Acoustic shock is a relatively new phenomenon, but it is officially recognised as a medical condition. Research shows that it can have a significant impact on your hearing and standard of life.
So, if you believe you have been the victim of an acoustic shock as a consequence of negligence by your employer, then you may be eligible for compensation. It is important to take advice as soon as possible to see whether you have grounds for a claim.
While hearing issues have long been a problem for many employees, the acoustic shock is a particularly painful and damaging condition. It occurs when loud noises, feedback oscillations or other similar types of interference are transmitted down a telephone line.
The shock can cause a strong muscle contraction within the middle ear which can often lead to the tearing of the inner membrane. The delicate nature of the inner ear is well documented, and this type of sharp, sudden shock can have a huge impact on your hearing.
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What Are the Symptoms of Acoustic Shock?
While the symptoms of acoustic shock are similar to tinnitus/hearing loss, there are a number of specific issues to be aware of.
- Pain in the ear
- Balance issues
- Hollow feeling/fluttery noise in the ear
- Neck pain
- Jaw pain
It is not difficult to see how these symptoms in isolation, never mind two or more together, can have an impact on a sufferer’s life.
Who Is Liable if I Suffer From Acoustic Shock?
Ultimately your employer is liable. There are a number of acts of Parliament placed on the statute books offer varying degrees of protection to employees. With regards to acoustic shock claims, the government set up a program in 2004 called the “Acoustic Safety Programme”.
This offered advice and guidance for businesses/call centre operators who may be prone to incidents of acoustic shock. It is safe to say that the programme has been welcomed by businesses, but unfortunately, there are still acoustic shock claims going through the courts.
Is Acoustic Shock Recognised as an Industrial Disease?
While the condition itself is not necessarily recognised as an industrial disease, the symptoms and the impact on hearing are now recognised. So while there may not be a government-sponsored programme of compensation, it is still possible to pursue your employer for negligence.
In reality, there are few government-sponsored compensation programs for industrial diseases, although some conditions are covered by specific benefit payments.
Do I Have to Make a Claim Within a Specific Period?
As acoustic shock is a relatively new phenomenon, one which the business arena is still coming to terms with, you may not be diagnosed with the condition until sometime after the event. Traditionally there is a three-year window of opportunity during which to lodge a claim for compensation. However, this timescale does not begin until you have been officially diagnosed with, in this instance, acoustic shock.
It is therefore conceivable that you could be diagnosed many weeks, months or even years down the line and still be able to claim compensation.
Which Industries Are More Susceptible to Acoustic Shock?
By far and away, the most susceptible industry when it comes to acoustic shock is the call centre sector. These operations see employees on the phone for the vast majority of the day, which increases their chances of experiencing acoustic shock.
Thankfully there are ways and means in which your employer can reduce the chances of experience this very uncomfortable situation.
Should My Employers Provide Safety Equipment?
Yes. All employers have a legal obligation to ensure the physical and mental well-being of their employees. This includes the supply of safety equipment/PPE, which can help to avoid condition such as acoustic shock.
It is worth noting that since 1991 the major manufacturers of headsets have incorporated what is known as acoustic limiters into their devices. In effect, these headsets filter out noise above 118 dB, which is the legal limit for headset devices. There is no doubt this has gone a long way to protecting employees from acoustic shock.
How Do I Claim Compensation for Acoustic Shock?
As hearing loss conditions are recognised as potential industrial diseases, medical conditions which develop in the workplace, you will need to prove negligence before being able to apply for compensation.
The following evidence would prove useful:-
- Medical diagnosis
- Medical records
- Previous warnings to employer
- Post-event impact on everyday life
- Photographic evidence
- Witness statements
- Employer accident records
- Details of PPE/safety equipment provided (or lack of)
If you can show that you were exposed to in excess of 118 dB, thereby bringing on acoustic shock, this should suffice. However, it is worth noting that acoustic shock can still occur under the legal limit of 118 dB and your employer may still be liable.
Should I Approach a Claims Management Company?
While you are able to pursue a compensation claim on your own, many people choose to employ the services of a claims management company. They have experience, contacts and know the intricate workings of the UK legal system.
Research also shows that successful compensation claims are often significantly higher when negotiated by a claims management company, as opposed to the individual.
How Much Does It Cost to Pursue a Compensation Claim?
If a claims management company believes you have a minimum 60% chance of success, they will likely offer to take your case forward. You will probably be offered a “no win no fee” arrangement which will remove your liability to cover the claims management company’s costs while pursuing your claim.
In exchange, they will negotiate a “success fee” which would entitle them to a percentage of any compensation awarded.
What Is the Normal Level for a Success Fee?
The average success fee is around 25%, although it can vary depending upon the type of injury and duration of the case.
While the term acoustic shock may be relatively new to many people, the symptoms and the impact on an individual’s life are well documented. From relatively mild ringing in the ears to long-term industrial deafness, this is only the beginning of the impact.
Therefore, if you believe you have been the victim of acoustic shock as a consequence of negligence by your employer, you should investigate your eligibility for compensation.
Quick Industrial illness & Disease FAQs
On average, your claims management company will look to negotiate a success fee of around 25%, although this can vary depending on the level of compensation received and duration of the case. This is something which needs to be agreed before the claims management company can pursue your claim.
Special damages are best described as recompense for costs incurred, future medical expenses and other elements such as loss of earnings. If you are unable to return to work as a consequence of an industrial disease/illness, and your employer is found negligent, then they may need to recompense you for loss of earnings.
If you were paying legal fees and costs yourself, this could run into tens of thousands of pounds depending on the type of claim and the duration. Thankfully, many claims management companies will offer a “no win no fee” arrangement if, after reviewing your evidence, they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success.
This effectively removes your liability to cover their costs when pursuing your case. In exchange, the claims management company will negotiate what is known as a “success fee”.
The pursuit of compensation for industrial diseases such as hearing loss should be done within a three-year window of opportunity. This window of opportunity begins on the first official diagnosis of your condition – not necessarily the event(s) which brought about the condition.
With issues such as hearing loss, which can worsen over a prolonged period of time, this is very important. We have seen cases where individuals have been diagnosed months and even years down the line, yet still been able to seek compensation.
How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making an Industrial illness Compensation Claim?
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Industrial illness Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries & illnesses they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.