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Hearing aids, hearing loss & claiming Industrial Deafness in the UK

Paul Harrison Hearing Aid UK Founder & Audiologist
Written By:
Paul Harrison

Audiology Expert & Founder

Updated: 18th July 2023
Claiming Industrial Deafness in the UK

Industrial Deafness Claims UK

Tips on claiming industrial deafness

 

How do I claim compensation for noise induced hearing loss in the UK?

At the time of writing, industrial deafness awareness has been having a moment, as more and more people are recognising the signs and making the link between a loss and their existing or past work environment.  There are many people in the UK that are suffering from some form of industrial deafness, which is also called occupational deafness and more commonly noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). 

You can also claim if you have tinnitus as a result of negligence.  This could be in result of working in sectors such as manufacturing, construction, power stations and other roles that are exposed to long periods of loud noise levels.

 

Industrial hearing loss government compensation

You might be one of these people who have hearing problems due to excessive noise exposure in the workforce, and you might be looking at claiming compensation.  In this article, I will briefly be talking about what the general process is for claiming and how such a claim is calculated. 

It is important to understand that I will be generalising here, but this content’s sole purpose is to give you a rough idea of the steps you will need to take in the UK.

 

The industrial deafness claims procedure

Here we break down the industrial deafness claim process in the UK.  Let’s start with the main areas of the industrial deafness claiming process.  These are:

  • Find a solicitor who can process your claim.
  • Finding out the cause after diagnosis.
  • Indicating who is liable.

 

Find a solicitor

There are a plethora of information you can now access online to research and find a solicitor who specialises in industrial deafness claims.  They will assist you in the legal process, give you expert advice on hearing loss compensation claims and construct your case and assist in filing an industrial deafness claim form.

 

Diagnosis and cause

Industrial deafness can take years to develop symptoms after the initial damage is caused. In my experience, a number of patients have thought that their hearing loss was due to ageing instead of noise-induced damage from their line of work. You will need to arrange a hearing test with your local hearing healthcare provider to confirm your loss after you have spoken to your solicitor about your claim and you have had it confirmed.

Once your hearing care professional has diagnosed industrial deafness due to work-related noise exposure, the next step is to indicate who is at fault and what caused the hearing loss.  For instance, exactly why you were exposed to said noise for a long period of time.  Examples of this could be poor or no ear protection or complete lack or limited training from your employer.

 

Liability

So, who pays for industrial deafness claims?  The final step is to indicate who is at fault in regard to hearing damage and, therefore, who is liable for the claim.  At the end of the day, it’s all about proving and providing evidence of who caused the loss. 

For instance, are you able to provide solid evidence that your employer was negligent, as they by law have a duty of care? Your employer must do everything in their power to give their employees a safe working environment and that they are protected against harmful levels of noise. 

If the employer fails to comply with legal duties and you can prove this is the case, then you can claim compensation for your industrial deafness.

 

Industrial Deafness

Industrial Deafness Compensation Claim

Industrial deafness and compensation legal requirements

 

  • Installing quieter machinery.
  • Implementing absorbent materials accordingly.
  • Reducing or capping the length of time employees are exposed to loud sounds.
  • Organising regular breaks.
  • Providing PPE for all employees.
  • Providing appropriate training about the risks involved.
  • Providing regular hearing checks.
  • Regularly checking the equipment used.

 

Claiming industrial deafness in the UK - How can you calculate your compensation?

Calculating your compensation, if you are successful and entitled to claim, is rather complex as there are many variants to consider.  These are how severe your hearing loss is, whether it is permanent or not, whether it is in one ear or both and how long you worked or have worked in the damaging environment.

Other additional factors might be how the loss has affected your quality of life and mental health, your ability to work and whether financially it has made a negative impact in regard to seeking treatment.  Each case is different and unique from the next and depends on your circumstance alone - however here are some estimates for your reference.

 

Industrial deafness compensation amounts

Wondering what the industrial deafness claim amounts are?  Here are the average claims for industrial deafness in the UK:

  • Mild hearing loss / inconsistent tinnitus:  £5,000 - £10,000
  • Deafness in both ears and/or loss of speech:  £75,000 +

 

Signs to look out for work related hearing loss

Like I said earlier, we know that naturally, your hearing worsens over time and that sometimes noise induced hearing loss is mistaken for age-related.  However, there are a few distinct signs of noise induced hearing loss, such as:

  1. Misheard words in conversation.
  2. Losing the ability to hear conversations with background noise.
  3. Having to turn up the TV regularly.
  4. Switching on the subtitles regularly when watching the TV.
  5. Missing out on segments of speech.

 

Claiming industrial deafness in the UK - How do I claim compensation?

Like with most forms of claims, there are law firms that specialise in industrial deafness compensation and some also work on a no win, no fee basis.  It is always worth researching to find the right representative for your case.

Alternatively, there is also industrial deafness government compensation.  You can also claim with the government and fill out an industrial deafness claim form called Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit for occupational deafness (IIDB), which also includes a step-by-step guide on how to process this online.

 

Do hearing aids help with noise-induced hearing loss?

This form of hearing loss is permanent and the most popular form of treatment for this is digital hearing aids.  There is a hearing solution available for all hearing loss levels, lifestyles and budgets on the market today.

If you think you have noise-induced hearing loss or have completed a successful compensation claim, we can put you in touch with your local audiologist who can support, monitor and take care of your hearing healthcare going forward.  To find out more about how we can help you and your hearing or if you just need advice - call us free on 0800 567 7621

 

Read Next: 

Types of Hearing Loss

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This article was written by audiology expert Paul Harrison

Meet Paul Harrison, Audiology Expert & Founder

Managing Director & founder of Hearing Aid UK, with over 20 years of audiology experience and a member of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists Council (BSHAA) between 2015-2020.

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Common FAQs about hearing aids and hearing loss

Is this the best model for me?

If you are looking at this page then it is likely that an audiologist has suggested that you purchase this particular hearing aid, so is this the best model for you?

In general, any audiologist will always be recommending to you the model that best suits your needs. Here is a useful check list to make sure that is the case.

  • Audiologist level of knowledge. The audiologist you have seen will hopefully have a wide knowledge of all available hearing aids, however some will only be familiar with a small number of brands and therefore may not really be in a position to know which model is the best for you. It is OK to challenge their recommendation and ask them to justify why this particular brand is the one for you.
  • Do research. Read about the hearing aid that was recommended. Does it seem like it will suit your lifestyle? Does it have more or less features than you need? 
  • Be aware of sales targets. Many high street retailers have specific tie-ins to a particular manufacturer/brand. The hearing aid they have suggested may still be the correct one for you, but do your research so that you know why they might have recommended it.

If in doubt, feel free to give us a call. That's what we're here for.

Do I need one hearing aid or two?

If you have a significant hearing loss in both ears, you should be wearing two hearing aids. Here are the audiological reasons why:

Localisation. The brain decodes information from both ears and compares and contrasts them. By analysing the miniscule time delays as well as the difference in loudness of each sound reaching the ears, the person is able to accurately locate a sound source. Simply put, if you have better hearing on one side than the other, you can't accurately tell what direction sounds are coming from.

Less amplification required. A phenomena known as “binaural summation” means that the hearing aids can be set at a lower and more natural volume setting than than if you wore only one hearing aid.

Head shadow effect. High frequencies, the part of your hearing that gives clarity and meaning to speech sounds, cannot bend around your head. Only low frequencies can. Therefore if someone is talking on your unaided side you are likely to hear that they are speaking, but be unable to tell what they have said.

Noise reduction. The brain has it’s own built in noise reduction which is only really effective when it is receiving information from both ears. If only one ear is aided, even with the best hearing aid in the world, it will be difficult for you to hear in background noise as your brain is trying to retain all of the sounds (including background noise) rather than filtering it out.

Sound quality. We are designed to hear in stereo. Only hearing from one side sounds a lot less natural to us.

What are the benefits of rechargeable hearing aids?

For most people, the main benefit of a rechargeable hearing aid is simple convenience. We are used to plugging in our phones and other devices overnight for them to charge up. 

For anybody with poor dexterity or issues with their fingers, having a rechargeable aid makes a huge difference as normal hearing aid batteries are quite small and some people find them fiddly to change.

One downside is that if you forget to charge your hearing aid, then it is a problem that can't be instantly fixed. For most a 30 minute charge will get you at least two or three hours of hearing, but if you are the type of person who is likely to forget to plug them in regularly then you're probably better off with standard batteries.

Rechargeable aids are also a little bit bigger and are only available in behind the ear models.

Finally, just like with a mobile phone, the amount of charge you get on day one is not going to be the same as you get a few years down the line. Be sure to ask what the policy is with the manufacturer warranty when it comes to replacing the battery.

 

Are behind the ear aids better than in the ear aids?

For most people, the answer is yes. But it's never that simple.

The majority of hearing problems affect the high frequencies a lot more than the low ones. Therefore open fitting hearing aids sound a lot more natural and ones that block your ears up can make your own voice sound like you are talking with your head in a bucket. Therefore in-ear aids tend to be less natural.

However the true answer is we can't tell until we have had a look in your ears to assess the size of your ear canal, and until we have tested your hearing to see which frequencies are being affected.

People with wider ear canals tend to have more flexibility, also there are open fitting modular CIC hearing aids now that do not block your ears.

There is also the age old rule to consider, that a hearing aid will not help you if it's sat in the drawer gathering dust. If the only hearing aid you would be happy wearing is one that people can't see, then that's what you should get.

Most people can adapt to any type of hearing aid, as long as they know what to expect. Have an honest conversation with your audiologist as to what your needs are.

What are channels, and how many do I need?

Generally speaking, six or more. Unless it's none at all.

The number of channels a hearing aid has is often a simplistic way an audiologist will use to explain why one hearing aid is better than another, but channels are complex and it is really not that straightforward.

Hearing aids amplify sounds of different frequencies by different amounts. Most people have lost more high frequencies than low and therefore need more amplification in the high frequencies. The range of sounds you hear are split into frequency bands or channels and the hearing aids are set to provide the right amount of hearing at each frequency level.

Less than six channels and this cannot be done with much accuracy, so six is the magic number. However, a six channel aid is typically very basic with few other features and is suitable only for hearing a single speaker in a quiet room. The number of channels is not what you should be looking at, it's more the rest of the technology that comes with them.

As a final note, different manufacturers have different approaches. One method is not necessarily better than any other. For example some manufacturers have as many as 64 channels in their top aids. Most tend to have between 17 and 20. One manufacturer has no channels at all.

Where can I get the hearing aids covered?

Hearing aids are easily lost, misplaced or damaged and typically are one of the most expensive personal possessions an individual can own. We offer hearing aid warranty cover for £80 per year per aid.  Find out more here

How much does the hearing test cost?

All our audiologists use the very latest technology and provide the full range of tests to accurately measure your hearing for free.  Find out about what we offer all our customers here

Do home visits cost extra?

Hearing Aid UK offers all their customers free home visiting services and home visits for hearing aids - Including hearing tests, fittings, maintenance, check-ups and much more in the comfort of your own home and at your convenience.  Find out more information here

How come you're much cheaper than other places?

Here, at Hearing Aid UK, we are dedicated to offering low hearing aid prices. We achieve this by having no head office and low marketing costs.   Our hearing aid prices are amongst the lowest you will find anywhere in the world.

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