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.
Table of contents
- Can you make a claim for acoustic shock?
- What employers should do to prevent acoustic shock
- How can claiming acoustic shock compensation help you?
- How much can you claim for acoustic shock?
- How Direct2Compensation can help with your claim
- Comments – your questions answered
Can you make a claim for acoustic shock?
You can claim compensation for acoustic shock and associated 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, and if they can be found negligent in this respect you can claim compensation.
Work accident 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
- Hearing problems
- Loss of balance
- 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
|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, .