Industrial Deafness, Tinnitus and Acoustic Shock

Did you or someone you know work for BT as call-centre staff, or any other call-centre in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s?

Do you turn the television up because you cannot hear it properly? Do you struggle to follow conversations when in a group or out socially because you cannot hear what is being said? Do you suffer from hearing loss in both ears, one-sided hearing loss, tinnitus or other hearing problems. If so, this may be as a result of working on the telephone exchange for BT.

Another form of injury to the ear can be Acoustic Shock which is characterised by sudden, loud and unexpected noise coming from the headset. This can be through an audio technology malfunction or even a disgruntled caller shouting down the phone at staff. The loudness and length of the audio shock can cause permanent damage to the hearing and/or tinnitus.

Acoustic shock can have the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Ear pain
  • Facial numbness and tightening
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of pressure in the ear
  • Feelings of vulnerability
  • Headaches
  • Hearing problems
  • Soreness of the ear and / or neck
  • Tinnitus

Hearing loss and/or tinnitus or Acoustic Shock can be as a result of being provided with equipment that completely covered the ear, leaving no chance of the sound dissipating. The sounds often encountered were alarms ringing and coins dropping into telephones, which are thought to have caused the damage to operators wearing old-fashioned head-sets.

Most people may not be aware they have a problem. It is not total deafness, it is more subtle. You may notice problems only when in groups or maybe your family have pointed out that you have the television on quite loud. You may even experience problems hearing when you are on the telephone.

If you or someone you know has suffered any of the above problems and you worked in a call-centre between 1970 and 1990 and you would like advice on whether or not you may have a claim then please contact Michael Ward at Burd Ward Solicitors on 0151 639 8273