- In 2011 – there were 10 million people with hearing loss in the UK that is approximately 1 in 6 of us.
- In 2031 – it is predicted there will be 14.5 million people with hearing loss.
- 3.7 of the 10 million are of working age – between 16 and 64.
- 6.3 of the 10 million are aged 65+
- 800.000 of the population in the UK are severely or profoundly deaf
- There are over 45,000 children who are deaf in the UK
- 70% of over 70 year olds and 40% of 50 + year olds have some form of hearing loss.
- 2 million people have hearing aids in the UK but only 1.4 million use them on a regular basis.
- Over 4 million people in the UK without hearing aids would benefit from using them.
- It takes on average 10 years for people to address their hearing problems.
- 1 in 10 adults suffer from mild tinnitus. 1% of the population suffer from tinnitus that affects every day life.
Causes of hearing loss:
- Age related hearing loss (known as presbycusis) is expanding rapidly in line with an aging population.
- Noise incuded hearing loss due to overexposure of excessive noise in the workplace or at leisure. This can include industrial deafness caused by factory or construction site work.
- Hearing loss triggered by trauma to the head or inner ear.
- Drug induced hearing loss such as Ototoxic medications
- Hearing loss caused by viral or bacterial ear infections, ruptured eardrum or excessive earwax.
- Congenital / genetic hearing loss (from birth)
Hearing loss is the 2nd most wide spread health issue the world is currently tackling, affecting over 360 million people.
A noisy work environment causes industrial deafness either by a sudden, damaging noise or prolonged exposure to harmful noise levels. More high-risk occupations include:
- Road maintenance
- Energy and water supply
- Those who operate noisy machinery
- The military
Long-term exposure to 80dB of noise can damage your hearing.
A drill can make 100-110 dB of noise.
A quiet office generates 40-50 dB of noise.
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005) aim to protect employees from exposure to noise levels in excess of 85 decibels. In such circumstances, employers are legally obliged to provide ear defenders or earplugs.
Signs of industrial deafness:
- Muffled hearing
- Loss of high-pitched sounds
- Acoustic trauma – which causes irreversible damage to the eardrum or inner ear.
Steps for Compensation regarding your noise induced hearing loss
- Identify the problem. First you need to establish whether you are suffering a hearing loss and if so, the likely cause. Did you or do you still work in a noisy environment? If your work environment placed you in a setting with noise in excess of 85 dB and no ear protection was issued, you may be entitled to claim.
- Act quickly. A three-year time limit applies in the majority of cases, in which time a hearing claim needs to be lodged. The time limit begins from the moment you become aware of your hearing loss or from the date the ‘incident’ at work caused acoustic shock. This time limit may be waivered in exceptional circumstances only. To make the claim you don’t need to still be employed by the company. Neither are you limited to making a claim for just one employer.
- Go for an official hearing test. Use a qualified audiologist who will identify the extent of the problem and the likely cause.
- Hire a specialist personal injuries lawyer. They will gather the relevant evidence required for your claim and guide you through the legal procedure.