim. This service is provided without obligation. It is an opportunity for you to ask questions and receive information about the process of making a claim. As a general rule, you should be entitled to compensation for deafness if:

  • Your employer has breached their duty of care towards you
  • You suffered hearing loss in the workplace due to their negligence

You must seek legal advice as soon as possible, as there are strict time limits for making a claim. For industrial deafness claims, you have to start legal proceedings within three years of the accident (if the damage was due to a single event) or within three years of the date that your loss of hearing has been diagnosed.

What is the process for claiming industrial deafness compensation?

If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor specialising in industrial deafness claims. They will assess the viability of your case based on the circumstances, evidence, and applicable laws.

If you have a valid claim for deafness and would like to proceed, your solicitor will arrange for you to receive a medical examination conducted by an independent medical expert.

The doctor will assess your symptoms and ask questions about the work you do. That will help them determine the cause of your hearing damage. For example, what type of noise have you been exposed to? How long were you exposed to this noise? Were you provided with suitable ear protection?

Your solicitor will use the information within the medical report to build a case against the company at fault. Other evidence gathered, such as witness statements, will also be essential in your claim.

Your solicitor must also prove that your employer was or should have been aware of the dangers caused by excessive noise at work. To secure compensation for deafness, they must show that your employer has failed to take reasonable steps to protect you against this risk and that this negligence led to you suffering from industrial deafness.

The solicitor will send your employer a letter detailing the claim made against them. They will have a set time scale to respond. If your employer accepts liability, the case will be settled without the need to go through the Courts.

A Court hearing would only be required if liability for the injury is contested or an agreement can’t be reached on the compensation award. In this case, a judge would decide the outcome of the case based on evidence provided by both parties.

If your claim is successful, the compensation awarded for your injuries and financial losses will be paid by your employer’s insurance company.

All employers in the UK have a legal obligation to hold valid employer’s liability insurance. This insurance covers them against work-related accidents and injuries, including those relating to deafness or hearing loss.

Evidence needed to claim compensation for deafness

If you start an industrial deafness claim, it will typically be forwarded to your employer’s insurance company. By default, they will try to deny any liability for your hearing loss. Thus, you need as much evidence as possible to prove your employer was negligent and how your condition has affected your life.

The following evidence could help you win industrial deafness compensation:

  • Medical reports that confirm your diagnosis, the extent of your hearing loss and the treatments you received
  • An expert medical opinion from a qualified professional linking your hearing loss to your workplace
  • Details of your employment history, including the tasks you performed and how long you were exposed to loud noises
  • Occupational health records showing your working conditions, if available
  • Noise assessment reports or workplace safety records indicating the decibels you were exposed to at your workplace
  • Statements from co-workers or colleagues about your exposure to loud noises
  • Photographs or videos of the working environment, the equipment used, and any conditions that might have contributed to your hearing loss
  • Any records of safety measures or protective equipment provided by your employer
  • Emails, letters and other correspondence with your employer if you complained about noise levels, lack of protective equipment, or requested safer working conditions
  • Evidence of financial losses you incurred due to your hearing loss, such as medical expenses or lost income
  • Information about how your hearing loss has affected your work, social life and daily activities

Once you have all the necessary evidence, your solicitor will send a claim notification form to the other side. If they admit liability, you may begin to negotiate your industrial deafness compensation. If they deny it, a judge will resolve the case after carefully considering the available proof.

Could I be sacked if I make an industrial deafness claim?

Many people who have suffered work-related hearing loss delay starting a claim against their employer. That is because they are worried that they may be sacked or disciplined as a result. However, there are employment laws in place that make it illegal for you to be treated differently for suing your employer.

Furthermore, if you make a successful claim for deafness, your employer’s insurer will pay your compensation, so they will not be left out of pocket.

If you feel you have been disciplined in any way following your compensation claim, you could potentially take further legal action. Your solicitor will be able to help you start a separate legal claim for unfair or constructive dismissal. Your employer cannot legally terminate your employment or discriminate against you for seeking compensation due to a work-related injury or condition like industrial hearing loss.

Could I make a claim against a previous employer?

The exact time it takes for hearing damage to occur can vary depending on factors like the intensity of the noise and the duration of exposure. In some cases, it might take years of consistent exposure to loud sounds for noticeable hearing damage to become apparent.

That means you may no longer work for the company where you sustained the damage. Even so, you may still be able to claim industrial deafness compensation from them, as long as you start legal proceedings within three years of your diagnosis.

A work accident claim could also be possible even if your former employer is no longer trading. After discussing your work history, your solicitor will track down their former insurer and will claim compensation from them. You cannot proceed with a claim if both your former employer and their insurer are untraceable.

To start a claim for deafness against your previous employer, call 0800 032 3660 today or fill in our online claim form to speak to an experienced legal adviser.

How much compensation could I claim for deafness?

The compensation you could claim for industrial hearing loss can vary widely and depends on several factors specific to your case. These include the severity of your injury, its impact on your daily life, your age and future earning potential.

Compensation for deafness is typically divided into two main categories:

  • General Damages. These cover the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity. The severity of your hearing loss and its impact on your quality of life will influence the amount awarded for general damages.
  • Special Damages. These cover financial losses you have suffered due to your hearing loss, such as medical expenses, loss of income, and costs of hearing aids.

Special damages are calculated based on physical evidence such as receipts, invoices and wage slips. General damages are awarded based on historical cases and the guidelines offered by the Judicial College. According to these, you could receive:

  • £6,000 to £13,000 for slight hearing loss and tinnitus
  • £13,000 to £27,890 for mild tinnitus and hearing loss or moderate to severe tinnitus or hearing loss alone
  • £27,890 to £42,730 for severe tinnitus and hearing loss
  • £29,000 to £42,000 for the total loss of hearing in one ear
  • £85,170 to £102,890 for complete hearing loss in both ears
  • £102,000 to £132,000 for total deafness and loss of speech

An experienced solicitor will be able to give you an accurate estimate of your compensation for deafness during a free initial consultation.

Time limits to make an industrial deafness compensation claim

According to the Limitation Act 1980, there is a three-year time limit to make a personal injury claim, including a claim for deafness, starting from:

  • On the date of your accident, if you were exposed to a single loud noise that caused immediate symptoms
  • On the date of your diagnosis (date of knowledge), if you suffered hearing loss in the workplace due to constant exposure to excessive noises over an extended period

Although three years might seem like a long time, you should seek legal advice as early as possible after becoming aware of your condition. That will ensure you do not miss any deadlines and will give your solicitor plenty of time to find out what happened and gather evidence to support your case. If you leave your claim until the last minute, there may not be enough time to complete all the required tasks, and your claim could become time-barred.

There are a few exceptions to the three-year time limit to start an industrial deafness compensation claim:

  • If a person under 18 suffered hearing damage while working part-time or being on work experience, the three-year time limit begins on their 18th birthday. Before this point, a parent or legal guardian could claim on their behalf.
  • If the claimant cannot start legal proceedings due to a condition such as an intellectual disability or mental health disorder, no time limit applies. In this case, a litigation friend could claim for them anytime.
  • If you suffered hearing loss while working in the military, you have seven years to claim compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).
  • If you were injured while working abroad, the time limit to start an industrial deafness claim might depend on the foreign country’s laws. As this could be much shorter than three years, you should speak with a legal adviser promptly if you find yourself in this situation.

Benefits of using InjuryClaims.co.uk

Deciding to make a claim, particularly for a workplace injury or illness, can be a daunting prospect. You may be unsure about the claims process or the potential ramifications, which is entirely understandable.

The solicitors we work in partnership with have expert knowledge and extensive experience handling claims for industrial hearing loss. They put in a lot of effort to thoroughly learn the details of your specific case and proceed with your claim confidently and assertively.

If you decide to start a claim for deafness, your solicitor will provide you with a no win no fee* service. That means you will not have to make any upfront payments to start your claim and get legal representation. Furthermore, the no win no fee agreement also ensures that, if your case fails, you will not pay a penny.

If your industrial deafness claim is successful, your solicitor will work hard to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for the injuries and losses you have incurred. If you win, they will receive up to 25% of your settlement as their success fee. With this in mind, you can rest assured they will always have your best interest at heart.

Your solicitor will also take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy at the beginning of the case to make sure you do not have to pay any legal fees in the event of a loss. The ATE will cover costs such as:

  • The defendant’s legal expenses and solicitors
  • Court and counsel fees
  • Travel expenses like fuel and parking
  • Cost of printing and copying
  • Medical reports and expert witness fees

To find out if you are eligible for compensation, call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back. A friendly legal adviser will offer you a free case assessment and gladly answer any questions you may have.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.