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Industrial Deafness Guide

What is Industrial Deafness?

Industrial Deafness can be defined as a condition that results in the gradual deterioration of hearing over a prolonged period of time as a consequence of being repeatedly exposed to excessive noise in a working environment. Industrial deafness can also be referred to as noise induced hearing loss or occupational deafness.

Hazard Sign Increased Noise Area
Photo by Leo Reynolds via Creative Commons

What are the symptoms of Industrial Deafness?

There are several effects of Industrial deafness can include;

  • a reduction in hearing
  • ringing
  • hissing
  • buzzing in your ears (tinnitus)

If you display any of the signs or symptoms, it is important you take a hearing test to see whether you have been affected by industrial deafness. For more information on hearing tests, visit the NHS website.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a perception of sound in one or both ears which has no outside source. It can be continuous or intermittent and can have multiple components to the perceived sound. Many people experience tinnitus at some point in their lives but generally it only lasts a few minutes. However in the case of most industrial deafness cases it is a recurrent, permanent and debilitating condition.

There are many charities, organisations and support groups in the UK that help tinnitus suffers, all of which have websites where you can find further information about tinnitus.

What are the causes of industrial deafness?

Damage to hearing can be caused by prolonged exposure to noise levels that exceed 90 decibels. It is generally accepted that for damage to occur, exposure to noise must have been above 90 decibels for around 8 hours per day, 5 days a week over a period of a few years. As a comparison a lawn mower, loud diesel truck or food blender may operate with a noise level of around 90 decibels.

Industries susceptible to noise induced hearing loss include quarrying, textile manufacturing, shipbuilding, foundries, mills, mining, engineering, construction, heavy industrial manufacturing plants, factories and even serving the armed forces. However any working environment where there is a sustained high level of noise is potentially hazardous and may cause a hearing condition.

Exposure to loud music, DIY, motorcycling and any hobbies that involve loud noises could also cause long term damage to your hearing.

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Hearing Protection

Wherever possible, employers should aim to reduce noise in the working environment by soundproofing and regular maintenance of equipment. Any locations of high noise should be clearly indicated with warning signs and regular noise assessments carried out. Where noise cannot be suppressed to manageable levels, employees should be trained and provided with hearing protection such as earmuffs, earplugs, semi-inserts or canal caps.

Employers who run loud workplaces must also follow the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 act which is inplace to protect employees from high noise exposure.

How can we help you?

If you feel your hearing has been affected by the exposure to noise in your workplace and would like to make a claim we are happy to help. Visit our Industrial Deafness page for more information or speak to one of our specialist solicitors for free no obligation advice.

Simply call us on 08000 93 00 94 or complete an online claim enquiry and an advisor will call you back.



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