Over a third of workers in engineering, construction and utilities complacent to hearing loss despite risks to job

Published:  24 August, 2015

A new survey has highlighted how many people working in construction, engineering and utilities aren’t worried about the risk of hearing loss. This is despite an estimated 18,000 people currently suffering from noise-induced hearing loss caused or made worse by their work.

In the survey conducted by compensation specialists Jefferies Solicitors, 41% of people working within these sectors responded that they are currently not worried about losing their hearing, with 56% replying that they would only worry about it once it became an issue.

It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the UK currently live with some degree of hearing impairment or deafness. Of all those surveyed, 38% of people said that their hearing was at risk because of the job that they do.

These figures also highlight the potentially devastating effect that loss of hearing can have on employment. In fact, 70% of respondents stated that losing their hearing would affect how well they could perform their job.

When it comes to protecting their hearing, 36% said they don’t do anything at all, including not playing music too loudly, avoiding noisy events and wearing ear protection during loud activities.

Despite not worrying about losing their hearing, the majority of respondents are sentimental about which sounds they would miss. At the top of list, is hearing family’s voices, followed by their favourite music.

The survey also showed a lack of knowledge around the health issue: over 68% of respondents believe that the age group most at risk of hearing loss is 60-80+. However, according to recent research from the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide are at risk of hearing loss, due to the increasing unsafe use of personal audio devices.

Michael Jefferies, managing director of Jefferies Solicitors comments: “The results of the survey were very surprising. Considering industrial hearing loss is such a problem, we expected to find that people’s general awareness was higher. Instead, we found that the majority don’t do anything to look after their hearing, which is quite startling.

“Many of us go for regular health checks, eye tests and dental appointments, but leave hearing tests until it becomes a problem, when the damage has already been done. We have seen growing numbers of hearing loss claims at Jefferies Solicitors, particularly due to the rise in industrial work. However, we expect this number to rise after seeing these results. With the growth of smartphones and the use of headphones, a new generation of people is at risk of hearing loss. We would urge people to look after their hearing, even at a younger age.“