AMMAN Valley coal miners could be in line for compensation for hearing loss – even if they had made a previous claim, according to leading Welsh law firm Hugh James Solicitors.

The law firm is inviting former miners living locally to attend one of their forthcoming free seminars taking place in Ammanford to advise them on possible claims and arrange for free hearing checks to take place.

Kevin McCarthy, a Senior Associate at Hugh James who specialises in workplace disease and illness, commented: “Many miners who would have worked for the Coal Board went on to work at private mines, and did not start to experience symptoms of hearing loss until well after leaving their work environment, so may not have connected this to their job. If they weren’t supplied with adequate hearing protection, then they could be entitled to compensation as this is negligence on the part of the employer.”

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is caused by being exposed to excessive noise over a period of time, which can cause long term damage to an individual’s hearing.

Workers who had to shout for their colleagues to hear them when they were only a couple of metres away from them are likely to have been working in an environment of more than 85 decibels – which at this level can cause permanent damage.

Many mining workers would have also been subjected to ‘Acoustic Shock’ – exposure to the sound of a loud blast from an explosion. This can cause just as much damage as prolonged noise.

Former miners may experience constant ringing or buzzing in the ear, or may struggle to hear the telephone ring, television or radio, and even what family or friends are saying to them when there is background noise.

Kevin continued: “Any miner or former miner who has been exposed to noisy work with British Coal, private mines or other noisy industries could make a further claim for damages. Their first claim was for the damage done before that time. These claims are for any further damage that may have been done.

“We have chosen to run the seminar in Ammanford as it is near to The Unity Mine in Aberpergwm or the Tower Colliery in Hirwaun, and anticipate many individuals may have been affected without knowing it.

The clinic will provide support and make people wanting to make a claim aware of their rights.”

Free to attend, the seminar is taking place at Betws RFC on Tuesday, July 15 from 2pm to 4pm. Hearing clinic to take place on the same day.