Living with Industrial Deafness

The ability to hear sounds and share them with others is something most of us take for granted. However, in 2011 there were more than 10 million people with hearing loss in the UK and this is expected to grow to 14.5 million in 2031.

The biggest cause of hearing loss is old age.  By the age of 80 the majority of people will experience significant loss of hearing.  However, hearing loss often develops from being exposed to loud working environments over a long period of time.  This is often referred to as industrial deafness.  And it is not just manufacturing workers who are at risk. In findings released in May this year, professional musicians were found to be four times more likely to suffer hearing loss and 57% more likely to develop tinnitus than the general public.

Duty of employers

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 requires that employers either eliminate workplace noise at the source, or where this is not reasonably practical, reduce noise to as low a level as possible.  However, many employees still suffer hearing loss when exposed to a continuous level of noise over a long period of time.

Living with the problem

So what is it like to live in a world that is partially or completely silent?  “It has definitely affected my social life”, explains former Senior Constable Mike Stephens, who suffers from partial hearing loss after participating in firearms training with the police force.  “I don’t like going out much anymore because I can hear next to nothing when I am in a crowd of people, it makes it impossible to try and hold a conversation”.

Partial loss of hearing can affect people physically, mentally, emotionally and socially and it can lead to feelings of isolation, depression and inadequacy.  Some examples of the challenges hearing loss can bring include:

• Not hearing someone talking to you, especially if your back is turned to the person speaking
• Feeling patronised when people talk loudly or slowly
• Difficulty understanding people on the telephone
• Difficulty finding employment, or having to accept positions below an individual’s level of expertise

In order to manage hearing loss and prevent further damage, prompt diagnosis is necessary, but unfortunately, the average adult delays seeking medical help for hearing loss for five to seven years.

Delaying treatment

Delays in seeking treatment are mostly caused by an individual’s denial into how their loss of hearing is affecting their day to day life.

A common treatment for managing hearing loss is having a hearing aid fitted.  Many people are reluctant to acquire hearing aids because they feel embarrassed.  As hearing aids are visible to others, often people feel that they will be treated differently, so they continue to ‘soldier on’ and manage their life around their disability.

Fact: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) current production of hearing aids meets less than 10% of global needs

Support for the Hearing Impaired

Where can a person who struggles with hearing loss go for support?  There are many organisations available including:

•  Action on Hearing Loss
•  British Tinnitus Association
•  National Association of Deafened People

The first step to finding the right support for you is to talk to your health professional.

If you have suffered complete or partial hearing loss and you believe it was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation – for more information see our loss of hearing page.

If you wish to talk further about your situation contact us on 0845 345 4444 or fill in our contact form, and our friendly advisers will discuss your situation with you.

Cosmetic Surgery – The Price of Beauty

Youth and beauty.  Everyone aspires to hold onto these qualities for as long as possible, and the booming industry of cosmetic surgery has given many of us the chance to delay the passing of time and change aspects of our appearance.

The cosmetic surgery and procedures industry is forecasted to be worth £3.6 billion pounds by 2015 and there has been a recent surge in non-surgical procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers which can be carried out over a lunch-break.  However, a recent review commissioned by the Department of Health criticised the industry, stating that these practices were “almost entirely unregulated” whilst a new study found 13% of people who had had non-surgical procedures had allowed an unqualified person to perform the treatment.

The problems with cosmetic surgery

So what can go wrong with non-surgical cosmetic procedures?  Plenty, including:

• Allergic reactions

• Numbness (including Palsy)

• Lumps under the skin where injections have been placed which may need to be surgically removed

• Injections not being placed correctly, causing the medication to spread to adjacent tissues (this can cause dry eye, eyelid droop and crooked smiles)

• Nerve damage

Issues surrounding the risks of cosmetic surgery were highlighted last year when it was discovered that breast implants from PIP (Poly Implant Prothese) made from unauthorised silicone filler had twice the rupture rate of other implants.  Although the silicone was found not to be toxic or carcinogenic, a rupture can cause pain, inflammation and change the shape and feel of the breast. Around 300,000 women were affected in 65 countries.

Treatments such as Liposuction can result in severe complications if they are performed negligently including damage to internal organs and pulmonary embolisms. Even Rhinoplasty, which some people may consider to be a less invasive procedure, carries risks including; injury to the septum (the wall that separates your nostrils) and serious nasal blockages caused by swelling.

So what can a patient do to protect themselves from “cowboy” surgeons and negligent procedures?

It is important that anyone contemplating having a cosmetic procedure or cosmetic surgery consider the following:

Is the surgeon performing my procedure a member of The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)?

Members of this not-for-profit organisation based at the Royal College of Surgeons are required to undergo thorough background screening before they can join. They are fully trained Plastic Surgeons and receive ongoing training and instruction as part of their membership.  You can find out more at

Beware of clinics and practitioners using hard sell techniques.

A reputable Cosmetic Surgeon will consult with you, not sell to you.  They will take the time to fully inform you of the risks involved in the procedure and make sure you are comfortable with them.  Be aware of clinics offering free consultations and non-refundable deposits.  You have a right to change your mind right up until the time you go to sleep for the operation and a responsible surgeon is unlikely to demand to keep any payments made if you decide the treatment is not for you.  Trust your instincts, if it does not feel right it probably isn’t.

Think about what is driving your decision to have surgery.

If you have recently been through a divorce, a family member has died, or you have experienced some other type of trauma in your life it is not advisable to have a cosmetic procedure.  Take some time out to think about your decision and revisit the idea in six months time when you can evaluate the facts clearly.

Use the ‘Treatments You Can Trust (TYCT) Cosmetic Injectable Treatments’ website to find a properly trained practitioner for cosmetic procedures.

TYCT works in association with the Department of Health, Care Quality Commission and the Health Protection Agency as well as industry experts.  They have developed a set of best practice standards for injectable cosmetic procedures which practitioners have to comply with in order to become registered members.

Finally, despite the inference from magazines and celebrity culture that cosmetic surgery and procedures are as commonplace as getting a new hairstyle, remember, especially in the case of cosmetic surgery, that you are undertaking a risky procedure that can have long-term, unintended consequences.  You need to give the whole process careful thought and take your time before you commit yourself to anything that you may regret further down the line.

Mesothelioma Bill causes controversy

The government’s Mesothelioma Bill is currently (as of mid June) being discussed in Parliament. However, concerns have been raised that the new legislation will deny hundreds of people access to compensation for other asbestos-related diseases contracted in the workplace.

The Bill will create a payment scheme enabling people to receive compensation for developing Mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, if the victim’s employer or their insurance company can’t be traced. Up to 3,500 people are expected to benefit.

However, in its current form the Bill will only allow people diagnosed with Mesothelioma after 25 July 2012 to claim under the scheme. It makes no provision for people with other asbestos-related conditions such as asbestosis and pleural thickening, who could end up with no way of getting compensation.

A spokesperson for Injury Lawyers 4U, a national network of personal injury solicitors, commented: ‘If the Mesothelioma Bill is passed as it stands, this is very bad news for anyone diagnosed before the cut-off date, or who develops a different type of asbestos-related condition and then cannot trace their former employer.’

‘It’s a well-known fact that asbestos-related illnesses can take years to develop. In today’s economic climate, companies are selling up or going out of business every day. Our concern is that people who develop illnesses such as asbestosis in, say, five years time when their ex-workplace has disappeared, will be unable to claim compensation – potentially leaving them and their families in dire financial straits.’

Like many MPs and other personal injury firms, Injury Lawyers 4U believe the government must amend the Mesothelioma Bill so people who’ve developed an industrial disease through no fault of their own get the financial compensation they deserve and need.

If the Bill is passed, the new payment scheme could be launched in April 2014. So it’s important that anyone with a potential claim, and who may not be eligible for a payout under the proposed system, takes action now.

Asbestos-related claims are complex and other time limits do apply, such as the requirement that diagnosis took place within the last three years. So it’s essential to seek expert legal advice – and Injury Lawyers 4U are here to help. We work on a genuine ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so there’s nothing to lose by asking us to pursue your claim.

The legal team at Injury Lawyers 4U has wide experience of handling asbestos-related claims. Call today on 0845 345 4444 for honest, expert advice.

Investigation Reveals 762 Medical Blunders In Four Years

An investigation by the BBC has found that 762 ‘never events’ occurred in English hospitals between 2009 and 2012. A ‘never event’ is a mistake or act of negligence that’s classified by the Department of Health as so serious that it should never happen.

The total of 762 was broken down as follows:

  •  – 322 foreign objects left inside patients’ bodies after surgery
  •  – 214 operations carried out on the wrong body part
  •  – 73 feeding tubes inserted into patients’ lungs
  •  – 58 incorrect implants or prostheses fitted.

The NHS estimates that the chances of a ‘never event’ happening to a patient is around one in 20,000, so whilst rare, these blunders are still happening too often. Even more worryingly, a separate report has recently revealed that, in the last five years, almost 200 doctors have escaped referral to the GMC after making near-fatal errors.

Of course, the vast majority of medical professionals do a superb job, often under very difficult circumstances. However, mistakes do sometimes happen – whether as a result of lack of skill or competence, poor judgement or simple human error. And if you’ve suffered physical or emotional harm or loss because a doctor or nurse has failed in their duty of care, then you’re entitled to claim compensation on the grounds of medical negligence.

You don’t have to suffer a ‘never event’ to have a valid claim. There are all kinds of clinical and medical negligence claims, from cosmetic procedures that have gone wrong through to complications following a mishandled birth. Thankfully, many patients make a full recovery. But in some cases, lifelong physical or mental disability can result for the patient, or in the case of birth injuries, their child.

Injury Lawyers 4U will handle your medical negligence claim

Medical negligence claims can be complex and time-consuming, so you’ll need to seek expert advice and guidance. The specialist personal injury solicitors at InjuryLawyers4U have the knowledge and experience to assess your case and if your claim is valid, successfully prove that your injury or loss was caused by a failure in the duty of care owed by a medical professional or organisation.

We’ll guide you through every step of the claims process, getting you the compensation to which you’re entitled and helping you access the services and support you need to recover.

Injury Lawyers 4U are ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors, so there’s nothing to lose by asking us to help. Call us today on 0845 345 4444.

Brain-Damaged Boy Receives £7.3m Payout From NHS

A 13 year old boy has received £7.3 million in compensation from the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust after alleged medical negligence following heart surgery in 1999 led to permanent brain damage. Robbie Crane from Hertfordshire was awarded the money in an out-of-court settlement for a claim against Harefield Hospital in Middlesex. The NHS Trust denies liability.

The operation to correct a defect in Robbie’s heart was a success, but alleged negligent treatment afterwards led the child to sustain devastating brain damage. Robbie now has cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and other problems that require 24 hour care in specially-adapted accommodation. The £7.3 million compensation award means his parents and trustees can make sure he gets the care and support he needs to achieve the best possible quality of life as a child, and later as an adult.

Whilst Robbie’s case is one of permanent and lifelong disability, medical negligence cases can take many forms – from birth injuries and surgical errors, to cosmetic procedures and dental work that’s gone wrong. However, all cases have a common denominator: they’re caused by the negligence, mistakes or failure in the duty of care of one or more medical professionals.

If you’ve experienced medical negligence of any kind, you’re entitled to compensation, whether you escaped without serious harm, or suffered life-changing or even life-threatening consequences. Claiming for medical negligence isn’t about ‘getting your own back’ on the medical profession. It’s about compensating you for the physical and mental trauma you’ve undergone, and providing you with the financial means to access any extra support and care you need to recover or regain your quality of life.

What’s more, bringing poor practices to light will help prevent other people suffering from similar negligence in the future – so it’s vitally important to pursue your claim.

Medical negligence compensation claims can be lengthy and complex, so it’s important to choose the right law firm to handle your case. Injury Lawyers 4U are a national network of ‘no win, no fee’ personal injury lawyers with years of specialist experience in this area. Whatever the nature of your claim, we can offer the advice and support you need to receive all the compensation you deserve and get your life back on track.

Call us today on 0845 345 4444 or complete our short online form to request a call-back.