If NIHL has set you back, we'll help you move forward
If you have been affected by Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
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 aging, 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.
You are not alone
Exposure to noise at work is the most common cause 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 exacerbated, by their work environment.
Thousands of new claims for NIHL are made each year, accounting for around 75% of all industrial disease claims made against employers.
If you have suffered Noise-Induced Hearing Loss as a result of your work, you may be able to claim financial compensation.
If you decide to make a noise-induced hearing loss claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
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 high levels of noise over a long period can cause permanent hearing impairment. The effects are usually irreversible.
Quittance's panel of solicitors have helped workers who have suffered NIHL in a variety of industries, including:
- Car manufacturing
- Road drilling.
Whichever industry you work in, if you have a hearing impairment as a result of your working conditions, you may be able to claim compensation.
Am I entitled to make a noise-induced hearing loss claim?
In general, you can claim compensation if you were hurt:
- within the last 3 years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
My injury was partly my fault - can I still claim?
Cases where the defendant and claimant are both partly to blame are actually quite commonplace in personal injury claims.
In our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey, 13.99% of respondents believed they were partly responsible for their injuries, or were uncertain.
The legal term for cases where an injured person was (to some extent) responsible for their injuries is 'contributory negligence'. If there is fault on both sides of a claim, it is possible to pay reduced compensation on a split liability agreement.
How long do I have to start a noise-induced hearing loss claim?
An injury claim will usually need to be made within 3 years of the date or your accident or injury.
You may still be able to claim compensation if you were injured by another's negligence and you only discovered it later. Generally, the clock starts ticking from the date you were diagnosed or became aware of your injury.
Is my employer liable?
Employers have a duty of care to protect staff from the risk of NIHL 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.
These regulations aim to protect your hearing from excessive noise at work.
To comply with the legislation, 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 might include:
- Using quieter machinery
- Installing sound barriers and absorbent materials
- Shortening working periods
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 came into force on 6 April 2022.
This legislation means that employers have an obligation to provide free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all workers, including workers who are self-employed or on a zero-hours contract.
Under the previous 1992 regulations, employers were only required to provide PPE to employees with a formal employment contract.
Suitable PPE for people working in noisy environments can include disposable ear plugs, corded ear plugs, ear defenders and helmet mounted ear defenders.
If you are injured as a result of air pollution at work and your employer failed to provide you with suitable PPE, you may be entitled to claim compensation - even if you are self-employed.
What if my employer has ceased trading?
It is possible to bring a claim even if your employer has ceased trading. Your solicitor will trace your former employer's insurers through Employers' Liability Tracing Office (ELTO). 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.
How much compensation can I claim for a noise-induced hearing loss?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Noise-induced hearing loss
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Updated December 2023
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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 is compensation for quantifiable financial losses you've incurred as a result of your NIHL Compensation can include lost wages and business losses (if you're self-employed), and any additional expenses directly related to your injury.
These damages will also cover any medical or treatment bills, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, noise protection and counseling.
Average Noise-Induced Hearing Loss general damages compensation
The following Noise-Induced Hearing Loss payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Hearing loss||Minor||Minor deafness or tinnitus||Up to £6,370|
|Hearing loss||Moderate||Moderate deafness or tinnitus||£11,450 to £13,550|
|Hearing loss||Serious||Total loss in one ear||£28,460 to £41,400|
|Hearing loss||Serious||Serious deafness or tinnitus||£13,550 to £27,010|
|Hearing loss||Severe||Severe deafness or tinnitus||£27,010 to £41,400|
|Hearing loss||Very Severe||Total deafness||£82,500 to £99,680|
Claiming compensation depends on the cause of your noise-induced hearing loss. Click the icons below for read more:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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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.