Workplace Illness Lawyers Secure Settlement For Factory Worker Who Suffered Hearing Loss

Calls For Better Hearing Protection For Employees Working In Noisy Environments

06.09.2013

By Dave Grimshaw

A factory worker left with serious hearing difficulties after his employer failed to provide him with the appropriate protective equipment, has joined expert workplace illness lawyers to warn others about the debilitating effects that noise-induced hearing loss can have on people’s lives.

Paul Grain, of Hemingfield in Barnsley, has suffered permanent damage to his hearing caused by the heavy machinery he came into contact with while working for engineering firm Hall and Pickles in Sheffield between 1973 and 1988.

The 57-year-old will now have to wear hearing aids 10 years earlier than he would have expected to, after being exposed to excessive levels of noise from milling, grinding and drilling machines at the firm.

Paul has been devastated by the loss of his hearing and the affect tinnitus, a ringing and buzzing sensation in his ears, has had on his life. He instructed expert industrial illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, who have secured him a four-figure settlement to cover the cost of specialist hearing aids which he now requires.

Sarah Tagg, an industrial deafness specialist at Irwin Mitchell who represented him, said: “Paul wasn’t advised or warned about the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss and is now coming to terms with the fact he will never be able to hear properly again and will suffer from tinnitus for the rest of his life.

“The cost of specialist hearing aids can run into thousands and even then will not provide perfect hearing for the wearer – meaning other adaptations need to be made, such as specially developed telephones, doorbells and alarm systems.

“The settlement will give Paul the opportunity and funds to improve his quality of life and we hope his case is a stark reminder to other employers about the importance of protecting their employees from excessive noise.”

During his career, Paul says he was exposed to the firm’s heavy machinery on the shop floor although he was never warned about how detrimental the noisy environment could be to his health or provided with any protection equipment.

He said: “The working environment at Hall and Pickles was always so noisy especially when all 50 or 60 machines on the factory floor were operating at once. It was impossible to hear someone over the racket if they were speaking normally and I always had to shout and raise my voice to communicate with anyone.

“My wife started to notice I was suffering from hearing loss because I was regularly turning the television up loudly, I was constantly missing what people were saying, the phone ringing or someone knocking at the door.

“It has been incredibly upsetting and frustrating to gradually lose my hearing in the past few years and it’s definitely had an impact on my confidence. I also feel sorry for my family who have to keep repeating themselves for me when I don’t hear them the first time. 

“Having good hearing is something you take for granted until you start to notice it going. I’m angry this could have been prevented if my employers had done more to protect me from the noisy environments I worked in. Nothing can turn back the clock or bring my hearing back but I’m relieved I’ve finally got some justice for what I’ve been through.”

If you or a loved one has suffered from hearing damage such as acoustic shock, tinnitus, and noise-induced hearing loss caused by conditions at work our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Industrial Disease Claims page for more information.