Noise Induced Hearing Loss and the Sewing Industry

Here at What’s My Deafness Claim Worth we are frequently asked about whether a claim for noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus can be made following exposure to noise in the textile industry. The answer to this is yes, however, only on the caveat that you have been employed from 1990 onwards.

Baker v Quantum Clothing Group

The reason that we are unable to pursue a claim against your former employer for noise induced hearing loss before 1990 is due to the decision in the Supreme Court case of Baker v Quantum Group.

This case was bought by Mrs Baker for noise induced hearing loss following her exposure to noise when working as a sewing machinist working at the Defendant’s factory.

Following evidence at the first trial it was considered that noise levels in relation to her working environment on the sewing machines, averaged between 85dB(A) and 90dB(A).  over the course of her working day.

The Claimant’s evidence was that this level of noise could cause noise induced hearing loss and that her employer would or should have been aware of this at the time of her employment.

The Employers Duty Under the Law

Two relevant provisions were considered in the case, namely the 1972 Code of Practice and the Noise at Work Regulations 1989.

The 1972 Code specified that occupational noise exposure should be kept below 90dB(A). If the noise levels were found to be in excess of 90dB(A) then it was considered that this could cause long term hearing damage. The code also established that if the levels of noise were in excess of 90dB(A), then hearing protection must be worn.

The 1972 Code of Practice paved the way for later legislation which enforced stricter rules on employers relating to exposure to noise in the workplace. This was passed on the basis that it was becoming increasingly well known that noise levels in the region of 85dB(A) could also present dangers to employees’ hearing capabilities, potentially leading to noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus.

The Noise at Work Regulations of 1989 required that hearing protection should be provided for those exposed to noise levels from 85dB(A), rather than 90dB(A). When the noise levels exceeded 90dB(A), the use of hearing protection should then be enforced.

The Regulations came into force on the 1st January 1990.

The Claimant argued that the Defendant was a large entity and would have been aware of the European Directive in 1986 which highlighted the dangers of noise levels at 85dB(A) or above.


Unfortunately, even though it was found that the Claimant was suffering with noise induced hearing loss as a result of her employment with the Defendant, due to the dates of her employment, the Defendant was not liable for causing her to suffer from hearing loss.

The Supreme Court concluded that the Defendant was bound by the legislation of the day and only following the enactment of the 1989 regulations in 1990, were they required to provide hearing protection for their employees.

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 industrail deafness 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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