With the support of his union, Unite Legal Services, Paul Davis from Gloucestershire, who developed noise-induced hearing loss as a result of working at Federal Mogul Camshaft Castings Limited, has received compensation.

Paul worked with various loud machines and furnaces during his employment at the firm from 1981 which resulted in him having to be fitted with hearing aids and still suffering from tinnitus. The Unite member explains that the constant ringing in his ears is particularly pronounced whilst trying to go to sleep.

Tinnitus affects around one in ten people in the UK, and there is no effective cure. People who are subjected to loud noises over a prolonged period of time are often susceptible to developing tinnitus, making those who work in industries such as maintenance or engineering particularly vulnerable to the condition.

Paul, aged 58, explains: “It’s staggering just how much this has impacted my life. I’ve had to make real adjustments and I find I particularly struggle in loud places. Also, when there are lots of sounds going on simultaneously, I find it hard to make out particular sounds and words – it’s more like one big drone.

“Although my condition’s not going away, it’s been a real relief to have received such phenomenal support from Unite Legal Services to help manage things. Being a member of Unite has proved to be invaluable.”

Ian Cross at Thompsons Solicitors, states that the employer’s first objective should be to reduce noise levels rather than just providing hearing protection. “It is crucial that employers make sufficient assessments of the risks associated with noise and seek to reduce that risk. Those steps and providing adequate hearing protection and instruction, could have prevented Paul from developing noise-induced hearing loss.

“Noise is a great, and often underestimated, risk in the workplace and it is crucial that employers take the potential health threats seriously.”