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Compensation for hearing loss

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Apologies in advance for the long story.


My husbands job involves working abroad and he takes numerous long and short haul flights each year. In December 2010, whilst abroad, he picked up a virus which gave him flu like symptoms. On his return flight home he had difficulty clearing his ears and when he arrived home struggled to hear phone conversations but put it down to what he thought was a bad cold. The problems continued so in January he made an appointment with the doctor. Following numerous tests and an MRI scan he was told he had 75% hearing loss in his right ear. The doctor explained that due to the virus the pressure in the plane had caused irreparable damage to the nerve. At best his hearing would remain the same, but could decline further. At 46 he had to adapt to wearing a hearing aid which has not only affected his work, but his social life too as he now avoids noisy situations.


At a recent check up he was told he has had further hearing loss and eventually a hearing aid will be ineffective. He is concerned that he will no longer be able to do his job if this happens. My question is would he be entitled to claim anything. He has travel insurance paid for by his company but we don’t know if this would be covered or if, as the problem began 7 years ago, it is too late to do anything.

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I wondered if he could claim against the travel insurance for permanent disability which occurred while doing his job. He wouldn’t want to get involved in pursuing a claim with the airline or his employer, that’s why I posted the question on here as we really didn’t know.

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It’s his employers insurance that covers accident or illness while working abroad. It’s not the fact that he caught a virus but that, as a result of the virus, he now has a permanent disability.

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The key question is not if he suffered harm, which he clearly did, but whether that harm arose from the negligence of either the employer or the airline. I can't see that it did.


I doubt he has a claim on travel insurance either : I suspect they'd cover for illness in terms medical expenses incurred at the time, but not for hearing loss in these circumstances.


If he saw a doctor at the time of the initial event, who didn't check for sensory-neural hearing loss and thus missed treatment options, he might have had a claim against them (but is likely now out of time to do so now). If his sensory-neural hearing loss was only diagnosed on a much later doctor's visit, after the damage was done and too late to prevent damage with treatment (e.g. with steroids) , then again : no breach of duty of care.

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