Preventing Industrial Deafness

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Preventing Industrial Deafness

Industrial deafness and tinnitus are amongst the most common types of industrial diseases in the UK. There are roughly 12 million people in the UK who have some form of hearing loss and that estimation is expected to go up to 14.2 million by 2035. Once your hearing is damaged, tools such as hearing aids can assist your ability to hear but the damage cannot be reversed. 

Therefore, it is therefore incredibly important to take steps to preserve the hearing of the millions of people who are exposed to high levels of noise in the workplace. There are a number of ways to do this – the two main methods focus on reducing the amount of noise in the workplace and increasing the hearing protection of workers. 

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Control of Noise at Work Regulations

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 states that the level of noise in the workplace must be reduced as much as possible before restoring to workers using personal hearing protection like earplugs. This is because the onus to reduce noise levels and protect employees should be on the business and employers as a whole rather than the individual. 

Reducing Workplace Noise

The simplest way to protect workers’ hearing from noise damage is to generate less noise in the workplace. This can involve purchasing quieter machinery or altering machinery so that it is quieter when in use if possible. This can also involve stopping metal-on-metal impacts in the workplace as that can be incredibly loud, stopping machinery from vibrating against other surfaces and fitting silencers where possible. 

Another method of noise reduction is to prevent the noise from reaching the workers. One way in which this can be achieved is to separate the area where the noise is being produced from the workforce as much as possible. If it is not possible to separate the areas entirely, direct noise can be deflected by the use of screens. In addition, noise absorbent materials can be used on the walls and floors. If workers must come into the place where the noise is generated, it is advisable that the time spent there is minimised and the level of noise for this time is reduced if this is possible. These sorts of protection should primarily be supplied by the employer rather than the employee. 

Types of Hearing Protection

There are three main ways in which hearing protection can be implemented in the workplace to prevent industrial deafness. These methods include the use of ear defenders, earplugs, and semi-aural inserts and all work by providing a sound barrier which dramatically reduces the amount of sound entering the ear. 

Ear Defenders

Ear defenders are usually placed on a band that fits across the head. Instead, they can come attached to a helmet for those who work in environments where head protection is also necessary. It is important that there are no gaps around the deal of ear defenders so that any unmitigated noise does not leak into the ear. 

Customised Ear Plugs

Customised earplugs are available and can be the best choice for many workers. It is very important to check if your earplugs are reusable and to keep them clean, so ear infections do not develop. 

Semi-Aural Inserts

Semi-Aural inserts are similar to earplugs but do not fit into the ear as far and come on a band that fits under the chin or behind the neck. They do not provide as good protection as other types of ear protection and should only be used to protect against noise up to 87 dB because of this. 

Making Personal Injury Claims

If you have experienced hearing loss due to your workplace environment, you may be entitled to compensation. First Personal Injury solicitors are available to assist you and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. 

First Personal Injury works with both families and individuals across England and Wales, leading them on their legal journey and helping them claim compensation after an accident or injury.