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Industrial deafness » How industrial disease occurs


Sound has two characteristics: frequency (whether it is high pitched or low pitched) and intensity (whether it is quiet or loud). People can normally hear noise between 20 hz (very low frequency) and 20,000 hz (very high frequency).

When industrial deafness develops, a person is unable to hear such a wide range of frequencies. Conversation is usually measured at being between 500 hz and 2,000 hz and hearing loss may go unnoticed until problems detecting these frequencies occur.

It is often only at this point that people realise they may need to make an industrial deafness compensation claim.

How we hear


There are three parts to the ear. The first is the outer ear which acts as a funnel for sound, directing sound waves into the ear canal and towards the ear drum, which will then vibrate.\"\\\"

Three small bones, known as ossicles, make up the middle ear and stretch between the eardrum and cochlea. These will be activated by the vibrations of the eardrum and will transfer the sound to the cochlea.

The cochlea is a chamber that together with the vestibular system, which governs balance and equilibrium, makes up the inner ear. The cochlea is a snail-like structure that is filled with fluid and has thousands of tiny hair cells. These cells are slightly different to each other and each can detect certain frequencies of sound. The vibration is then changed into an electrical signal that is passed to the brain.

The damaging effects of noise


There are several types of industrial deafness that can result from intense noise, including temporary hearing loss, permanent hearing loss, tinnitus and acoustic trauma.

Temporary hearing loss is thought to either cause no damage at all to the hair cells or just very minimal damage that can be reversed. The dull hearing that is experienced with this kind of hearing loss is considered to be a type of auditory fatigue that will soon get better in quiet conditions.

The intensity of the sound that is required to damage the hair cells varies from person to person, but generally speaking, continued exposure to noise above 75 to 80 dB will cause cumulative damage over time. Once the hair cells are damaged, they will suffer from permanent hearing loss.

When a person suffers acoustic trauma, such as hearing a sudden explosion, the hair cells can break. Once broken, they will not re-grow and hearing of that frequency will be lost.

If you would like support for hearing loss of any kind, the Royal National Institute of Deafness can provide excellent help and advice. Please see www.rnid.org.uk for more information.

Claiming for industrial deafness


Millions of people are exposed to dangerous sound levels that can cause industrial deafness and other types of hearing loss. Those working in agriculture, engineering, metal work, and quarrying are particularly at risk from industrial deafness, although it is certainly not confined to these occupations.

If you have developed industrial deafness through no fault of your own, you may be interested in making a compensation claim. We are experts in industrial deafness claims and have helped thousands of people across the UK to get the compensation to which they are entitled.

If you want to find out more about making an industrial deafness claim, please call 01582 437070 or complete our online claim from.