My hearing is suffering because I work in a noisy environment
Eoin P. Campbell
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief

Question:

My hearing is suffering because I work in a noisy environment. How bad does it have to get before I can claim compensation for work deafness?

Answer:

Employers have a legal duty under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (General Application Regulations 2007 – Part 5 – Chapter 1) to protect workers against work deafness, and should your employer be negligent in applying these regulations to your work environment – and you sustain a work deafness hearing injury as a result – you are entitled to make a work deafness compensation claim

However, work deafness takes many forms and there are several reasons why it may occur in a noisy work environment. Usually, prolonged exposure to loud noises will initially develop into work deafness tinnitus (a ringing, whistling or humming in the ears) or can result in temporary deafness, which clears up once you leave the noisy work environment.

Also, if you are having trouble hearing noises within a certain range (usually female or children´s voices are the first indicators) or it takes some time for your normal level of hearing to return once you have left work, your work deafness could be far more advanced.

Whatever stage of work deafness you are experiencing now your first course of action should be to visit your family doctor. He will refer you to an audiologist who will conduct a series of tests to determine the extent of your work deafness and confirm its cause. It is best not to leave this any later than possible, as the early symptoms of work deafness can quickly deteriorate into a permanent condition in the wrong circumstances.

You should also speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity. A solicitor will ask you questions about the length of time you are exposed to noise in the workplace, what protection you are given against noise exposure and what training or warnings have been given by your employer to inform you about the risks of work deafness.

Because of the various levels of work deafness and their causes, a solicitor will be able to establish whether you have a work deafness compensation claim which it is worth your while to pursue, advise you of any complications you may encounter in your work deafness claim and explain your rights to work deafness compensation in relation to your current employment, to prevent the potential of an awkward workplace confrontation.

See also BT engineer deafness claims.

Copyright © 2009-2015 Eoin Campbell