Can All Cases Of Tinnitus Lead To Hearing Loss Or Deafness Claims?
The Law Of… Avoiding A Ringing In Your Ears
Difficulty with hearing is a well-known part of growing old. It is expected that our hearing will reduce some amount after the age of 65, with a noticeable difference around the age of 75. However, hearing loss or deafness claims are open to those who have prematurely lost their hearing due to their working environment.
Industrial Disease specialist solicitor, Gavin Evans investigates the life-changing condition, tinnitus, and provides guidance on how to make a claim as a result of work-related tinnitus.
What Is Noise-Related Tinnitus?
If you have been exposed to loud noise over a prolonged period of time and are struggling to hear, you could have what is known as noise-induced hearing loss. Tinnitus is a separate condition but can often accompany noise-induced hearing loss.
Tinnitus itself is the hearing of a sound when no other noise is present. It often presents itself as a constant ringing, buzzing, whooshing or humming. It can be continuous, although it is possible also for it to come and go. It might appear as though the sound is in one or both ears and can often cause confusion in people where they believe the noise is external.
What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Tinnitus?
When you have developed noise-induced tinnitus, the constant ringing can gradually get better over time. For some, there will always be some level of internal noise.
Because of the consistency and irritation of the noise, tinnitus can cause secondary symptoms. Severe cases of tinnitus can be distressing.
Some people with tinnitus may struggle with:
- Sleeping (insomnia)
Sleep can be particularly difficult for those who have developed noise-induced tinnitus. At night, noise levels are generally lower and therefore, the ringing can appear louder.
What Is The Treatment For Noise-Induced Tinnitus?
There is treatment for tinnitus, but it can be a slow process as the sufferer gets used to the constant noise.
Sufferers of tinnitus are advised to:
As with many conditions that affect a person's mental health, what works for one person suffering with tinnitus might not work for another. It is important to try out a range of potential treatments and seek medical advice immediately if you are feeling overwhelmed by the effects of tinnitus.
Can Tinnitus Sufferers Make Claims?
Industrial hearing loss is one of the most common health problems caused by the workplace and can be difficult to detect as the effects of it build up over time. Workplaces with levels of noise that exceed 80dB(A) require the employer to control the level of noise or provide protection against the effects of exposure to high noise levels.
The Health and Safety Executive advise:
- When purchasing new machinery, find relevant information about the noise levels it will create
- Move noisy machines to a location where there are no workers
- Enclose noisy machinery with sound-insulating enclosures
- Provide acoustic screens
- Fit anti-vibration mountings
- Fit silencers to exhaust systems
- Provide earplugs or earmuffs when noise levels exceed 85dB(A)
- Introduce job rotation in order to reduce duration of exposure
If your employer has not followed this advice and you are suffering from tinnitus as a result, you are entitled to make a claim.
How Can Tinnitus Sufferers Make Claims?
Compensation for hearing loss and for tinnitus can help those suffering seek expert advice and specialist treatment without having to wait.
If your tinnitus can be traced back to a current or past workplace, your employer could be liable to pay compensation for not protecting your hearing to a reasonable extent. It is common for employers to ignore or fail to follow guidance provided by the government, which results in many employees suffering from industrial deafness and/or tinnitus
It is important to be aware that, as with all personal injury compensation claims, you have a 3-year time limit from the point at which you knew you were suffering from industrial tinnitus. If you wish to make a hearing loss or tinnitus compensation claim, contact a solicitor as soon as possible for legal advice.
How Does Simpson Millar Help With Hearing Loss And Deafness Claims?
Simpson Millar and our industrial disease team have many years' experience of seeking compensation for those who have experienced industrial tinnitus. They have access to leading Ear, Nose and Throat specialists in the UK that can help assess your claim.
"There is a lot of advice out there for people on how to protect their hearing. It's sad to think that millions of people will be suffering because of the carelessness of their employer."
"If you don't think your employer is doing enough to protect you and your colleagues, make sure you report your concerns. It could save permanent damage to your hearing."
"For those already suffering from tinnitus, do not lose hope. It can be an overwhelming condition, causing all sorts of mental health issues. But there is help out there. You just need to find what works for you."
If you think your tinnitus was caused by the carelessness of another, make sure to call Simpson Millar's Industrial Disease team to get a free initial consultation over the phone.