Acoustic Shock Compensation – Claim For Hearing Loss & Tinnitus

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Any employer that has staff working with loud machinery or audio equipment must assess the risk of hearing damage, including acoustic shock, and take measures to avoid it. If their negligence led to you being injured, then you are entitled to claim compensation for hearing loss. Here we look at what’s involved in making such a claim.

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Can you make a claim for acoustic shock?

You can claim compensation for acoustic shock and hearing loss if it can be proved your employer is at fault. UK health and safety at work law dictates that employers have a duty of care to provide a safe and secure workplace environment. If they can be found negligent in this respect you can claim compensation.

Temporary or agency staff are entitled to the same workers’ rights after an injury as full-time staff. This includes being able to make a claim for hearing damage suffered at work.

Claims for this type of injury would fall under the industrial disease claims umbrella, within an industrial deafness claim. Quite often these involve injuries that develop over time, and it’s important to note that you can claim even if you have left the company at fault, or it no longer exists.

Any employee that is provided with substandard audio equipment, or works for a company that does not take hearing damage seriously, is at risk.

Common symptoms associated with acoustic shock

Acoustic shock is a fairly modern phenomena and may cause very distressing symptoms, both physical and emotional:

  • Pain in and around the ear
  • Tinnitus
  • Hearing problems
  • Loss of balance
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Numbness and tissue tightening in the face
  • Pressure within the ear

Such symptoms occur because of a strong muscle contraction in the middle ear after exposure. The acoustic shock can cause a tearing of the inner membrane in the ear. Further information is available on the NHS website page about hearing loss.

It is most commonly suffered by call centre workers, where they must maintain a high level of hearing concentration. Injuries can be caused by faulty audio equipment or unexpected loud noises through a headset – acoustic shock is often triggered by high pitched tones, feedback oscillation, fax or signalling tones, for example. Any loud noises down the phone line present a risk, even listening to callers at a high level.

Suffering an acoustic shock injury is no laughing matter and tinnitus especially has been shown to cause depression and loss of sleep, really affecting day-to-day life. While it may not involve complete hearing loss, the symptoms can include permanent damage to hearing and ongoing problems such as emotional distress, all of which can affect the sufferer’s quality of life and the ability to do their job as required.

How can claiming compensation help you?

If you succeed with a claim for acoustic shock compensation, you can expect to receive a settlement that fairly compensates you for the pain, discomfort, distress and severity relevant to your specific symptoms.

Making a claim could also recover any lost earnings and open a route to specialist rehabilitation therapies that can ease your problems. Whilst some damage may be permanent, there are ways that some symptoms of tinnitus, for example, can be eased. A successful claim could pay for further treatments or for new and improved hearing aids.

If you’re worried about how claiming will affect your employer or colleagues it’s important to note that any compensation is paid by your employer’s liability insurance, rather than the business itself.

How much can you claim for acoustic shock?

BT is one well-known employer that has already paid £90,000 to one worker that suffered from tinnitus. Other employees suffering from depression, headaches and other health problems, are demanding compensation for injuries sustained from acoustic shock.

The value of your claim will depend on the severity and permanency of your injury. According to the Judicial College guidelines, regard must be had to the following in assessing awards for hearing loss:

  • whether the injury is one that has an immediate effect, allowing no opportunity to adapt, or whether it occurred over a period of time, as in noise exposure cases
  • whether the injury or disability is one which the injured person suffered at an early age so that it has had or will  have an effect on his or her speech (and will be suffered for a longer period), or is one that is suffered in later life
  • whether the injury or disability affects balance
SeverityCompensation Amount
Total Deafness£85k – £103k
Total loss of hearing in one ear£29k – £43k
Partial hearing loss and/or Tinnitus£7k – £43k

What employers should do to prevent acoustic shock

The Noise at Work Regulations (2005) and the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) cover measures that should be taken by employers regarding acoustic shock. Any employer that has staff working with audio equipment must assess the risks of acoustic shock injury in their workplace. They must ensure that audio equipment is fit for purpose, well maintained and that staff are properly trained and provided with adequate rest periods.

If you do suffer an acoustic shock injury at work your employer has a responsibility to handle this correctly and ensure others are not exposed to the same risk.

How Direct2Compensation can help with your claim

Direct2Compensation are experts in managing claims for injuries caused at work, including acoustic shock. We know your rights and can help you to understand whether the specifics of your accident are such that you are likely to win compensation.

We can advise you on important issues, such as helping you to make sure that the details of your accident and injuries have been properly reported and recorded with your employer, and can also give you a good understanding about how the no win no fee claims process works.

Direct2Compensation work with some of the best no win no fee solicitors in the UK. With our easy to understand claims process and ability to handle your claim quickly, simply and transparently, there are many reasons that make us the right choice when it comes to starting your claim for injury compensation.

To find out more about your rights or to start your claim today, call us on 01225 430285 or if you prefer, .

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Comments & Questions

Read on for questions and advice about claiming, plus acoustic shock injury claim examples...

I have been left with tinnitus due to a child’s high pitched screaming within close proximity in close quarters. I asked on numerous occasions for some form of ear defence. I work in a children’s residential child home.

Ian Morris

Did you request ear protection in writing? If there were written requests to your employer and your reports of concerns about the risks posed by the noise and screaming, you may well be able to succeed with a claim.

For further help, please email us at Provide your name and contact number and summarise the situation at work with a timeline of your work in the home, when you first think you requested ear protection and when you were diagnosed with the tinnitus condition.


My job allows many people to bring in 500-watt stereos and lets them people turn them up so loud that it makes my ears ring and gives me a massive headache. For 10 hours a day and I have told them that and their reply was for me to put my earplugs in deeper. Instead of getting the music turned down. Is it possible to sue for loss of hearing and all the headaches?

Ian Morris

To protect your interests, you should make sure that you report the concerns you have regarding your hearing and possible hearing damage from the powerful stereos to your employer in writing.

You should request ear defenders and if this is ignored and a medical professional diagnoses hearing loss you may then have a claim against your employer.


I now have tinnitus, which is getting worse. I worked for a hosiery factory for 47 years. I was paid for a claim for hearing loss about 20 years ago but at that time no tinnitus. The company is now in liquidation. I was just wondering if I could make a claim.

Ian Morris

When were your tinnitus symptoms diagnosed? If you have been diagnosed with this condition within the past 3 years, you could possibly make a claim.

The fact that the former employer is now in liquidation could of course scupper any claim, but you should not let that put you off from investigating this further.


I have been recently accused of fundamental dishonesty regarding an hearing loss claim, which constitutes a breach of contract and therefore will incur all the cost. The solicitors have not and given any evidence to support their assertion or claim other than conflicting statements and a false confirmation they said l have made.

My question is how do l go about fighting this claim and can they just base their claim on a suspicion without evidence?

Ian Morris

The allegation of fundamental dishonesty is a very serious allegation and if upheld, would leave you facing the costs of the defendants as well as your own Solicitor. If any element of your claim is found to be fundamentally dishonest, the entire claim will be closed without you receiving a penny in compensation and you would have to pay the fees of the defence and your own side.

If you are of the view that the allegation is without basis and completely erroneous, you should immediately discuss this with your Solicitor. Your Solicitor will be aware of why the defence has made such an allegation and what evidence they claim to have to support the same. If you can highlight why their view is incorrect it is likely that the allegation will be withdrawn.

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