Industrial deafness, also called occupational deafness or noise induced hearing loss, is a condition that results in the loss of hearing as a consequence of a person’s working environment. Workplace noise can cause different types of hearing loss, such as temporary or permanent loss of hearing and conditions such as tinnitus or acoustic shock syndrome.

How do I know whether I may have industrial deafness and what are the symptoms?

If you find that you are struggling to hear others speak or often need to turn up the volume on a TV or radio and you work in an excessively noisy environment, then it is possible you may be suffering from industrial deafness. Common symptoms include:

  • Lack of hearing in one or both ears
  • Missing part or full sentences in a conversation
  • Struggling to hear speech when there is background noise
  • Having to turn up the TV or radio to high levels to hear properly
  • Temporary or permanent lack of hearing
  • Constant ringing, buzzing, hissing, droning, roaring and ticking noises is a sign of tinnitus

According to the Health and Safety Executive (the HSE) over 1 million employees are at risk of suffering from future industrial deafness due to their working environment. There are certain professions where there will inevitably be loud noise generated on an ongoing basis such as in construction, engineering, factories, foundries, mining, and quarrying and other jobs that maybe more prone to employers suffering conditions such as acoustic shock like call centre workers or workers in the music industry. Click here to see a non-exhaustive list of tools or activities that when used or performed over prolonged periods without the correct hearing protection could cause hearing problems or industrial deafness.

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