The days of heavy industry continue to decline across the industrial heartlands of the western world. The dust and dirt that was once spewed out across the land has settled and the sounds of manufacturing are being replaced with the relative silence that emanates from modern production techniques.
The environmental damage left behind by the closure of those massive factories will in some cases take generations to reverse. The social damage left in the wake of much of that manufacturing demise will permeate and penetrate the lives of the communities that worked in and around them forever.
Families suffer the hardship and loss of dignity that are the gift of redundancy. The employers have their offices cleared for them and their closure bonuses paid into their deposit Silencil accounts. Job done they drive off in their luxury cars to the next project or to a long and happy retirement.
Whole communities are left behind to feel the pain after the closure of a major employer. The personal grief is harder to soften without the camaraderie of the workplace. Former colleagues are scattered across a town and are no longer able to support and help each other. With little money at their disposal social lives break down. Workplace social clubs that were once the hub of local entertainment are closed down too. Communication between former workers gradually weakens and their existence can so often and so easily end up a lonely one.
For many former employees of those dirty, sometimes dangerous and often noisy places of work there is another and unseen legacy gifted to them. In the silence of their new lives they become aware of a new companion. This companion though IS here to stay. This companion will be most unlikely to cast them aside. The parting gift from their former place of work is the sound of Tinnitus.
People who have spent most or perhaps all of their working lives surrounded by the incessant loud noises associated with factory production, especially those who worked before noise levels were controlled by legislation, often find their ears permanently ringing. Over the years many big industrial employers have continued to breach recognised safe noise levels in their factories. The result of this is that there is a generation of factory workers who are now left to live with noise induced hearing loss, and or, Tinnitus. Unquestionably this hearing loss or affliction with the sounds of Tinnitus has and will greatly impact on their quality of life.
Today there are routes by which those so affected can seek some amount of financial recompense. Seek is the important word here though. No one is going to knock on the door waving a fat cheque. There is the need for professional legal advice and proof that the symptoms actually exist and are directly related to the former working conditions.