Tinnitus Awareness Week: Our Client's Experiences
Personal Injury and Occupational Illness experts at Simpson Millar are this week showing support for national Tinnitus Awareness Week. The week is the 10th week organised by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) and hopes to promote the importance of hearing protection.
Tinnitus affects around 6 million people in the UK – that's about 10% of the population. Tinnitus is usually associated with hearing damage and is typified by a ringing noise in the ears, but it can also sound like buzzing, humming, or whistling noises.
For some people tinnitus is a minor irritation, but for others it can have an overwhelming impact on their everyday lives; it can cause insomnia, interfere with concentration and cause mental health problems including anxiety and depression.
Real Tinnitus Experiences Told By Our Team
Our Solicitors explain how they have helped clients with tinnitus – it'll give you an idea some of the different ways tinnitus can be caused, the affect it has a person's life, and the remedies available.
Gary, who is based at Simpson Millar's Wimbledon office, explains his client's case;
I recently supported a client whose case is quite different as his tinnitus wasn't caused by noise exposure, but began following a head injury. My client was employed as a HGV driver. His vehicle was carrying various green waste but the load hadn't been secured. When he tried to turn right, the weight shifted and the lorry rolled over and he had to be freed from the vehicle.
He was left with a laceration to his forehead, severe facial bruising, neck and shoulder injuries and tinnitus. The accident had a serious psychological impact; he has a panic disorder and experts suggest he may need anti-depressants and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to be able to cope.I was pleased to be able to reach a favourable settlement of £30,000 despite coming across problems; the employer had gone into liquidation and whilst the firm that had taken them over admitted liability, they also claimed my client had been partly responsible (contributory negligence).
We hope that this settlement will go some way towards giving my client the support and rehabilitation he needs to manage the difficulties he now suffers from because of this accident.
My client was a customer in a supermarket who was injured upon leaving the store when he slipped and fell on a spillage that had been left on the floor. He landed heavily on his back, with his head hitting the floor.
In hospital it was found that he had injured his back and neck – these injuries took around a year to finally get better. After the accident he also began suffering with tinnitus, which medical evidence shows was related to the accident.
Sadly, the tinnitus has had a marked impact on his life and it continues to interfere with his social life and the activities he enjoys. Whilst it's hoped it may be managed with a hearing therapist and hearing aids, the symptoms will be permanent.
My work on his case found that the supermarket chain has been negligent and breached their duty to my client; they had created a danger to visitors of the store and failed to have an inspection system in place to protect visitors from harm – breaching their duties under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957.I'm happy that we were able to secure £15,000 in compensation for his injuries.
Gavin is based in our Bristol office and has many years' experience handling occupational illness claims. Gavin didn't manage this case personally, but is reflecting as it is Tinnitus Awareness Week:
Christopher Barker was employed as a mains fitter, which involved digging up road and laying gas and service pipes. In particular Christopher recalls jack hammers, pneumatic drills and a diesel compressor that ran constantly during the day.
When you consider that hearing damage can occur at noises louder than 85 decibels, and a pneumatic drill can reach 120 decibels, it is unsurprising Christopher has now been diagnosed with noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus
In addition to bad hearing loss, Christopher's tinnitus is with him day and night and he describes the constant sound as a "whistling kettle"
which makes it hard for him to get to sleep.
Employers are under a duty to provide hearing protection or reduce noise when it reaches anything over 85 decibels, and no worker should be exposed to anything over 87 decibels. It's clear that Christopher's employers breached their duty, as he was only given hearing protection in his final year of work and even then it was still on an informal basis.We're pleased to have helped Christopher receive £5,500 in compensation for his injuries; we hope that this will help him get access to hearing aids and therapies that provide some relief for his symptoms.
The Importance of Hearing Protection
At Simpson Millar, we hope that this important awareness week will encourage more people to understand the risks of being exposed to dangerous noise levels. As you've seen is the case for our clients, tinnitus has the potential to cause a lifetime of distress, having a far reaching effect on your job, your relationships, even your ability to sleep.
To get involved with Tinnitus Awareness Week, you can join in on a Tea for Tinnitus
event or even host your own! You can find out more on their website at www.teafortinnitus.com
.If you are suffering from tinnitus and you think it's due to being exposed to excessive noise or a personal injury, our solicitors could be able to help. Employers should be held to account for failing to keep you safe, and a compensation settlement could mean access to the therapies you need. Get in touch to see how we can help.