Industrial deafness, or noise induced hearing loss, is an industrial condition that can be brought on by two different scenarios; exposure to continuous loud noise or a sudden, single loud noise.
Occupational deafness may be brought on by prolonged working in a very loud environment, where noise tends to exceed levels ranging between 80 and 85 dB. Typically, damaging sensitive inner ear structures over time, this work-related condition is often not noticed to begin with.
Eventually, sounds may seem to be distorted and/or muffled. Gradually, the affected individual will experience hearing people during conversations in busy environments; telephone conversations may become difficult, and the TV will need to be turned up more and more.
Eventually, the sufferer may require a hearing aid to enable sufficient hearing capability to communicate and lead a normal life. If not detected soon enough, it may become permanent.
This type of hearing loss can definitely be prevented.
This kind of work-induced deafness can be prevented by the provision of ear plugs; semi-inserts or ear defenders/ear muffs, and training in the correct use of said personal protective equipment.
Which type of hearing protection is most suitable depends on the level and frequency of noise and partially also on employee preferences. Where noise levels continually exceed 85 dB, broader measures to reduce noise levels, such as screening-off of equipment or machinery responsible for the noise, sourcing alternative equipment, or implementing safer work procedures, for example, may become necessary.
Single loud noise
Exposure to a sudden, single loud noise, or impulse sound, inflicts damage to the delicate bones in the middle ear. The ear drum may also be ruptured by sudden bursts of high level noise.
Typically exerting an immediate effect, these industrial injuries may or may not be permanent. Even temporary affliction that is reversed after 24 to 48 hours may cause sufficient damage to produce long term effects. Accidents at work, such as explosions, which lead to impulse sounds, may or may not be preventable.
What both of these scenarios have in common is that they may affect either both ears or just one ear. In both cases, if an employee is affected by work-related hearing loss, he or she may be able to claim for industrial deafness compensation.
If you suffered a work injury of this kind, fill in Accident Advice Helpline’s 30-second test on our website to get your work injury claim started. Alternatively, give us a call on 0800 689 0500 to speak with one of our friendly advisers, with no obligation to pursue your claim following this free initial consultation.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice