Diagnosis of Noise Induced Hearing Loss
People that develop hearing problems at a later stage in life can often associate this with age rather than noise induced hearing loss or an underlying problem and, therefore, do not visit a doctor when they first begin suffering with hearing loss symptoms for their hearing to be assessed.
However even when people attend their GP, as has been found by Action on Hearing Loss and the report “Taking action on hearing loss in the 21st Century”, 45% of people are not referred for a hearing test or for further assessment at a Hospital by an ENT Consultant. Therefore, the number of doctors who assist patients in an attempt to obtain an early diagnosis of hearing loss, by providing them with a referral, has been found to be minimal. Those that do visit their GP about their hearing problems often leave feeling unclear about their condition or are advised that nothing can be done and don’t feel the need to seek a second opinion. Therefore, it was found that those who are struggling with hearing loss problems often don’t have a diagnosis for at least 10 years after the initial development of the problem and in the meantime are receiving no treatment or help for their condition.
This, together with the fact that there is a time limit for bringing personal injury claims, means that it is important that when you do begin to notice your hearing problems that you take matters into your own hands and visit your GP and ensure that a diagnosis is made or, if necessary, that provision is made for further assessment or tests with a referral to the Hospital and the ENT Department. You might then be offered hearing aids or tinnitus retraining therapy to assist with your symptoms.
Action on Hearing Loss, who are campaigning for further developments in the diagnosis of hearing loss, also found in their research that 1 in 3 that could benefit from hearing aids has actually accessed them. Therefore, a large proportion of people are not getting the help and support they need. This is because hearing aids are an expense which people cannot afford and those who try to obtain them from the NHS are put on a waiting list.
By 2031 the number of people with hearing loss is set to grow to 14 million in the UK alone. Not only are people not receiving treatment for their hearing loss, but these problems can lead to other significant health problems including depression and social isolation associated with the hearing problems, which will ultimately need treatment.
Once you receive a diagnosis of noise induced hearing loss or suspect that your problems have been caused by noise exposure you should enquire in relation to making a claim. A Claimant only has three years from becoming aware of hearing problems and their possible connection to their work and noise exposure to issue court proceedings for a personal injury claim. If court proceedings are not brought within this time period you may be prevented from pursuing a claim. The court can exercise its discretion in extending this time period but this is not guaranteed and so you should act quickly to see advice.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss is a condition which often affects those who have worked in industry and as a result have been exposed to significant levels of noise without hearing protection being provided or enforced by employers. In many cases, people need hearing aids because of the extent of the loss suffered as a result of noise exposure through working in industry. The cost of hearing aids can be claimed as part of the claim.
Therefore if you have worked in industry and can relate to the following types of industrial work:
- large construction sites
- noisy factories
- steel works
and suffer with hearing loss and tinnitus (a high pitched ringing or buzzing in your ears), visit your doctor and ensure that you obtain a referral to the hospital as soon as possible if a diagnosis cannot be made by your doctor.