You may think your job doesn’t put you at risk of noise-induced hearing loss, but a recent study by LimitEar (an audio technology firm) has revealed that 25% of UK employees use headphones regularly at work, which could increase their risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Figures show that around 7.6 million people in the UK are exposed to over 3.5 hours of reproduced sound on a daily basis – this breaks down as around 92 minutes outside work and around 110 minutes at work. Under European regulations, workers shouldn’t be regularly exposed to noise levels of 85dB or above during a typical eight-hour working day. Hearing damage can be caused by listening to an MP3 player at full volume – listening for around 15 minutes is safe but an MP3 player can generate around 100dB of sound.
LimitEar MD, Stephen Wheatley, commented, “This research is representative of Britain’s workforce generally, but hundreds of thousands of employees – such as call centre workers and emergency services – are required to use headphones occupationally, so are significantly more at risk of NIHL.”
Employers are liable if their staff suffer work related NIHL, and employees could be eligible to claim compensation. 79% of study respondents said they were ‘unaware’ it was their employer’s legal duty to protect them against NIHL at work.
Symptoms of NIHL
Noise-induced hearing loss can be temporary or permanent, affecting one or both ears. It could occur immediately or take longer to be noticed. Some people may experience tinnitus- ringing, roaring or buzzing in the ears or damage to bones in your middle ear may be caused by exposure to loud bursts of sound. Wearing earplugs, earmuffs or protective devices when carrying out loud industrial activity and ensuring you are not regularly exposed to noise above 85dB for long periods of time can help to protect you against NIHL – ultimately it’s your employer’s duty to protect you, so if you have suffered from NIHL you may be able to claim compensation.
Claiming compensation for NIHL
If you have suffered from work-related NIHL, why not contact Accident Advice Helpline today? Our team of professional personal injury lawyers have experience dealing with claims related to workplace accidents and injuries, so you know we’ll do our best to get you the compensation you deserve. It’s free to call us and we’re here 24/7 to offer confidential, no-obligation advice, so get in touch today.
Source: Personnel Today
Date Published: June 15, 2014
Author: David Brown