Do you find that you have a ringing, buzzing, whistling, clicking or hissing sound in your ears or head that nobody else can hear? Is this accompanied by a hearing loss? If so, you may be suffering with a Noise induced Hearing Loss and Tinnitus, which is a permanent hearing impairment resulting from exposure to high levels of noise.
Whether or not you have been exposed to excessive noise at work depends upon how loud the noise was and how long you have been exposed to the noise, both daily and over how many years.
If you had to shout to somebody only a couple of feet away from you to hold a conversation above the noise levels then this was probably hazardous and your employer ought to have taken action to protect your hearing, such as providing you with hearing protection. This has been the case for many industries since 1963.
Typical noisy industries are construction, road repair, woodworking, engineering, forging, pressing or stamping and foundry work.
Hearing loss and tinnitus caused by work is preventable but once your hearing has gone it will not come back. Some 17,000 people in the UK suffer deafness and/or ringing in the ears caused by excessive noise at work.
The hearing loss is usually gradual because it may only be when the damage caused by noise is combined with hearing loss due to ageing that people realise how deaf they have become. Family members may complain that the television is too loud, they cannot keep up with conversations in a group or social situation or they are having trouble using the telephone.
The Tinnitus may be gradual too, and you may only have noticed it once your hearing has reached a certain level. A common myth is that there is nothing that you can do about Tinnitus, however, there are many therapies and products to help you manage it. Noise induced hearing loss and/or tinnitus can be confirmed by having a simple hearing test, known as an audiometry exam, to test your ability to hear sounds at different frequencies.
How can we help?
If you are suffering with a hearing loss and/or a ringing, buzzing, whistling clicking or hissing sounds in your ears or head and you have been exposed to loud noise in the workplace since 1963, then you may be entitled to compensation and you should seek legal assistance. There are strict time limits on when a claim may be made and therefore it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible.