Industrial Deafness ?

Industrial deafness is loss of hearing due to exposure to loud levels of noise during course of employment. Often a form of sensorineural hearing loss, people who suffer from industrial deafness (also known as noise induced hearing loss) may be eligible for hearing loss compensation in Victoria. Complaw can help you with your claim if you are eligible.

The decrease in hearing sensitivity caused by noise exposure starts in the high frequencies (high pitches).This often causes the sufferer to experience difficulties hearing the telephone or door bells, understanding the television at a normal volume or understanding speech in a noisy situation such as a restaurant or shopping centre. With additional noise exposure, the hearing loss influences further in the high frequencies, aggravating any existing communication difficulties and then slowly progresses to include the lower frequencies. By this stage, even face-to-face communication in a relatively quiet situation can become extremely difficult.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)

Many people with NIHL also complain of intolerance to loud noises. Even some moderate to moderately-loud sounds such as clanking cutlery and crockery may be experienced as unbearably loud as a result of sensorineural hearing loss. Distortion is also commonplace and refers to the general lack of clarity of sounds, in particular, speech. These problems are due to physiological changes that occur in the inner ear as a result of hair cell damage from excessive exposure to noise.

Employers in noisy industries are bound by Occupational Health and Safety regulations to ensure their workers are not exposed to too much noise that could lead to industrial deafness. In Victoria, the regulations state that a worker may not be exposed to more than 85 decibels (dB) over an eight hour shift. Another way to decide how much noise is too much is the concept of a “noise dose”. This refers to the relativity of noise levels to time of exposure. It means that for every 3dB increase in noise level, the time of noise exposure must be halved; this will keep it within safe levels.

Time of exposure Level of surrounding noise (dB)
8 hours 85
4 hours 88
2 hours 91
1 hour 94
½ hour 97

If you suspect that you might be experiencing industrial hearing loss and want to start looking into applying for hearing loss compensation in Victoria, you can organise a hearing test with us at a location convenient to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a referral to get a hearing test?

There is no need for a referral to get a hearing test. Simply make an appointment at one of Complaw’s convenient locations across Melbourne and one of our highly trained and experienced audiologists will assess your hearing.

What does a hearing test involve?

There are three primary types of hearing tests:

  • Pure tone audiometry – This involves a machine called an audiometer which generates a series of whistles and beeps, considered to be ‘pure’ tones. When you hear the sounds, you press a button.
  • Speech discrimination tests – This tests how clearly a person can hear speech. The person being tested is required to repeat the words said to them. As people age, sensorineural hearing loss can occur and affect higher frequencies in their hearing, which makes some of the similar sounding letters harder to differentiate.
  • Online hearing test – The tested person wears headphones and their hearing is checked amongst background noise. This test takes less than five minutes.

What is the normal range of hearing?

The average young person can hear frequencies as low as 20Hz and as high as up to 20000Hz. However, the majority of audiologists will typically only measure between the range of 250Hz and 8000Hz. Once the higher end of the frequency spectrum begins to decrease, the warning signs of hearing loss begin.

Am I eligible for industrial deafness compensation?

Your eligibility for industrial deafness compensation will depend on a range of factors such as how much time has elapsed and your level of hearing loss. Complaw can provide assistance to determine your eligibility before you submit a claim.