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What is an ear injury?

A personal injury to the ear involves damage to the outer ear, ear canal or eardrum and could result in temporary or permanent hearing loss. Ear injuries occur as a result of a variety of accidents including sporting accidents and accidents at work. They can occur from a wide range of incidences including anything from a direct blow to the side of the head to an extremely loud or repetitive noise.

How an ear injury may occur

Ear injuries happen for different reasons but some common kinds of accidents can be eligible for claiming compensation.

A direct blow to the side of the head can bruise or cause a blood clot to the outer ear, increased air pressure inside the ear canal can cause the eardrum to rupture or disrupt tiny bones in the ear canal that transmit sound.

Excessively loud noise can increase air pressure inside the ear canal resulting in damage to the eardrum and hearing mechanisms.

Dramatic and unexpected changes in atmospheric pressure can cause the Eustachian tube to compress and prevent air from entering the middle ear, leaving the middle ear unable to adapt fast enough to the change in pressure.

The pressure difference in the middle of the ear and the atmosphere can cause the eardrum to rupture. Minimal pressure difference maintained for a prolonged period of time can cause the negative pressure within the middle ear and draw fluid in.

Thermal injuries such as burns or frostbite can cause significant damage to the outer ear.

Sporting injuries

Ear injuries as a result of surfing and diving accidents are fairly common. These mostly consist of perforated ear drums caused by excessive pressure on the inner ear when diving or after being wiped off a surf board by a wave.

Surfing can also instigate a chronic condition which can decrease hearing, known as ‘surfer’s ear’. This is where tiny bone growths occur within the ear canal as a result of cold water, spray and wind gushing in and out of the ear.

Aggressive contact sports such as rugby, boxing and wrestling are commonly associated with cauliflower ear. This occurs when the ear is repeatedly hit and a blood clot either forms under the skin or the ear’s skin is stripped away from the cartilage. It is so called because the injury damages the shape and structure of the outside ear and leaves it covered in large lumps, resembling that of a cauliflower.

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Industrial deafness and acoustic trauma

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found that more than 1.1 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise levels in their workplace and a further 170,000 already suffer from industrial deafness, tinnitus or other noise-related ear conditions.

Acoustic trauma is a type of industrial deafness caused by exposure to a sudden, extremely loud noise such as a gunshot or blast of music. This injury essentially damages the hearing mechanisms within the inner ear and is a common cause of sensory hearing loss. Hearing loss is usually partial and temporary but it can be permanent in severe cases. Other symptoms such as tinnitus, a ringing in the ears, may also occur.

Acoustic trauma and other types of industrial deafness may be prevented by taking necessary precautions & wearing the correct safety equipment such as earplugs or industrial earmuffs, which guard against exposure to loud or repetitive noises.

Who is at fault for my ear injury?

In some industrial accident cases, employers may have failed to provide the correct protective hearing equipment and may have caused injury resulting from a lack of risk assessment. Your employer has a duty to protect you while you are at work and failure to do so can mean your employer is liable for an injury.

Your ear injury may have been caused after falling on a public pathway that is owned by the local authority. In this case you may be able to make a claim against the council. If you have been physically assaulted, it is normal for your claim to go through the Criminal Injury Authority. There are slightly different rules that apply to this type of claim so it is worth getting advice from a personal injury solicitor.

Factors taken into consideration for ear injury compensation:

‘Deafness’ refers to both partial and total hearing loss but when assessing compensation figures the following must be considered:

  • Whether the injury is one that has an immediate effect, allowing no chance for the injured party to adapt, or whether it occurred over a period of time.
  • Whether the injury or disability was suffered at an early age and will have an effect on the injured party’s speech or whether it was suffered later in life.
  • Whether the injury or disability affects balance.
  • Age is of particular relevance in cases of noise-induced hearing loss.

Claiming compensation for an ear injury

If you have suffered an ear injury through no fault of your own then you could be eligible to claim compensation. First Personal Injury lawyers can help you with your claim with our no win, no fee service. If you would like to find out more about how we can get you the compensation you are entitled to for your ear injury then please get in touch with us on 0800 808 9740.

How to make an injury claim

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