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Industrial deafness » Industrial deafness claims

Noise-related hearing problems affect 170,000 people in the UK, while many more people, around 1.1 million, are thought to be at risk of developing them. Tinnitus and industrial deafness, also known as noise-induced hearing loss, are the most common conditions that people suffer as a result of a very noisy workplace.

Too much noise can cause workers to experience a range of problems with their ears. There is a continuum of industrial deafness, from minor hearing problems to complete hearing loss.

There are four main types of noise-related hearing difficulty:

  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Permanent hearing loss
  • Acoustic trauma
  • Tinnitus

Temporary hearing loss

Sometimes known as a temporary threshold shift, this is commonly experienced after several hours of exposure to noises above 75 or 80 dB. Most of this hearing loss happens during the first two hours of being in a noisy place and does not get much worse in the subsequent hours.

Someone with temporary hearing loss will find that sound seems muffled or dull and they may have to turn the volume up on their radio or TV to compensate. However, after a short while (up to 14 hours) in a relatively quiet environment, hearing will return to normal and the person may well find that the volume they set is now too loud.

If there is continued exposure to noise that causes temporary hearing loss over a period of months or years, or hearing is not allowed to recover fully before more exposure, the change may become irreversible, developing into permanent hearing loss.

Permanent hearing loss

Permanent hearing loss, or a permanent threshold shift, is usually a gradual change that takes place in the ears. The most hearing loss will occur within the first 10 years of exposure to a noisy workplace.

There is a variety of damage that can be done within the ear through loud noise. Essentially, hair cells deteriorate in the inner ear and do not replenish, meaning that a person will not be able to hear some frequencies as well.

Difficulty in hearing women and childrens voices is usually the first signs of permanent hearing loss, as it is sensitivity to this frequency that is one of the earliest to be lost. By the time it is noticed, the damage has already occurred and cannot be reversed.

Acoustic trauma

Acoustic trauma can occur as a result of a very loud noise or several very loud noises occuring for a short period of time. Someone with acoustic trauma may have developed the condition after hearing an explosion in a work accident or gunfire at close range and without ear protection.

Hearing loss that results from acoustic trauma is usually sensorineural hearing loss, which means that it either affects the sense organ of hearing or the neural pathways that lead to this organ. In most cases it is irreversible.

As well as hearing loss, severe acoustic trauma can lead to serious damage to physical structures in the ear, causing injuries such as a perforated eardrum.


Tinnitus is the hearing of noises in the ears which can sound like ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling or roaring. It can occur suddenly or over a period of time and while many cases of tinnitus are temporary, some are permanent.

When related to industrial deafness (it can also be the result of other medical conditions) tinnitus can be one of the first signs that damage has been done to the ear and is often a pre-cursor to permanent hearing loss.

Claiming compensation for industrial deafness

If you believe that you have noise-related hearing problems that you sustained as a result of your work, you may well be entitled to industrial deafness compensation. Under the Noise at Work Regulations 2005, employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers hearing is not damaged by a noisy workplace.

Our panel of personal injury solicitors are experts in industrial deafness claims and have helped many people to get the compensation that can make a real difference in their lives. The skill and commitment of our solicitors can be seen in their excellent success rate.

Our solicitors work on a no win, no fee basis and ensure that you are completely protected from legal costs at all times.

If you believe you have a strong case for an industrial deafness claim and wish to claim compensation, please call 01582 437070 or fill in an online claim form.