Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is a condition caused by singular exposure intense impulse sounds, such as explosions during accidents at work, or prolonged exposure to loud noises of 80 to 85 dB and above, typical of those generated in factories, wood or metal working shops or on construction sites.
Impulse sounds and NIHL
Impulse sounds generated by work accidents can cause this condition by rupturing the eardrum or damaging middle ear bones. Immediate industrial deafness caused by sudden bursts of sound can be both temporary or permanent.
Prolonged exposure related NIHL
Exposure to noise levels exceeding 80 to 85 dB, over prolonged periods, gradually damages the sensitive structures within the inner ear. Hearing loss caused by prolonged exposure often develops gradually, without victims even noticing any change to begin with. In time, sounds can become muffled or distorted.
Eventually, especially when combined with ageing, this kind of damage may lead to work induced deafness making a hearing aid necessary in order to hear, communicate, and fully participate in normal daily activities.
In addition to the level of noise, distance from the source of the noise and duration of daily exposure, are also factors that can contribute to this occupational ailment.
What both impulse sound and prolonged exposure related forms of NIHL have in common is that they may affect just one or both ears, and that the conditions may be temporary or permanent. It should, however, be noted that even temporary loss of hearing that disappears after a day or two may cause long-term damage to the affected individual’s hearing.
Industrial deafness as a result of prolonged exposure can be prevented by employers by:
- Implementing noise-reduction measures
- Providing adequate hearing protection, such as ear muffs, plugs or semi-inserts
- Providing training in the use of hearing protectors
Hearing protection provided for workers in environments requiring hard hats or other protective gear must be compatible for use in combination with the specified protective wear. Protectors must also be available in sufficient sizes to ensure a proper fit for all employees.
Lack of or inadequate protection
If you suffer from work-related deafness because your employer failed to provide suitable hearing protection, you may have the right to claim for industrial injury compensation.
Ensure your claim is handled by first class injury solicitors by calling our free Accident Advice Helpline number, 0800 689 0500. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this line is completely confidential. Claims are handled under a conditional fee agreement, on a 100 per cent no-win no-fee basis.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice