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What Is Hearing Loss at Workplaces – Causes and Prevention

There are many ways in which hearing problems can occur, other factors such as age or an underlying medical condition can also cause this. However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shows that an LFS survey carried out between the years of 2009/10 to 2011/12 the average number of hearing loss cases either caused or made worse by working conditions was at 19,000.

Causes

There are many different ways in which deafness and hearing impairment can occur such as age, exposure to constant excessive loud noise and a medical condition which may have occurred since birth. There are two main types of hearing loss, the first of which is conductive hearing loss and the other is sensorineural
hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss- this type of hearing loss most commonly occurs when there is a blockage within the ear as a result of a hold-up of a wax, fluid in the middle layer, an ear infection, perforation eardrum drum are many different forms of ear infections. The most common cause way people noticed that they suffer from this type of hearing loss is that they hear sounds to be muffled and quieter than usual. If the cause is due to ear wax, fluid or an ear infection then these are often temporary and can be resolved with medical treatment. If the condition is more serious, such as a perforated eardrum or a condition which affects any of the small middle ear bones,then this cansometimes lead to deafness and a more permanent hearing impairment.

Sensorineural hearing loss- this type of hearing loss is when there is a problem within the inner ear. This is the most common type of hearing loss and people who suffer from sensorineural deafness and hearing impairment will quite often require hearing aids in order to assist them with their day-to-day life. The most common causes of this type of hearing loss are: age, circulation issues within the inner ear, various diseases, genetics and exposure to excessive noise.

If you are working have been working in an employment is where you are exposed to excessively loud noise that may be possible that you are suffering from sensorineural hearing loss. However, if you have noticed any symptoms of deafness and hearing impairments than it is important that you consult with your
GP or a trained audiologist as soon as possible so that you can get your hearing assessed.

Prevention

Prevention is always better than the cure, although deafness and hearing impairment cannot always be prevented, for example when there is an underlying condition which affects your inner ear. It is important to ensure that any prevention methods which can be taken are used where relevant. For example, it is best to ensure that you avoid a constant exposure to excessively loud noise such as music or machinery with in a workplace so that your hearing is not damaged over time.

If exposure to excessive loud noise is something which is unavoidable for you, such as working in a noisy environment for your job, then it is advisable that you take any relevant steps in order to protect your hearing and therefore reduce the risks of deafness and hearing impairment. This can be done simply by wearing the relevant hearing protection which may be available to you within your employment such as earplugs or ear defenders. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1978 states that your employer will have a duty of care towards you and if the levels of noise within your workplace exceed the recommended limit then they should provide you with any protection which is recommended and take any preventative steps to best protect your health and safety at work.

What to do if you already suffer from deafness and hearing impairment.

Hearing problems can go undiagnosed for many years as people ignore the symptoms that have or they may simply not realise that they have a hearing impairment. The most common symptoms include:

• Constantly asking people to repeat themselves as bit louder.
• Having to turn your television up rather than you would normally have to.
• Having an intermittent or constant ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus.
• You speak louder in general to people as you struggle to hear your own voice.
These are just a few simple ways in which people will notice that they are suffering from a form of deafness and hearing impairment. If you have noticed that you suffer from any of the symptoms above or that people simply make the comment that you have not heard them on a regular basis then the best course of action is for you to seek medical advice from your GP who can refer you to a specialist audiologist for hearing tests.

Following a hearing test you will then be placed on a scale usually between 1% and 100% and shown a graph which dictates your level of hearing loss. From these results the medical adviser will then be able to make a professional decision on what course of action is best for you such as providing you with hearing aids or any other treatment which may help you.

If you believe that you have suffered any form of hearing problems as a result of your work within a noisy environment or any work you have carried out in the past, then you may be eligible to make a compensation claim against the employer. It is important to do this as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss out on any deadline which could stop you from making a claim. It is highly advisable that you consult with a specialist industrial disease compensation claim solicitors who work on a no win no fee basis as this will ensure that, should your claim for compensation be unsuccessful, you are not then required to pay any large solicitors fees.