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Industrial deafness » Preventing tinnitus

Industrial deafness and tinnitus are the second most common type of industrial disease in the UK, with more than 100,000 people suffering from the conditions. Unfortunately, once hearing is damaged by noise, it is permanently damaged and there is no known cure.

It is, therefore, incredibly important to take steps to preserve the hearing of the million people who are exposed to high levels of noise at work every day. There are a number of ways to do this, but the two main methods are by reducing the amount of noise in the workplace and by increasing the hearing protection of the workers.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 state that the level of noise in the workplace must be reduced as much as possible before resorting to hearing protection for the workers.

Reducing workplace noise

The simplest way to protect workers hearing from noise damage is to generate less noise in the workplace. This can involve purchasing quieter machinery, preventing metal-on-metal impacts, stopping machinery from vibrating against other surfaces and fitting silencers where possible.

\"\\\"Another method of noise reduction is to prevent the noise from reaching the workers. One way in which this can be achieved is through separating the area where noise is being produced from as much of the workforce as possible.

If it is not possible to separate the areas entirely, direct noise can be deflected by the use of screens. In addition, noise absorbent materials can be used on the walls and floor.

If workers must come into the place where the noise is generated, it is advisable that time spent there is minimised and the level of noise for this time is reduced if at all possible.

Machinery should be regularly checked to ensure that it is functioning properly and that it is not generating more noise than is absolutely necessary.

Enacting the above measures should reduce the possibility of job-related hearing loss and deafness compensation claims arising in the workplace.

\"\\\"Hearing protection

There are three main types of hearing protection that can be used by workers to prevent industrial deafness. These are ear defenders, ear plugs, and semi-aural inserts and all work by providing a sound barrier which dramatically reduces the amount of sound entering the ear.

Ear defenders usually come on a band that fits across the head. However, they can come attached to a helmet for those who work in environments where head protection is also necessary. It is important that there are no gaps around the seal of ear defenders so that unmitigated noise does not leak into the ear.

Ear plugs fit just inside the ear but must be the right shape and be at the right angle in order to provide good protection and prevent them from falling out. Customised ear plugs are available and can be the best choice for many workers. It is important to check if ear plugs are re-usable and to keep them clean so ear infections do not develop.

Semi-aural inserts are similar to ear plugs but do not fit into the ear as far and come on a band that fits under the chin or behind the neck. They do not provide as good protection as other types of ear protection and should only be used to protect against noise up to 87 dB. The vast majority of semi-aural inserts are re-usable and can be washed.

Making a industrial deafness claim

If you have suffered industrial deafness or tinnitus as a result of workplace noise, you may be able to make a compensation claim against the firm that exposed you to the excessive noise. We have assisted thousands of people in taking legal action following negligence in all kinds of workplaces, the vast majority of whom have been awarded compensation.

We are extremely proud of our excellent success rate and believe that our panel of personal injury solicitors are some of the finest in the UK. They are all members of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, which means that they undergo regular testing and assessment to ensure that they are providing the best possible representation.

If you are interested in pursuing a claim or simply want some free legal advice, please call us on 01582 437070 to discuss your claim or fill in an online claim form.