Noise Induced Hearing Loss Claims

Date Added 03.03.24

Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is usually caused by exposure to excessive or persistent noise, leading to damage that cannot be reversed or corrected medically or surgically. A single instance of exposure to a very loud sound (such as an explosion) can be enough to cause damage that, in turn, causes NIHL.

If you work, live or otherwise remain in environments that produce loud or persistent noise, you should ensure that sufficient ear protection is worn to reduce the risk of NIHL. However, whilst the risks arising from exposure to loud noises can sometimes be reduced, Tollers Solicitors is seeing an increase in noise induced hearing loss claims from serving, and former, Armed Forces personnel.

Armed Forces and NIHL

The Armed Forces is a naturally noisy environment, with potential noise exposure from weaponry, artillery and explosives, firing ranges, generators, armoured vehicles, aircraft engines and playing in brass bands. This presents a unique environment that isn’t often duplicated outside of the Armed Forces.

Despite the unique nature of its operations, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) remains responsible for the welfare of its staff and limiting the risk of harm, despite the combat conditions they often face, which include providing suitable noise defenders. The equipment provided has changed over time from ear muffs, helmets, ear plugs and ear defenders. More recently, the MOD supplied moulded earplugs for personnel deployed operationally, including smart earplugs that absorb external sounds and transmit them at a manageable level.

NIHL and tinnitus (a condition which results in ringing or high-pitched noises being constantly heard within the ear) resulting from exposure to high levels of noise may not be known until a long time after the injury has occurred and is usually noticed alongside the normal ageing process or triggered by an event, e.g., noticing that the television or radio volume is consistently high, or being unable to hear family members. The nature of NIHL can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, affecting their ability to work, socialise and carry out their normal day-to-day activities. NIHL is particularly dangerous during active service, potentially affecting the ability to hear sounds and instructions, and can therefore be a reason for medical discharge. The proportion of medical discharges due to NIHL and/or tinnitus has increased over recent years.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss Claims Against the MOD

Since a change in the law in 1987, Armed Forces personnel may be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim against the MOD for NIHL as long as it is within time limits and there is evidence of the degree of hearing loss. The number of claims of NIHL within the Armed Forces is increasing, with more than 9,000 claims being successfully settled against the MOD between April 2012 and March 2018, totalling compensation of £58 million. By mid-2022 the total compensation paid out by the MOD for NIHL increased to £95 million, with an average of more than 1,300 MOD settlements per year.

David Boobyer of Tollers Solicitors is experienced in managing military claims, with compensation totalling over £1m for injured armed forces personnel. Many military NIHL claims include:

  • loss of earnings;
  • loss of a career you are proud of;
  • future handicap in the labour market;
  • loss of pension, which can be substantial;
  • loss of subsidised accommodation
  • operational allowance;
  • unpleasant work allowance;
  • free training;
  • campaign continuity payments;
  • free access to gym facilities; and
  • medical benefits.

Talk to Tollers Regarding NIHL

If you are affected by NIHL and think you might have a case or you just want to find out more about the services Tollers Personal Injury team provides… Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558. Our highly experienced PI specialists are on hand to answer any questions you might have and possibly advise and guide you through the process of making a claim.

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