11 Nov Your Guide to Industrial Deafness in South Australia
Industrial Deafness is the result of excessive exposure to loud noise at work. If you have developed a hearing loss because of your job, you could be eligible for an industrial deafness claim in South Australia, where you will receive lump sum compensation and hearing aids. Adelaide Hearing is a local business with years of experience assessing hearing loss for Workers Compensation Claims in South Australia.
If you’ve been exposed to loud noise at work, we can identify a hearing loss and can get you on the right track to compensation and better hearing.
How Does Loud Noise Cause Hearing Loss?
The inner ear is extremely delicate. Its made of thousands of delicate hairs that are bent by sound vibrations. This bending movement stimulates the hearing nerve which sends a signal to your brain which then perceives the sound. Normally, the hairs will bend back to their usual position, but they can easily be permanently damaged by powerful sound vibrations created by hazardous levels of noise. Like blades of grass, they can be bent many times and rebound back but eventually they become damaged and flop over permanently. When your hair cells are damaged they’re no longer able stimulate the hearing nerve so you suffer a noise induced hearing loss, or industrial deafness. By the time you notice hearing loss, many hair cells have been destroyed and cannot be repaired.
According to Safe Work Australia (https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/noise), an estimated one million employees in Australia may be exposed to dangerous levels of noise at work. In fact, from 2001–02 to 2014–15 there were 65,300 accepted claims for deafness in Australia.
Do I have industrial deafness?
The damage caused by noise exposure is usually very gradual so you mightn’t notice it immediately or you might ignore the signs of hearing loss until they are more obvious. Noise-induced hearing loss tends to effect high-frequency sounds in the 3000 – 6000hz range initially. We can easily identify this with a hearing test that can be charted on an audiogram. With further exposure to noise the degree of loss at these pitches will get worse (seen by hearing thresholds going down the page at these frequencies on an audiogram) and then surrounding frequencies will also become affected. This slow loss of hearing gradually causes peoples voices to become muffled even though the background noise is still loud. People often say: “I can hear fine; I just can’t understand a word your saying” because the hearing in their high pitches (important for speech clarity and contrast) has deteriorated but their low tone hearing remains intact.
The Audiogram tells us how well each ear can hear a range of different pitches. The top of the graph represents different pitches with the low frequencies on the left, the mid-range in the middle and the high frequencies to the right. The lowest frequency tested is 250 Hertz (Hz), and the highest is 8000 Hz. Most speech falls into the 250 to 6000 Hz range, with vowel sounds and background noise among the lower frequencies and consonants such as S, F, SH, CH, H, TH, T and K (which give clarity to speech) among the high frequencies. The vertical axis represents the volume, with soft sounds at the top of the page and loud sounds at the bottom. We want to see how softly you can hear each pitch so we start soft and work up to the volume where you can just detect each pitch – known as your hearing threshold. We put a O at each pitch for the right ear and a X at each pitch for the left. Ideally you want the Os and Xs at 20db or better for each pitch – the normal hearing range. The lower down the page, the greater the level of hearing impairment. Specifically: -20 to 30 Mild -30 to 60 Moderate -60 to 90 Severe -90 + Profound
Symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss
There are a range of symptoms that may indicate you have suffered a noise induced hearing loss. If you are experiencing any of these early signs you should contact us for a free hearing test.
- Difficulty understanding people because their speech sounds muffled and unclear (you may struggle more with “s,” “f,” “sh” and “th” sounds)
- Having to turn the TV volume up (even though this often doesn’t help!)
- Being unable to hear in café’s, restaurants, or pubs where background noise drowns out the person you’re trying to hear.
- Trouble listening on the telephone or having to use your mobile on speaker phone.
- Inability to participate effectively in group conversations or work out whose talking,
- Fatigue and frustration from trying to listen in meetings or lectures,
- A ringing, buzzing, or roaring in the ears or head (known as tinnitus)
Can I claim compensation for Industrial Deafness?
You may access to both lump-sum compensation & hearing aids if noisy work has contributed to your hearing loss in South Australia. You may also be eligible to claim compensation from WorkCover even if you claimed previously or have retired.
If the amount of your hearing loss due to noise is more than 5% WPI (Whole Person Impairment) or is a minimum of 8.8% BHI (Binaural Hearing Impairment) then you are entitled to lump-sum compensation (Sections 58 and 22 of the Return to Work Act 2014).
If eligible, you should also receive modern, discrete hearing devices that substantially improve the clarity of your hearing & significantly improve your quality of life (Section 33(17): Medical Expenses (Hearing Aids) of the Return to Work Act 2014).
We offer the best hearing aids for Industrial Hearing Loss in Adelaide
Adelaide Hearing has helped many South Australians receive their hearing aid entitlements with top quality digital, Bluetooth and invisible hearing aids.
We have years of experience testing industrial hearing loss and work closely with workers to choose and trial the best hearing aid for each persons’ unique needs. We are an independent Adelaide Hearing clinic so are free to choose the hearing aids that are best suited to the degree of each persons’ Industrial hearing loss, their lifestyle and feature preferences. We source our hearing aids from a full range of the world’s best manufacturers, so you get what’s best for you.
We provide a complete service from the initial hearing test to fitting your hearing aids when your claim has been approved. We offer hearing rehabilitation support and ongoing maintenance, which covers any repairs and adjustments you may need. Hearing loss compensation includes a replacement pair of hearing aids every five years and an annual supply of batteries.
How do I make a claim?
Start with a Free Hearing Test
Book a free hearing test appointment to assess if you may be eligible for compensation. Our hearing tests are free, quick, painless, and comprehensive.
Get Trusted Advice
After we analyse your hearing, we can connect you to local, trusted legal service providers who specialises in industrial deafness in South Australia. They will make sure your claim progresses smoothly and that you receive lump sum compensation where available and the most advanced hearing aids possible.
Why Should I Lodge a Claim?
The benefit of having an accepted claim for Noise Induced Hearing Loss is that reasonable medical expenses such as hearing aids will be funded. You should receive high quality hearing aids with a range of features to suit you (invisible, rechargeable, Bluetooth etc).
There is no need to let permanent industrial deafness negatively impact your life. Adelaide Hearing is a leading, experienced provider of Audiological Services including Noise Assessments for South Australian Workers. We work closely with you to optimize your hearing with state-of-the-art technology and expert treatment that will vastly improve your social, personal, and work life.
CALL US ON 8357 2290 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.