Noise-induced hearing loss: can you make a claim if it’s work-related?
Noise-induced hearing loss is a big problem for many Australians.
What is noise-induced hearing loss?
The government’s Comcare website describes noise-induced hearing loss as a condition that happens gradually, often over a number of years.
- It’s most common in people who work in transport, construction and the defence forces.
- Exposure to 85 decibels over eight hours can lead to hearing loss (this is about the level of sound you’ll hear from busy city traffic, a mower or a hairdryer).
- Hearing loss is greatest during the first 10 years of exposure.
According to SafeWork Australia, between July 2002 and June 2007, there were about 16,500 successful workers’ compensation claims for industrial deafness involving permanent impairment due to noise.
Prevention is better than cure
Because hearing loss isn’t life-threatening, many people don’t take the risk to their hearing health seriously.
To prevent noise-induced hearing loss (also known as ‘industrial deafness’), SafeWork Australia encourages employers, managers and workers to be made aware of the real risks and the available solutions.
- wearing personal hearing protection like earmuffs and earplugs
- isolating the source of noise from where people are working
- using quieter machinery or processes in the workplace
- scheduling work when the least number of workers are present
How do you know if you have hearing loss?
- You have difficulty clearly hearing words spoken. You can only hear a conversation if the person is standing within a metre, and if they raise their voice.
- Conversations are especially difficult if there’s background noise (like when you’re in a restaurant or café).
- Sounds might be muffled or muted.
- You may experience a ‘buzzing’ or ‘ringing’ in your ear.
Time for a hearing check?
Of course, the best way to find out if you have a hearing problem is to have your hearing tested. A simple hearing check by a qualified hearing care professional can establish whether you have any issue.
You can also discuss your options should your hearing loss be tracked back to your workplace. Making an industrial deafness claim is different in each Australian state, but the first step is to have a check-up.
Call us on 1300 017 732 to make an obligation-free appointment and discuss your hearing health.
As an independent, family-owned hearing care clinic, you’ll also find we like to look after our clients and offer affordable prices on all of our hearing solutions.