Tinnitus is a common ear-related medical condition that may stem from the workplace. Tinnitus describes the perception of noise in both ears, one hear, or the head, of which the noise emanates from inside the body instead of an outside source. Tinnitus sufferers may experience various kinds of sound that may include humming, buzzing, music, or whistling.
Tinnitus often worsens during quiet hours like when the person is trying to sleep. Sufferers may even notice the condition when he or she is tired. Tinnitus can be caused by a blow to the head, continued exposure to loud noise like concert music, or a cold. Around one in ten individuals in the United Kingdom experience some form of tinnitus, while about one in 200 individuals are affected severely by it. While more common in adults and the elderly, young children can also be afflicted by it.
The condition can naturally arise from the process of ageing or from other causes like ear disease. Tinnitus claims normally accompany ONIHL (Occupational Noise Induced Hearing Loss) deafness claims because of a noisy working environment. A tinnitus claim, however, can stand alone if a person has been exposed to stress, acoustic trauma (like loud music, a loud bang, or gunshot), or occupational noise exposure.
What are the damages or awards that an employee can claim for tinnitus? Tinnitus compensation depends on the condition’s severity and on the person’s reaction to the condition. This means the frequency and loudness of the tinnitus, how it interferes with the sufferer’s daily existence, or of the person’s inability to ignore tinnitus.
For slight tinnitus and if the claim is successful, a person can claim GBP4,850 to GBP8,250. For mild tinnitus and hearing loss, a person can claim GBP8,250 to GBP9,750. For moderate hearing loss/tinnitus, a person can claim GBP9,750 to GBP19,500. For severe hearing loss/tinnitus, a person can claim about GBP19,500 to GBP30,000.
What can a person do to establish and pursue a work-related tinnitus compensation claim? The employee must prove that his or her tinnitus was caused by exposure to noise and the tinnitus was caused by the employer’s negligence. Tinnitus claims against employers can be filed under the Noise at Work Regulations 1989.
The 1989 Regulations mandate employers to prevent injury to employees from noise exposure of the levels of noise exceeded 85 dB(A) or 90 dB(A). Employees should file their claims within 3 years of the occurrence of the injury or of the employee knowing he or she has a major injury and that the injury was due to noise exposure. Courts, however, may extend the time period in some cases so that claims can be brought later.
There are certain ways of funding claims. One way is privately paying the solicitor. Another way is for seeking financial aid from a Trade Union. The Conditional Fee Agreements is one of the more common methods of funding a tinnitus claim. These agreements are “no-win-no-fee” and come with an insurance policy so that the employee may file a claim without having to pay legal costs.