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If you can hear sounds that others can’t; such as a buzzing, ringing or whistling noise in your ears, it is quite possible that you are suffering from a condition called Tinnitus.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound within your head that is not caused by an external source. While there is a condition called Objective Tinnitus when the sounds are caused by a physical problem within or near to the ear itself; such as a narrowing of blood vessels, which means that a doctor with a stethoscope may also be able to hear the noise, in most cases the noises heard by a Tinnitus sufferer are only audible to them. The noise can come and go, but in a lot of cases it is permanent; often causing difficulty with sleeping, and as a result leading to increased levels of stress.

What causes Tinnitus?

In most cases Tinnitus is caused by exposure to loud noise. This can be a single very loud noise such as an explosion or a gunshot, but in many cases is caused by long-term exposure to noises above the safe level for human ears to deal with. In times past it was mainly those who worked in very noisy environments that were most likely to develop the problem, but as things have evolved, it is now frequently people who work in generally very quiet environments, such as call-centres, who are most at risk. This can simply be due to having volumes on phone headsets set too high, or in some cases can come from acoustic shock when a sudden high-volume noise comes through the headset; perhaps due to a fault.

What are the symptoms?

The most obvious symptoms are a ringing, buzzing, whistling or humming sound that can be heard by the sufferer but not by anyone else. As a result of this noise, sufferers may find it difficult to hear other people talking and may need to increase the volume of televisions, radios etc. A side effect of Tinnitus can be insomnia; when the noise inside the head makes it impossible for the sufferer to sleep.

Can it be treated?

There is now a range of methods for treating Tinnitus, although a straight cure is yet to be found. Your doctor is the best person to talk to about possible treatments.

What if it was caused by your employment?

Employers have a duty to care for the health and welfare of their employees, and that includes ensuring that their hearing is not damaged while at work. There is a range of measures that can be taken to minimise the risk of developing Tinnitus and if your employer failed to take the necessary steps then you could well be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Contact us today to see how we can help you get the pay out you deserve.

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