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Claim against BT for hearing loss

If you're a current or former BT engineer and have suffered hearing loss or deafness due to your working conditions, you could be entitled to make a BT hearing loss claim for compensation.

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BT Hearing Loss Claims

If you work or have worked as a telephone engineer for British Telecom (BT) and have suffered hearing damage as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. Many types of negligence can lead to a potential claim, such as the use of unsafe tone sets and a lack of protective hearing equipment. If your case is successful, you can receive damages for the pain and suffering caused by your condition and any related financial losses.

To find out if you have a valid BT hearing loss claim, call the freephone 0800 678 1410 or enter your details here to talk with an experienced solicitor. They will offer you a free case assessment and advise you on the best course of action.

What is the BT Group (BT)?

Formerly known as British Telecom (BT), the BT Group is a multinational telecommunications company headquartered in London. The company has a long history dating back to the establishment of the General Post Office in 1912. Nowadays, it is one of the largest telecommunications providers in the world and the largest in the UK. BT offers a wide range of services, including broadband, fixed-line and mobile communications.

The BT Group provides services to more than 30 million individuals and one million businesses, both private and public. The company has over 100,000 employees, of whom 82,700 are in the UK. As with any other employer, the BT Group has a legal duty to protect the health and safety of employees. These are detailed in the section below.

What duties does BT have towards employees?

The BT Group is subject to various UK legislation that aims to protect the health and safety of employees. Some laws that apply to BT’s duty to keep workers safe from hearing damage at work include:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This is the primary piece of legislation governing health and safety in the workplace. Under this Act, BT must provide a safe working environment, adequate training, and appropriate equipment to reduce the risk of hearing loss as far as reasonably practicable.
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This law requires employers to conduct risk assessments to identify workplace hazards that may cause hearing damage and take measures to mitigate these risks. They must also appoint competent people to manage health and safety measures and provide employees with relevant information, instruction, and training.
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). These apply to the use of work equipment, including machinery, tools, and appliances, in the workplace. Employers must ensure all equipment is safe, suitable for its intended use, and properly maintained. They must also provide training and instruction on the safe use of equipment.
  • The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. This law sets out legal requirements for employers, including BT, to protect employees from exposure to excessive noise levels that could lead to hearing damage.
  • The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. These regulations require BT to provide suitable hearing protection to employees exposed to high noise levels, such as ear defenders or earplugs. This should be a last resort when other measures cannot reduce noise exposure to safe levels.

BT hearing loss claims

What types of negligence could lead to BT deafness compensation?

If your employer fails to take reasonable measures to protect your health and safety, you may suffer permanent hearing damage. Some ways in which BT’s negligence could lead to hearing problems include:

  • Failure to assess and control noise levels in the workplace;
  • Failure to provide appropriate hearing protection devices, such as ear defenders or earplugs, to employees working in noisy environments;
  • Providing equipment that is not suitable or adequately maintained, such as faulty tone sets (oscillators and amplifiers used to detect faults on lines);
  • Lack of employee training and awareness regarding the risks of noise exposure and the importance of hearing protection;
  • Failure to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of hearing loss;
  • Failure to conduct hearing tests for employees exposed to noise or to follow up on employee reports of hearing-related concerns or symptoms.

If your hearing deteriorated due to your employer’s negligence, you may be eligible to make a BT hearing loss claim for compensation.

Can I make a BT hearing loss claim?

The most straightforward way to find out if you can claim for an industrial disease such as hearing loss is through a free consultation with a specialist solicitor. They will assess your case to determine whether:

  • Your employer has breached their duty of care towards you;
  • You suffered deafness or hearing loss within the past three years as a direct result of their negligence.

If your case has merit, your solicitor will be able to prove liability by referring to the legislation above and the evidence you can provide. They will also help you gather everything you need to start your claim and secure compensation for your losses.

What evidence do I need to support my personal injury claim against BT?

If you want to make a successful deafness compensation claim against BT, you will need proof to show that your hearing loss was a direct result of your employer’s negligence. You must also be able to prove the type and extent of your condition and how it has affected various aspects of your life. The kinds of evidence you could use include:

  • Medical evidence detailing your diagnosis, treatment plans and prognosis;
  • Expert testimony from an audiologist, otologist or other specialists who can assess your hearing loss and provide insights into its causes and effects;
  • Hearing test results, such as audiograms, indicating the extent and nature of your hearing loss;
  • Statements from colleagues, supervisors, or others who can attest to your exposure to loud noise in the workplace and any changes they observed in your hearing abilities;
  • Records of your employment history with British Telecom, including job descriptions, work schedules, and details of your exposure to noise and other hazards in the workplace;
  • Training materials, records of training inspections and other documents that can help determine if adequate measures were in place to prevent hearing loss and protect you from hazardous noise levels;
  • A detailed account of your experiences, including when you first noticed changes in your hearing and how your hearing loss has affected your daily life and work;
  • You must also keep records of any expenses related to your hearing loss, such as medical bills, costs of hearing aids or assistive devices, and lost wages due to your condition.

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss

The signs and symptoms of hearing loss can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Some common indicators include:

  • Difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments or when multiple people are speaking;
  • The need to turn up the volume on electronic devices, such as the television or radio, to hear adequately;
  • Asking others to repeat themselves frequently or misunderstanding conversations;
  • Feeling like sounds are muffled or unclear;
  • Struggling to hear consonants, which can make speech sound unclear or garbled;
  • Having trouble hearing high-pitched sounds, such as birds chirping or alarms;
  • Avoiding social situations or withdrawing from conversations due to difficulty hearing;
  • Feeling fatigued or stressed from straining to hear throughout the day;
  • Tinnitus, or ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in the ears, which may accompany hearing loss;
  • Family members or friends may also notice changes in your behaviour or communication habits.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, you should get a hearing evaluation by a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Early detection and intervention can help manage the condition effectively and improve quality of life.

What treatment options are available for loss of hearing?

The treatment options for hearing loss depend on the type, severity, and underlying cause of the condition and include:

  • Hearing aids (small electronic devices worn in or behind the ear that amplify sound and make it easier to hear) if the condition is due to damage to the inner ear;
  • Cochlear implants, which are surgically implanted devices that stimulate the auditory nerve directly, can be helpful for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss who do not benefit from hearing aids;
  • Assistive listening devices, such as FM systems, loop systems, and Bluetooth accessories, can improve hearing in specific situations, such as watching television, talking on the phone, or participating in group conversations;
  • Auditory training programs and therapies aim to improve speech understanding and communication skills by training the brain to interpret sounds more effectively.

Unfortunately, hearing loss is preventable but cannot be treated. If the damage you suffered was due to your employer’s negligence, an experienced solicitor could help you claim compensation for your pain and suffering.

Frequently asked questions

If you suffered noise induced hearing loss while working for British Telecom, you may want to claim compensation. Below, we have answered the most common questions related to BT hearing loss claims. For more information, do not hesitate to call 0800 678 1410 or request a free consultation with an experienced legal adviser by clicking here.

What is the time limit for making a BT hearing loss claim?

The time limit to claim BT deafness compensation is generally three years under the Limitation Act 1980. The limitation period begins either:

  • On the date of your injury, if you suffered an acute acoustic shock.
  • On the date your condition was diagnosed, if you suffered hearing damage over time due to constant exposure to dangerous levels of noise.

After three years, your claim will be statute-barred and no longer valid. Exceptions apply if the sufferer cannot handle legal proceedings due to a condition such as Alzheimer’s or having suffered a brain injury. In this case, a litigation friend could claim for them at any time. It is, however, better to seek legal advice as soon as possible, as this will make it easier to collect evidence and build a strong compensation claim.

Could I lose my job if I make a deafness claim against my employer?

You should not worry about losing your job if you make an honest noise induced hearing loss claim against BT. If your employer has breached their duty of care towards you, they cannot retaliate in any way if you exercise your legal right to claim compensation. You could potentially make a further claim under unfair dismissal laws if they sack, demote, or treat you differently because of your personal injury claim.

Can I still claim if I no longer work for British Telecom?

As hearing loss often develops slowly and gradually, you may no longer work as a BT engineer by the time you become aware of the damage. However, if you suffered hearing loss due to your job, you can still make a claim against British Telecom. What’s essential is to take action within three years after you become aware of your condition.

If your case has merit, your solicitor will inform your former employer of your intentions to claim industrial deafness compensation. They will have three months to investigate your case and admit or deny that you suffered hearing loss due to unsafe noise exposure in the workplace.

How much compensation could I claim against BT for hearing loss?

The amount of compensation you could receive for a personal injury compensation claim depends on the extent of hearing damage you suffered at your job. The settlement will reflect the pain and suffering you were caused (general damages), as well as related financial losses (special damages). Examples include mental anguish, inability to engage in certain activities, loss of enjoyment of life, reduced quality of life, hearing aids, private treatments and loss of earnings.

As you can see from our compensation calculator, you could receive up to £27,890 for moderate hearing loss and tinnitus, up to £42,730 for loss of hearing in one ear and between £85,170 and £102,890 for complete deafness. These figures are based on the latest recommendations for personal injury compensation provided by the Judicial College.

Can I claim compensation using a No Win No Fee solicitor?

If you have a valid claim for hearing loss, your solicitor will be happy to offer you a no win no fee* agreement. That means you do not have to pay them anything upfront for legal services or if your claim is unsuccessful. Your solicitor will only receive a success fee if they secure BT deafness compensation on your behalf. This fee is capped at 25% of your settlement and will be pre-agreed from the beginning.

Furthermore, you will have After the Event (ATE) insurance against the costs of litigation. If you lose, the ATE will cover all your expenses, ensuring you won’t have to pay a penny.

If you suffered hearing loss while working for BT and you want to make a deafness claim, please get in touch with us by calling 0800 678 1410. Alternatively, use our online claim form to receive a free case assessment with an experienced solicitor.

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*Personal injury claims are provided on a no win no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive a success fee of up to 25% of your compensation. If any additional costs could be payable, such as taking out legal protection insurance, these would be fully explained upfront by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply based on time spent on your case, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation, deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing. Please visit our guide to no win no fee claims page for further information.


Last edited on 17th Jul 2024

With over 15 years in the legal industry, Nicholas Tate has a wealth of knowledge and experience covering all types of personal injury and clinical negligence claims.