New evidence: The inner ear has its own natural defence to loud noise

Scientists have discovered a nerve pathway that exposure to loud noise triggers which activates the bodies own pain management system to protect the inner ear. The nerve pathway generates a signal from the inner ear to the brain that harm may occur. The scientists in this study found that this may explain why people have an involuntary response of blocking the sound with their hands when a loud noise is heard, such an ambulance siren or firework. The natural pathway found relating to pain management has been labelled as the auditory nociception and is a single set of neurons (inner ear cells) which are only activated by dangerous levels of noise.  The research was initially conducted on mice and the researchers will now be taking steps to carry out analysis on humans.

The scientists who carried out this study were unsure how the other components in the inner ear respond to the loud noise, whether the resulting pain from exposure to loud noise activates the inner ear muscles to reduce the level of sound entering the ear, or whether it is a pain sensation which forces the automatic response to protect. Despite the uncertainty over the overall response to loud noise in the ear, this research has created more awareness of the cause and treatment of hearing conditions such as tinnitus.

Tinnitus can be caused by damage to the inner ear cells as a result of excessive noise. This means that the ear has to try and compensate by seeking out signals to hear but as this signal pathway is distorted, it creates the sound of tinnitus within the ear.

If this research leads to tinnitus being classed as a pain syndrome rather than a hearing syndrome then, over time, tinnitus could be treated with specific pain medication which acts on the brain to minimise the pain. This will depend entirely on the severity of the hearing problems and the level of tinnitus that someone is suffering with.

Noise is something that we are exposed to everyday and at varying levels depending on your type of work, social hobbies or where you live. If the source of the noise that you experience is from your place of work or was from somewhere you worked previously, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation if you now experience hearing loss and/or tinnitus as a result. A person only has three years from when they first notice their hearing problems and at that point, attribute this to having worked in heavy industry, (for example, the steelworks, textile industry, ship building or construction) in which to make a claim.

Please call now to discuss your potential claim for noise induced hearing loss with a member of our industrial disease team on 0800 849 8700.

What’s My Deafness Claim Worth has extensive experience in dealing with people suffering with hearing loss and tinnitus. We have a specialist team of solicitors, as well as a fully trained audiologist, who will fight for the compensation that you deserve. Our team understands that it can be a very difficult and daunting time for you and they will do their best to offer an unparalleled support network and specialist legal expertise. If you have suffered a personal injury, which was not your fault, you may be entitled to claim for compensation.If you are suffering from loss of hearing, buzzing or ringing in your ears, you may be entitled to claim for compensation.

If you have been affected by hearing loss or exposure to noisy working environments you should not hesitate to contact us or to try our ‘Calculate my Claim’ feature on the right hand side of this page to see what your claim may be worth. We understand that the symptoms that you are suffering from can have serious consequences on your day to day life. When fighting for your compensation we take into account any time you have had to take off work, any treatment you have had to pay for including the cost of hearing aids and any other losses that you may have incurred.

Claims are dealt with on a no win, no fee basis so if we are unsuccessful in your claim you do not pay anything. If your claim is successful you will keep at least 75% of the compensation that is awarded.

Call 0800 849 8700 to speak to a member of our specialist team of Industrial Disease lawyers who will assist you further with this matter.


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