Why did BT put me at Risk of Hearing Loss?


After over 3 decades of working for BT, the retired engineer came to Simpson Millar LLP to see if we could help him get compensation for his hearing loss.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Loyal BT Worker Exposed to Danger

The man started working for BT in 1964, initially as a technician. His main responsibilities included connecting telephone wires to households and wiring inside the properties. He later moved to a different department, working as a 2-man team, using oscillator and amplifier equipment. He used this equipment at different times during his career with BT, but more so towards the end when he was employed as a 'special faults investigator'.

Throughout his career, he used a green model headset and unmodified yellow headset before his retirement in 1995.

BT never provided him with any warnings and no steps were taken to alert him to the dangers of noise induced hearing loss or tinnitus when using the equipment. The noises and feedback he received through the headset were neither controllable nor predictable, exposing him to harm on a daily basis without his knowledge.

BT at Fault

Altogether, we found 8 instances in which BT were at fault and had failed their loyal employee. They included:

  • Exposing him to the noise in the first place
  • Not providing adequate hearing protection
  • Failing to assess the levels of noise in the workplace regularly, or at all
  • Failing to take any steps to organise the man's work and minimise his exposure to harmful levels of noise

The man first went to his GP about his hearing problems in 2005, 10 years after his retirement. Up until then he was just "trying to live with" his hearing difficulties. He was referred to an audiologist who syringed his ears, but was later given a pair of NHS hearing aids. Although the hearing aids are a great help, his hearing is worse in the left ear than the right.

Simpson Millar LLP Negotiate Compensation

It was not until 2012 when a colleague indicated that his hearing loss may have been a result of his time working at BT After suffering for over a decade the man finally approached a solicitor to try and get compensation for his workplace injury.

Because the man was already happy with his hearing aids, when we presented his case to BT we did not need to argue for the price of new hearing aids to be included in his settlement. Throughout the claim, the man expressed that because of his hearing loss he had long-standing problems communicating with his wife and often has to lip read.

There is help out there for people who have suffered similar injuries and may need hearing aids as a result. After negotiating with BT, he was awarded £5,500 for his injuries.

Top Tips to Take Home

  • If you noticed a change in your hearing and have previously worked in a noisy environment – your former employer may be to blame
  • Your company is responsible for your health and safety at work
  • The NHS can provide you with hearing aids, however for a better quality aid you may want to consider including them in your compensation settlement

News Archive

Get In Touch