Jerry from Waupaca awarded $44,513*... Michael from Neenah awarded $60,000*... Jerry from Somers awarded $40,500*... Kathleen from Athens awarded $30,000*... Rolf from Stoughton awarded $35,000*... Charles from Menasha awarded $29,500*... Linda from Black River Falls awarded $24,500*... Charles from Freedom awarded $21,500*... Jerome from Menominee awarded $21,500*... Thomas from Amherst awarded $55,000*... Jerry from Durand awarded $29,000*... Michael from Oshkosh awarded $33,000*... Charles from New London awarded $22,500*... Stephen from Wauwatsoa awarded $16,250*... Steven from Lavalle awarded $27,000*... Richard from Saxon awarded $27,500*... Peter from Marinette awarded $29,000*... Kevin from Omro awarded $45,000*... Kranski from Black Creek WI awarded $26,773.13*... Garry from Edgar awarded $26,773.13*... Daniel from Appleton awarded $19,596.60*... Michael from Neenah awarded $47,619.00*... Jerry from Waupaca awarded $35,610.62*... Brian from Wausau awarded $12,430.00*... Roger from Green Bay awarded $14,397.00*... Belinda from Milwaukee awarded $10,030.00*... Ronald from Fond du Lac awarded $14,755.00... Richard from Kewaskum awarded $15,153.07... Marcel from Beaver Dam awarded $12,931.50... Gail from Prarie du Sac awarded $9,580.00... Richard from Antigo awarded $18,030.00*... Nadine from Wausau awarded $7,597.00*... Daniel from New Holstein awarded $14,000*... Shirley from Oshkosh awarded $18,000*... Robert from Fond du Lac awarded $15,000*... Kenneth from Milwaukee awarded $10,000*... *Not all claims qualify. Award amounts vary on a case-by-case basis.

You may be wondering what exactly is industrial deafness?

If you find yourself having difficulty hearing people talk or if you have to increase the volume on the television or phone, and your place of employment has a working environment where the volume is at or above 90 dB, you could very well be suffering from industrial deafness.

“To put this into context some items that produce noise at 90 dB are lawnmowers, a dog’s squeaky toy, arc welders, food processors, and belt sanders.”

Some of those items are surprising as most people would assume a squeaky toy or lawnmower would not be loud enough to cause trauma to the ear.

Industrial Deafness

When talking about industrial deafness, there are four specific types that can occur at any given time and they are:

  1. Tinnitus
  2. Temporary Hearing Loss
  3. Permanent Hearing Loss
  4. Acoustic Trauma

The deafness can affect one or both ears and at varying degrees and in the case of Tinnitus the patient will suffer from a sensation of external noise even though there isn’t any.

Temporary deafness – as its name suggests, a temporary condition that should resolve itself over time.

Permanent hearing loss – when extensive damage has been done to the ear that has caused a hearing loss that will not resolve on its own over time.

Acoustic trauma– when the inner mechanisms inside of the ear are damaged by a loud noise in either a short burst or over a prolonged period of time.

Of course, deafness can be a part of the natural aging process and occurs in a majority of people as they get older. This is not caused by excessive noise exposure but by the hearing mechanisms deteriorating with age.

“The natural hearing loss will be a gradual process that is easy to keep a check on overtime.”

Industrial deafness can occur quickly and can take the sufferer by surprise, though usually, it presents itself in a similar fashion to age-related hearing loss.

Employees in particular industries are more susceptible when it comes to industrial deafness due to prolonged, regular exposure to high levels of sound at their place of work and both employer and employee should take preventative steps to help reduce the risk of suffering industrial deafness.

Symptoms of Industrial Deafness

  • Reduced hearing in one or both ears.
  • Having to increase the volume on the TV.
  • Difficulty hearing people talking on the telephone.
  • Difficulty hearing speech over background noise.
  • Chronic ringing, whining, hissing or buzzing sound in the ear.
  • Increase in speech volume due to lack of hearing.
  • Temporary or permanent hearing loss in one or both ears.
  • Muffled and distorted sound when listening to speech.

If you find that you are having problems hearing everyday sounds outside of your place of employment, and those sounds are similar to high-level sounds where you work then chances are you have suffered hearing loss due to industrial deafness.

The good news is that if the symptoms are caught early enough and treated by a medical professional, the industrial hearing loss can be prevented from progressing on to permanent hearing loss.

“Preventative measures must also be implemented to reduce the risk of further damage to the hearing.”

What industries are most likely to induce industrial deafness?

You are probably wondering exactly what types of industry are most likely to cause industrial hearing loss and whether it’s an industry that you work in.

Below are some of the most common industries where industrial hearing loss can occur:

  • Shipbuilding
  • Construction work
  • Mills
  • Quarries
  • Airfields
  • Mining
  • Engineering
  • Haulage
  • Industrial manufacturing plants
  • Factories
  • Landscaping
  • Power plants

This list is not exhaustive and industrial deafness could theoretically be caused in any industry if noise levels are not controlled.

Most businesses in the manufacturing and producing heavy-duty goods will top the list of excessive noise production and thus workers in these fields should be aware of their hearing levels and take note of any deterioration.

The bottom line

It is a legal requirement that employers and businesses take steps to provide a safe working environment for employees to work in, and this directly covers noise levels and high levels of noise exposure.

“It is generally accepted that for industrial hearing loss to occur a person must be subjected to 90dB and above for an average of eight hours a day for five days a week over several years.”

Any areas of high noise levels should be clearly indicated with signage and protective gear such as earplugs or earmuffs should be provided. Employers should aim to reduce and control excessive noise levels and provide training for areas that it is not possible to do so.

Should an employer fail to take necessary preventative action to protect employees, they are liable to face legal action and pay compensation to employees who they have failed to protect.