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A woman has won compensation from her employers after she was partially deafened by working near food processing machinery.
Sheila Atkinson, 56, of Grimsby, is employed by Icelandic Food at their north-east England site and oversaw band saws, which cut fish up into small flakes so they could be made into fish fingers for large commercial clients including McDonalds.
But working next to crumb machines, frying vats and large freezers without being given ear protectors finally took its toll on the woman and she suffered partial hearing loss in one ear, according to the Grimsby Telegraph.
However, for a long time the 13-year Icelandic Food veteran said at first she thought the 20 per cent loss in hearing was caused by old age, but this wasn't the case.
At first the 56-year-old began to mis-hear the odd word but did not think much of it until five years ago, when her daughter kept asking why she was shouting all the time.
"I could not hear people at work. A friend would say something and I would say something completely different back at her. People found it funny but it can also be embarrassing. Trying to have a conversation in a pub was a waste of breath. On the phone I had to ask people to repeat things six times," Ms Atkinson commented.
A spokesperson for Icelandic Foods declined to comment when approached by the Grimsby Telegraph, but it has been confirmed Ms Atkinson was awarded a four figure lump sum.
The 56-year-old woman's lawyer commented her client will not have to wear a hearing aid many years earlier than expected and her quality of life has been impacted because of the lack of ear protector provision.
Ms Atkinson now hopes to be able to invest in better quality auditory enhancers with her compensation money and this will allow her to enjoy the sounds of her eight-month-old grandson Josh growing up.
By Francesca Witney
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