The saga of hearing problems at BT continues – What about tinnitus?


We recently helped a 57 year old man successfully settle a claim against his former employer BT after he suffered not only hearing loss, but tinnitus too. In the past few years, we have handled hundreds of noise induced deafness and tinnitus claims for BT engineers. These injuries are commonly caused by controversial tone sets and oscillators.

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

What work was the engineer doing?

The engineer worked on both overhead and underground cables, his work initially involved the green, and then later the yellow tone sets to test the lines.

The problem with this line of work is that you will experience sudden, loud bursts of noise through an earphone. This was what happened to the BT worker. After doing this kind of work for long periods, he used to hear a buzzing noise in his ears.

What caused the BT engineer's recent hearing loss?

He later stopped doing this kind of work and moved into managerial and training positions at BT where he wasn't exposed to loud noises. Sadly, the damage had already been done.

He complained of a high pitched buzzing noise when in quiet surroundings, which has seriously affected him. On top of this, he started to experience high levels of hearing loss, having to have the TV on 'full blast'.

He went to his doctor for this who couldn't help him, as it was believed to be an earwax problem when in fact it was his work as a BT engineer.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) started to make their members aware of the damage done by controversial tone sets through a campaign. Shortly after, we took on his claim.

What did Simpson Millar LLP do?

Simpson Millar LLP's Phillip Gower commented, "The client finds he has to turn the volume up on his TV and struggles to hear conversations, particularly in the presence of background noise. He frequently has to ask others to speak up or repeat themselves."

We got a medical report from an expert 'Ear, Nose and Throat' surgeon who confirmed that the engineers hearing loss was worse than other people his age, he also confirmed the diagnosis of tinnitus. This, combined with our evidence of BT's poor health and safety provisions at the time he was injured, led to an out of court settlement of £7000.

Top tips to take home

  • If you’re a member of a trade union, make sure you keep on top of any awareness campaigns they do
  • You may not experience symptoms of an injury such as hearing loss or tinnitus until some time after doing this kind of work
  • There are several possible types of treatment for sufferers of tinnitus – treatment for your injuries is one of the main purposes of compensation

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