A factory worker who was exposed to excessive noise for 21 years and is now suffering from hearing loss and tinnitus has received compensation.

The 57-year-old, from Dudley in the West Midlands was diagnosed with hearing loss in both ears and tinnitus in August 2009 after he complained of ringing in his ears.

In 21 years as a machine operator for Point Eight Ltd a book storage and furniture manufacturer in Dudley he had never been offered a hearing test.

During his time with the firm he worked with machines and in a noisy environment. It wasn’t until 1996 that he was provided with moulded ear plugs which then changed to disposable ear plugs in 2001 though the wearing of them was never enforced.

Thompsons Solicitors made Hearing Loss Compensation Claim

Following his diagnosis he instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that Point Eight should have done more to enforce the use of protective equipment and to monitor the exposure to noise.

Point Eight admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

He said: “When you work in a noisy environment you get used to it and have to get on with it but you don’t realise at the time the affect it is having on your ears. We were never given a hearing test and it wasn’t until I began to suffer from ringing in my ears outside work that I decided to go to my GP.

“I find social situations particularly difficult because I cannot hear all the conversation. It can be isolating.”

Ear defenders are cheap and easily available

Richard Cartwright from Thompsons Solicitors added: “We deal with many cases of industrial deafness and no warnings from employers about the dangers and a failure to provide appropriate safety equipment is sadly very common even today when ear defenders are cheap and easily available.

“Noise levels are set by law. Employers must ensure they abide by the guidelines and provide workers with appropriate ear defenders and plugs. Provision of these is much cheaper than any compensation claim resulting from failing to do so.”