Occupational Noise Exposure

Yale University has conducted a study to assess the association that work in heavy industry has with the development of noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus. This was researched by assessing both low frequency hearing loss and high frequency hearing loss among 8818 workers at six aluminium manufacturing plants across America. The types of hazardous activities carried out included smelting, fabricating and casting. The study was carried out over a 7 year period between 2001 and 2008. The workers’ occupational health records were observed throughout the study to judge whether this area of work in industry was a cause of the development of noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus.

An audiogram was carried out one year before the study and every year thereafter to the end of the study to monitor the changes to each participant’s hearing. The results of the study, which were published in late December 2014, showed that those individuals who were exposed to high noise levels at the aluminium manufacturing plant were more likely to develop both tinnitus and high frequency hearing loss. Therefore, the results of this study can confirm that work in heavy industry is more likely than not to increase the risk of developing noise induced hearing loss and also tinnitus.

Noise induced hearing loss can develop at any stage after a person has been exposed significant levels of noise at work. The degree of noise induced hearing loss will not continue to deteriorate once a person stops being exposed to noise but the addition of age related hearing loss will cause symptoms to become more noticeable. A person only has three years from when they became aware of their hearing problems and associate them to their work in noisy industry in which to bring a claim for compensation.

If you notice hearing loss or family and friends make you aware that you may be suffering with hearing loss, it is vitally important that you attend your GP practice to have this looked into. If is it confirmed that you have hearing loss and you believe this may be as a result of your previous employment in a noisy workplace, you may be entitled to compensation.

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