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:
- Car manufacturing
- 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 an injury claim?
It should be possible to make an injury 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.
What if the injury was diagnosed years after the event?
Typically, the dates of the injury and accident are the same. However, some injuries manifest themselves months or even years after the accident or exposure.
In this case, the clock starts ticking on the date of discovery (the date of diagnosis) of the injury rather than the date of the accident.
What if the employer has gone bust?
Even if an employer or their insurer has gone out of business, a former worker may still be able to make a work-related accident claim.
Employers are legally required to carry Employer's Liability Insurance. This insurance ensures that protection is in place for employees affected by work-related accidents or industrial disease. The majority of successful claims are not paid out by the employer but by the employer's insurance company.
In extreme cases, where an employer and their insurer have both ceased trading, and no other responsible party can be traced, compensation may still be available through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Can I claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit?
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is a non-contributory, no-fault weekly benefit paid to workers and former workers who become disabled because of an accident at work or due to certain industrial diseases.
Anyone who has sustained a disability as a result of injuries or diseases arising from work may be eligible to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
Can I claim if the noise-induced hearing loss made an existing injury or condition worse?
Yes, although demonstrating this can be more difficult than proving a straightforward noise-induced hearing loss injury, so legal and medical advice should be sought as early as possible.
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.
The amount of money you could claim for your injury 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 injury 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 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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Injury compensation amounts
The following injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.
|Hearing loss||Minor||Minor Hearing loss||Minor deafness or tinnitus||Up to £5,590|
|Hearing loss||Moderate||Moderate Hearing loss||Moderate deafness or tinnitus||£10,040 to £11,890|
|Hearing loss||Serious||Serious Hearing loss||Total loss in one ear||£24,950 to £36,310|
|Hearing loss||Serious||Serious Hearing loss||Serious deafness or tinnitus||£11,890 to £23,670|
|Hearing loss||Severe||Severe Hearing loss||Severe deafness or tinnitus||£23,670 to £36,310|
|Hearing loss||Very Severe||Very Severe Hearing loss||Total deafness||£72,330 to £87,410|
What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury 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.
Find out what your injury claim could be worth now
Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated, particularly if you have multiple injuries.
If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.
Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.
Can I claim for physiotherapy and private care costs?
Private treatment can be expensive, but funding towards the cost of this treatment frequently comprises part of a compensation award. Your solicitor may even be able to arrange access to private medical care as soon as your claim is accepted.
Can I claim for an existing noise-induced hearing loss that has got worse?
Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?
The general rule is no, you cannot start a claim more than three years after an injury.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I still be able to claim for an injury 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 injury 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.
No win, no fee
With a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make an injury claim without the worry of upfront legal fees. If your injury 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 an injury claim - even if you don't win your claim.
What do I pay if I win my injury 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 injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all.
Please note, under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.
How can Quittance help?
Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.
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:Call me back
if you can claim
to start a claim
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.
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.
How long will my claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.
For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.
Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.
Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:
Personal injury claim type
Estimated claim duration*
4 to 9 months
6 to 9 months
12 to 36 months
12 to 18 months
6 to 9 months
3 to 4 months**
12 to 18 months**
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s 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.
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.
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.
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