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Jun 30, 2010

Asymmetrical Noise Induced Hearing Loss


The causes of hearing damage in both ears (symmetrical deafness) are often the result of long term exposure to excessive levels of noise within industrial / heavy manufacturing workplaces, almost always described as industrial deafness.

However, compensation can be sought for noise induced hearing loss occurring in one ear only (asymmetrical hearing loss), the cause of which, can be more easily identified as a specific hazard or event.

In some instances this may be as a result of head trauma caused by a car accident, a fall from height or an object falling from height leading to brain damage that will permanently affect hearing from that point onwards.

There has been a well documented history of accidents within the mining, construction and chemical industries, whereby a loud explosion, occurring to one side can also cause work-related asymmetrical hearing loss. But working in any occupation that involves working to a specific side of any persistent loud noise can, without wearing obligatory ear defenders, be an asymmetrical deafness hazard.

Individual workforce personnel who develop noise induced hearing loss because a company employer has failed to provide suitable hearing protection may be entitled to seek compensation for injury and negligence.

One particular working environment at risk of causing industrial deafness of both the symmetrical and asymmetrical types is where a circular saw is in operation, and here, the Health and Safety Executive strongly recommend the use of reduced-noise blades.

Saw blades, without noise-reduction technology, operate at dangerous levels of noise, but there is more than one method of reducing the danger. One example is the ‘sandwich’ technique in which a ‘damping’ film is inserted between two blades bonded together. This serves to reduce the vibration (and therefore the noise) given out by the composite blade and is particularly advised for cutting plastic.

Once again, failure to protect employees correctly from the noise of the saws, either by improving the blades or providing ear protectors, may lead to liability for a hearing loss claim.