This World Hearing Day will see the launch of a global standard for safe listening entertainment venues. Currently, guidance is being developed to promote safe listening, for young people especially, amongst entertainment venues such as clubs, discos, festivals, concert halls and the like. Even listening to your music via earphones / headphones too loud for too long can cause irreparable damage which is why the WHO is aiming to raise awareness of safe listening.
Typically, the most common cause of hearing loss is through exposure to loud noises over a long period of time, such as working in a loud factory environment with little or no hearing protection. This is where Noise Induced Hearing Loss / Industrial Deafness factors in. You may think that Noise Induced Hearing Loss only affects the older generation who worked in noisy factories / warehouses in the 70s/80s before the detriments of loud noises were commonly known about but this is not the case. Although the amount of people suffering with occupational deafness has significantly reduced over the years, according to the Health and Safety Executive, between 2018 – 2021 there was an estimated 14,000 employees suffering from work-related hearing problems.
The law currently states that an employer should provide sufficient hearing protection. Here are a few examples of the rules that an employer must follow:-
- Sufficient PPE to protect the employee if hearing protection is asked for and if the noise exposure is between the lower and upper exposure limits (if you’re unsure on what these are figures can be found on legislation.gov);
- Specific areas of high noise levels should be identified where hearing protection is mandatory and sign-posted accordingly;
- Employees must use their hearing protection correctly when the noise exposure is high;
- Provide employees with training and information on how to use and maintain their PPE.
As a general rule, if you to struggle to hear someone through noise standing 2 meters away, or if you need to shout to be heard by someone only 1 meter away then the noise levels are too loud and you should take action to limit your exposure, or wear suitable ear protection to limit your exposure.
NHS England’s Clinical Director for Dementia and the Chief Executive of Action on Hearing loss interestingly examined the recent studies that tracked over 600 adults for almost 12 years where it was found that mild hearing loss doubled the dementia risk of patients, moderate loss tripled that risk and those with a severe hearing impairment were 5 times more likely to develop dementia. It was also found that there is increasing evidence that suggests a correct and efficient diagnosis of hearing loss and the proper management of such can help to then mitigate the increased risk of dementia which hearing loss has been shown to cause.
Our specialist Industrial Disease Department can assist with a number of different claims for compensation caused by unsatisfactory employment conditions, including Noise Induced Hearing Loss. The Team have many years’ experience in dealing with these types of cases with Clients from all over the country. If you, or any of your friends or family feel that you are now suffering the consequences from an industrial disease, please do not hesitate to contact us, either by telephone on 01754 897150, or by submitting a contact form online.
WHO.int / HSE.gov.uk / NHS England