Headphone use could complicate NIHL cases
As Deaf Awareness Week approaches (15-21 May), experts warn that noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) problems could escalate in the future due to excessive headphone use. Whilst workplace NIHL cases are on the decrease, recreational NIHL is on the rise, and could have the potential to make NIHL compensation cases more complex in the future.
In a recent study released by the World Health Organization, there are now more than 1 billion in the world in danger of losing or damaging their hearing due to excessive noise. For people between the ages of 12 and 35, they are at great risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) due to recreational exposure to loud or excessive noise.
The World Health Organisation has warned that many young people are damaging their hearing through use of headphones, making it difficult for employers to know how to manage hearing protection for workers who already have some hearing loss.
The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasised the need for action in a 2015 report, Hearing loss due to recreational exposure to loud sounds, which identified occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) as the most commonly reported work-related injury globally.
Recently, hearing protection requirements in the workplace were raised from category two to the highest, category 3, reflecting the importance of protecting hearing from irreversible long-term damage. Whilst training and equipment in the workplace have improved, many people still take their hearing for granted and need to be aware of at-home activities which could be putting them at risk over time.
Shockingly, recent research by the WHO shows that people are becoming just as likely to have noise-induced damage as they are to have age-induced.
Because of the growth of recreational hearing loss, employers will have to assess workers’ hearing at regular intervals and provide thorough training to ensure employees are aware of the risk of irreversible hearing loss.
The European Commission and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work have recently launched the next stage in the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign to promote sustainable work and healthy ageing from the start of working life, including educating young people on safe listening practices and the importance of effective hearing protection.
If you believe that you have been affected by your work in a noisy environment, please contact Roberts Jackson on our free phone number 0808 252 5504 or fill in an enquiry form on the right of this page.