A Guide to Claiming Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) Compensation

If you have been affected by noise induced hearing loss we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered noise induced hearing loss and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

What is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)?

Noise-induced hearing loss is an umbrella term that includes several different hearing conditions, including:

  • Acoustic shock syndrome - damage to the ear caused either by a single intense "impulse" sound at close proximity, such as an explosion or through repeated exposure to high-frequency, high-intensity sounds through a headset.
  • Tinnitus - a ringing, buzzing or whistling sound in one or both ears.
  • Occupational deafness - permanent cell damage to the inner ear that causes partial or complete deafness.

Damage typically occurs gradually.

Over time, sounds may become muffled or distorted, and it may become difficult to understand other people when they speak.

The damage from noise-induced hearing loss, combined with ageing, can lead to hearing impairment so severe that hearing aids are necessary to amplify sounds.

NIHL can make it very challenging to communicate and engage in daily activities.

How common is NIHL?

Exposure to noise at work remains one of the biggest causes of adult-onset deafness.

Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that an estimated 18,000 people have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) that was caused, or made worse, by their work environment.

Hundreds of new claims for NIHL are made each year, accounting for around 75% of all industrial disease compensation claims against an employer.

Anyone who has suffered noise-induced hearing loss as a result of their work may be able to claim compensation.

Who is at risk of noise-induced hearing loss?

Noise-induced hearing loss occurs most commonly in people working in environments where the noise levels are over 80dBA.

Exposure to such high levels of noise over a long period can cause permanent hearing impairment. The effects are usually irreversible.

Quittance's solicitors have helped workers who have suffered NIHL in a variety of industries, including:

  • Mining
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • Car manufacturing
  • Shipyards
  • Road drilling.

No matter which industry you work in, if you have a hearing impairment as a result of your working conditions, you may be able to claim compensation.

Do I have a noise-induced hearing loss claim?

It should be possible to make a noise-induced hearing loss claim if:

  • you were diagnosed in the last three years and;
  • someone else, such as your employer, was to blame.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to injury claims expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

Is my employer liable?

Employers have a duty of care to protect staff from noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace.

There are several laws governing health and safety, including the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. However, the primary piece of legislation is the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.

The regulations aim to protect your hearing from excessive noise at work.

To comply, employers must carry out a thorough risk assessment of the noise levels in the work environment. When noise reaches the legal limit of 80 to 85 decibels, the employer must take action to reduce the noise. Measures include:

  • Using quieter machinery
  • Installing sound barriers and absorbent materials
  • Shortening working periods
  • Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as earplugs to workers at risk of noise exposure.

An employer who fails to identify the risks or implement appropriate safety measures would be deemed negligent and therefore liable.

What if your employer has gone out of business?

It is possible to bring a claim even if the employer has ceased trading. The injury lawyer will trace the former employer's insurers through Employers' Liability Tracing Office. A compensation settlement will then be negotiated with the insurance company.

If in the unlikely event, court action against an employer that has 'dissolved' is necessary, the employer could be reinstated to the Register of Companies held at Companies House.

The personal injury solicitor will conduct this process as part of the legal process.

Read more: Can I claim compensation if my employer has gone bust?

How much compensation can I claim for noise-induced hearing loss?

The amount of money you could claim for your noise-induced hearing loss will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your noise-induced hearing loss has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a noise-induced hearing loss? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

Noise-induced hearing loss compensation amounts

The following noise-induced hearing loss payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Hearing loss
Minor deafness or tinnitus Up to £5,590
Moderate deafness or tinnitus £10,040 to £11,890
Total loss in one ear £24,950 to £36,310
Serious deafness or tinnitus £11,890 to £23,670
Severe deafness or tinnitus £23,670 to £36,310
Total deafness £72,330 to £87,410

What is the average injury compensation for a noise-induced hearing loss claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a noise-induced hearing loss will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your noise-induced hearing loss compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Should I set up a personal injury trust?

If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a noise-induced hearing loss injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?

Noise-induced hearing loss compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a noise-induced hearing loss injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your noise-induced hearing loss claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a noise induced hearing loss claim take?

The length of time needed to settle a NIHL claim can vary significantly.

For example, a straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be settled in a few weeks. However, if liability is denied a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim will take 4 to 9 months. See more:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a noise-induced hearing loss after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your noise-induced hearing loss claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee

With a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a noise-induced hearing loss claim without the worry of upfront legal fees. If your noise-induced hearing loss claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a noise-induced hearing loss claim - even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my noise-induced hearing loss claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my noise-induced hearing loss claim?

If your noise-induced hearing loss claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

How do personal injury solicitors get paid?

If your noise-induced hearing loss claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Noise-induced hearing loss FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a noise-induced hearing loss claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the noise-induced hearing loss to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your noise-induced hearing loss claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a noise-induced hearing loss after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim noise-induced hearing loss compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a noise-induced hearing loss claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert