Police hearing loss: £135m paid in compensation

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Police have paid out more than £135m to settle claims by former officers who said their hearing was damaged during the course of their duties.

Almost half that bill, more than £65m, was for legal fees.
Details of payments have been revealed by the PSNI in response to a Freedom of Information request by Belfast-based victims group Relatives for Justice.
Up to the end of November, compensation was paid to 8,641 former officers, with hundreds of other claims pending.

As the only routinely armed police force in the UK, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers had to undergo regular firearms training.
It has been established that since the late 1960s, police sources were aware of medical evidence that they had to provide sufficient ear protection for anyone involved in this kind of activity.
Firing ranges This is a legal principle referred to as the “date of knowledge”.
But the RUC did not provide “industry standard” ear protection for another three decades.

One former officer who received compensation spoke of his experience on firing ranges.
“Even when ear protection was introduced, it was sometimes of a very poor standard and there weren’t always enough sets of headphones to go around,” he said.
“If you were waiting for your turn on the range, it wasn’t uncommon to have to simply put your fingers in your ears when standing close to someone firing a gun.
“When we trained with the army, soldiers would shake their heads in amazement at our lack of proper equipment.”

More than 10,000 former RUC officers have lodged claims for damages, saying their hearing was damaged.
Enormous compensation The claims include officers who claim to have suffered hearing loss as a result of frequent radio use, while being transported in helicopters and while driving motorcycles.
However, the vast majority of claims are for damage caused during firearms training.
The figures involved in compensation are enormous.

In response to the Freedom of Information request from Relatives for Justice, the PSNI revealed that, up the end of November, the total amount paid out to settle cases was £135,357,689.
Of that total, £70,161,788 was damages paid to former officers, while £65,195,901 was for legal and court costs.
SDLP MLA Alban Maginness, a barrister and member of Stormont’s justice committee, said the legal costs were unacceptable and could have been greatly reduced.

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SDLP MLA Alban Maginness described the compensation figures as shocking
“I have raised this issue on a number of occasions,” he said.
“It is a shocking figure and the Policing Board and the Department of Justice have questions to answer about how this was allowed to happen.
‘Devastating’ “The police could have taken a much broader approach instead of contesting every case, when medical evidence had been provided stating that there had been hearing loss.

“That would have saved a substantial sum of money.”
Sinn F訮 MLA Pat Sheehan said the amount of money paid out to the former officers was unjustifiable.
“The amount of money, £135m, involved is extortionate. This is clearly unjustifiable and can not be stood over,” he said.
“These officers were well paid and this public money could have been used elsewhere.”
However, former detective superintendent Alan Mains, who received compensation for hearing loss while on duty, defended the pay-outs.

“Collectively speaking, it looks like a phenomenal sum. But it could have been dealt with a lot differently… if they had taken a broad common sense approach, instead of challenging medical evidence,” he said.
“The reason why we had to carry guns in the first place is pretty obvious – we were the only police service in all of the UK (to have to do so).”
Edwards and Company solicitors have settled claims for more than 3,000 officers, and another 500 are in the pipeline.

One of its senior partners said the affects of hearing loss could be devastating.
Dorcas Crawford cited the example of one client who suffered from a constant ringing sound in his ears, a condition known as tinnitus.
“His case was terribly severe, the worst I have heard of, so much so that when he went to see the hearing consultant, he asked him if he could possibly make him deaf because he would prefer to be deaf than to have to cope with the tinnitus,” she said.

“The sad fact, of course, is that the consultant couldn’t do that, and even if he was completely deaf he would still have the tinnitus, but it simply drove him insane.”
She also rejected any suggestion that former officers could make false claims.
“Hearing loss can be objectively measured,” she said.
Medical evidence “In every case settled by the Crown Solicitors Office, clients are tested and examined by two doctors, one acting for their solicitor and the other acting for the police, and medical reports are produced.

“Those medical reports then determine the extent of the compensation claim.”
While her company has benefited financially by representing officers with hearing loss claims, she agrees with Mr Maginness that the police could have significantly reduced the legal bill by accepting medical evidence instead of contesting every case.
“Virtually every single case, except for a tiny, tiny minority, are settled at door of court, so generally I really don’t see any reason why those could not have been settled once the medical evidence was on for both sides,” she said.

Mark Thompson’s organisation, Relatives for Justice, made the Freedom of Information request “I don’t for one minute suggest that the Crown simply pay out money where the case hasn’t been proven, but the case is proven at the earliest stage when they’ve got both medical reports.
“My estimate would be that they could have saved around half of that sum for legal costs by settling cases at an early stage.”
‘Unfair’ The group that sent the Freedom of Information request to the police described the sums of money involved as “appalling”.

Mark Thompson, director of Relatives for Justice, said it was unfair that so much has been spent paying the legal costs for former officers, at the same time as those taking action against the police and State were having their legal aid cut.
“We represent people who have been victims of the conflict and are trying to take action against the police and they are having their legal aid cut, and the lawyers that represent them have been condemned by some unionist politicians,” he said.

“But here we have the police spending tens of millions of pounds in damages to former police officers, and paying out tens of millions in legal costs and we don’t hear those politicians asking questions about it. That is simply unacceptable.”
In a statement, the PSNI said: “All hearing loss claims have to be thoroughly investigated.
“The chief constable is fully aware of his responsibility to the public purse and the strategy for handling hearing loss litigation has been kept under review by the Chief Constable’s lawyers and the Crown Solicitor’s Office with the aim of ensuring that claims are dealt with as economically as is possible given the technical aspects of the cases and the individual circumstances of each.”

The PSNI also said all legal costs were closely scrutinised and “have been challenged by the Chief Constable’s lawyers when appropriate”.

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Riveting, Nimble & Elegant Thriller ‘Grand Piano’ Starring Elijah Wood & John Cusack

headset. earphonesSo ladies and gentlemen, i have a different exceptional earpiece piece to read, i know, you don’t need to thank me each and every one, just click a social like to the short article to demonstrate your appreciation.

A welcome reminder that high-concept thrillers neednt rely on stupid coincidences and even stupider characters in order to succeed, Grand Piano turns the unlikeliest of scenarios into a riveting battle of wills. The story of a concert pianist whose comeback performance gets hijacked by a sniper with a secret agenda, director Eugenio Miras latest film breathlessly combines artistic anxiety and personal desperation, providing its character with a journey as intense emotionally as it is physically. In fact, probably the best Brian De Palma movie he never made, Grand Piano expands the boundaries of single-location, real-time mysteries like Phone Booth and Panic Room with a brilliantly simple concept and nimble, elegant style.

Elijah Wood plays Tom Selznick, a master-class pianist set to play in public for the first time in five years. Having famously choked during a performance of a piece by his late mentor, he is understandably nervous about his return to the stage. But shortly after he begins playing, he discovers that someone has marked up his sheet music with threats to murder him and his wife Emma (Kerry Bish) unless he performs flawlessly. Receiving an earpiece that allows his would-be puppetmaster (John Cusack) to communicate with him, he’s confronted with a challenge that has multiple repercussionsnamely, in delivering a performance that not only saves his career, but his very life.

As loath as I am to describe the music in the film as another character, the concerto written by Victor Reyes is absolutely essential, providing a (no pun intended) meticulously orchestrated through line that frames and enhances each new development in the story even as it serves as a ubiquitous reminder of Selznicks past failures. That it occasionally allows him to depart the stage mid-performance constitutes great planning on Miras part, but the fact that it provides a parallel line for Selznicks emotional state as he embarks on this unexpected rollercoaster is truly masterful. There are few modern examples of music being truly integrated into storytelling, certainly as well as this film does, and even without an appreciation for classical composition, theres much to admire about its use and effectiveness.

As the man behind the keys, Wood carries the film, finding a believable and compelling arc for a character whose default setting might in lesser hands be desperation. Selznicks paralyzing fears of choking a second time are echoed repeatedly in dialogue in opening scenes, first during a particularly contentious phone interview commemorating the performance, then from virtually everyone he encountershes not allowed to forget how grandly he flopped five years prior, even if he could manage to forgive himself. But through Wood, the character convincingly evolves over the course of the film, initially aiming for perfection out of fear, and then slowly building his confidence as he begins to devise a way to turn the tables on his unseen adversary.

Wood is an ideal casting choice for a role like thishandsome and obviously gifted, but overshadowed physically by the actress who plays his more-successful movie star wifeand he turns an otherwise self-contained journey into an opportunity for personal empowerment and professional redemption. Meanwhile, Cusack has less to do physically as the voice on the other end of Selznicks earpiece, but he nevertheless communicates a palpable sense of danger that his victim is right to take seriously. Together, they create a psychological duel worthy of the films theatrical pitch, cementing its intensity as the final, crucial notes of Selznicks performance rapidly approach.

Serving as more than a welcome contrast to the handheld, improvisational camerawork of too many other movies these days, Miras direction is a marvel of fluidity and poetry. The careful composition of each shot enhances the films melodramatic sweep without distracting from the story and performances; whether simply taking inspiration or outright stealing pages from (classic) De Palmas playbook, Mira distinguishes his film with a classical, muscular visual style that suits its high-society backdrop, and mirrors Selznicks mental scramble to focus on his performance and his potential murder at the same time.

Although hes occasionally distracted by expository or plot-lengthening devices such as the snipers accomplice and Selznick’s wifes obnoxiously self-involved friend, Mira makes a breakthrough here as a storyteller and visual stylist that should pay great dividends, regardless of whether or not he chooses to migrate from Spain to Hollywood. But regardless of his own future, Mira makes Selznicks comeback a remarkably immediate experience by dropping the audience into the middle of his implausible, heightened concept and then enabling them to identify with the characters anguish. Ultimately an expertly timed, painstakingly assembled and endlessly engaging game of cat and mouse, Grand Piano succeeds as a whole for the same reasons that Selznick doesnamely, because Mira brings all of its elements to work together in concert, and then executes them like a virtuoso.

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Cell Phones With Music-T-Mobile

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headphonesWith all the new makes and models of cell phones that are available today, you may be confused as to which model would best suit your needs. If you are interested in a model that will enable you to listen to music and your service provider is T-Mobile, there are several cell phones that you may want to check into.

One of these models is the Motorola KRZR that has a built-in music player that plays both MP3 and ACC formats. Its Bluetooth Wireless Technology supports Streaming Stereo Music as well as Streaming Headset. It has an expandable MicroSD memory port as well as a 128MB MicroSD memory card which T-Mobile includes. By adding software that you can purchase separately, you can synchronize your cell phone with your PC, enabling you to download your favorite music straight from your computer into the palm of your hand. An ear bud and a USB cable are included with the KRZR.

The T-Mobile Dash is another cell phone model that is offered by T-Mobile that allows you to listen to your favorite songs any where you go. This type has a MP3 player as well as WMA support. Playlists are also supported with this model. It contains Bluetooth Wireless Technology, Stereo Support, and Stereo Headset Support. It also has Streaming Multimedia Support that allows you to download onto a MS Windows Media Player 10 that plays both video and music files by using a CD-ROM with MS ActiveSync which is included. T-Mobile also includes a USB cable and an ear bud with this cell phone.

Another cell phone that has music capabilities that is offered by T-Mobile is the T-Mobile Wing. This device has Bluetooth Streaming Multimedia Support that enables you to download onto a Windows Media Player that supports MP3 playlists, WMA, Album Art, Shuffle, and DRM. It also has Bluetooth Headset support as well as a stereo headset that is included. You can synchronize this cell phone with your PC with a USB cable as well as CD-ROM Software, both of which are also included with this model.

The Nokia 5300 XpressMusic is also offered by T-Mobile. Bluetooth Streaming Music supports a MP3 player as well as a FM radio that gives you the ability to preset channels. As this radio uses a headset as an antenna, T-Mobile has included this item along with the phone. You can also use the headset normally thanks to Bluetooth Stereo Headset Support. PC synchronization is also possible with Nokia PC Suite Software which is available for free. This phone also comes with a 1GB memory card and a USB cable.

Another model of cell phone that has music capabilities is the Motorola RIZR Z3. This type has a built-in MP3 player that also supports AAC formats. Bluetooth Wireless Technology supports Streaming Stereo Sound as well as Stereo Headset. An ear bud is included with this model.

These are just a few of the many styles and models of cellular phones that are offered by T-Mobile. To look at its entire line, you can visit your local T-Mobile office or visit its numerous Web sites.

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Amplified Cordless Headphones – State Of The Art Technology

With a lot information around the net about radio accessory’s it is hard to find the best and most candid articles. here’s a piece from a reputable blog that i believe as factual, don’t quote me on it but please read and enjoy

It can be frustrating for people not to be able to enjoy the sense of hearing they once only took for granted. This could be a result of an accident or a more serious illness. Whatever the cause, it can be disheartening to deal with life having to lose something that used to be so basic. This kind of problem is usually heightened when the person uses the telephone which can distort sound or cause other electronic changes in the sound waves, making it even harder to sustain a conversation. If you’re in this boat, you can either choose to be problematic for life or you can manage the situation with a simple Clarity amplified cordless phone.

You don’t have to worry about looking strange when you wear them. This phone can be just as stylish as any cordless phone on the lot but it has the unusual capability of amplifying sound by up to 30 decibels – just enough to make your telephone conversations convenient. This kind of technology was made to allow those who have difficulty in hearing to adjust the volume level to fit their needs. Although it looks no different from any cordless phone you may have used before, it is definitely more powerful.

But power is not all there is to this phone. You will learn to appreciate and value its functionality and usefulness when you use it. Just like any other cordless phone you’ll find, you get to enjoy many other features such as an ergonomic housing that makes sure you get to use your phone and be comfortable with it, a caller ID and bright visual ringers which work great if you’re spending a lazy Friday evening immersed in your favorite author’s latest bestseller. With this kind of phone, you can avoid missing calls because it has visual ringers to allow the user to see incoming calls when the room that they are in has so much noise.

Clarity amplified cordless phones can be useful not only for people who have hearing problems but also for those who call them. When everything is smooth and well heard, it puts less stress on both ends of the line and people just enjoy the conversation more naturally. These phones are also great as gifts for family members who have hearing problems, particularly those who don’t like the thought of wearing hearing aids.

Amplified phones, also known as hearing impaired phones, are some of the most useful technologies invented in this century.

A Plantronics headset or Plantronics wireless headset are just two examples of these cutting edge technology. You can get them just by browsing online and finding a site you can trust.

The Benefits Of Using A Universal Wireless Earpiece

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With the technological advancements concerning devices that are used every day by the majority of the world’s population, the invention of a universal wireless earpiece has found a very welcomed place with many users. Not having to take a plethora of electrical cords and wires with you wherever you take your devices alone is enough to make using a wireless earpiece very inviting. Other benefits of using these earpieces include increased safety among drivers, the ability to multitask and low energy use.

In today’s world, using devices with wires (when you do not have to) is considered by some to be very archaic. A universal earpiece eliminates the need for a wired microphone and hearing device that attaches to your cell phone. These became very popular phone accessories as they allowed a hands-free approach to talking on a cell phone. By investing in a universal wireless earpiece, you can utilize the latest technology and enjoy the advantage of having both of your hands to do other things while talking.

In a lot of states, laws have been passed that make it illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving. But there are certain addendum to these laws that allow the use of wireless earpieces as your hands are freed, allowing you to keep them both on the steering wheel. Thus, safety is increased and your availability to be reached is left open while driving. Driving laws vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your local legislation before using any wireless earpiece while driving.

For those of you who remember having to stay in the same room that your telephone base was because of the handset being attached by a coiled cord, the benefit of being able to talk wirelessly probably seems tremendous. With most of us leading such busy lives, balancing a home, family and career is easily facilitated by wireless technology. Using a universal wireless earpiece in the home can come in handy when making dinner, tidying up or getting things organized for the next day.

Yet another benefit of a universal wireless earpiece is its adaptability to a wide range of cell phones and its low energy usage. The advantage of purchasing a universal device is its ability to recognize signals being output by different phones. More likely than not, you can buy a universal earpiece that will easily connect with the type of cell phone that you currently own. And with current technology, wireless earpieces are designed to use low amounts of energy, resulting in longer use of your mobile device.

Lifelong musicians ‘have better hearing’

earpieceThis article is posted by the strict permission of radio earpiece.co.uk, that is the original site. please get agreement from that website before reposting this piece of writing.

Playing a musical instrument throughout your life protects your hearing in old age, a Canadian study suggests.

The study, published in Psychology and Aging, carried out hearing tests on 74 adult musicians and 89 non-musicians.
It found a 70-year-old musician’s hearing was as good as that of a 50-year-old who did not play.
Action on Hearing Loss said all people – including musicians – should try to prevent hearing damage in the first place.

Hearing normally declines as people age. By 60, 10-30% of people have moderate hearing loss. By 80, that goes up to as many as 60%.
Problems are particularly seen in the central auditory processing system, which is associated with understanding speech, especially when there is background noise – often described as the “cocktail party problem”.
Earplugs Previous studies have shown musicians have better hearing than non-players.

But this research, by a team at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto, looked at adults of all ages – from 18 to 91 – to see how people were affected as they aged.
Continue reading the main story “Start Quote This advantage widened considerably for musicians as they got older when compared to similar-aged non-musicians”
End Quote Benjamin Zendel, Researcher They carried out hearing tests on 74 amateur and professional musicians (who had played since the age of 16, were still practising and had been given formal music lessons) and 89 non-musicians (who had never played an instrument).

Musicians were significantly better at picking out speech against noise.
The researchers suggest that lifelong musicianship mitigates age-related changes in the brain, probably due to musicians using their auditory systems at a high level on a regular basis.
Benjamin Zendel, who was part of the research team, said: “We found that being a musician may contribute to better hearing in old age by delaying some of the age-related changes in central auditory processing.

“This advantage widened considerably for musicians as they got older when compared to similar-aged non-musicians.”
The head of biomedical research at Action on Hearing Loss, Dr Ralph Holme, said: “Whilst this study suggests that musicians might be more able to cope with the consequences of hearing loss, it is far better to minimise damage in the first place by using appropriate ear protection.

“We have always campaigned for everyone who plays a musical instrument or listens to loud music to wear hearing protection, like earplugs, which minimises the risk of damaging your hearing permanently.”

What makes good sport earphone?

I do not know how you came here as you read it on social media, twitter, facebook, google +, stumble upon or anywhere else. But thank you for coming and I trust you take pleasure in reading this as much as I did.

Hello and welcome to a brand new series of advice to those headset questions. Ever wanted to know about something headphone, earpiece or receiver linked? Now is your chance. Due to the great amount of questions we are so often asked, we have dipped into our mailbox and chosen the nine most pertinent (and most frequently submitted) inquiries. Enjoy.
Oh, by the way, in case your inquiry isn’t here, then merely dispatch us an communication and come back in a few… you might find it featured in the later series. Cheers.

It is a insignificant disparity on our previous article, however its worth looking into it as a individual question.

Whereas, within a aforementioned title, we looked at what were the best headsets to purchase for sports and training, now we are shining an exploratory beam on what it can be that youre really looking for.

So, with this in mind, weve come up using the top five criteria that you must consider before getting your headphones for the gym, running or training of any kind. Here goes:

1) Staying Stagnant: It is pretty tricky to have a decent workout when you constantly have to adjust your headsets. Headsets that vibrate or slide are a continuing supply of annoyance if youre jogging or doing aerobic exercise of any kind. Headband style headphones and large cans are usually an incredibly poor selection for arduous movement, unless they are purposely made for it, so youre far better off with ear buds or some other type of inner ear phones when youre preparing on moving about.
2) Flawless Playback: Theres nothing more irritating than music that skips about akin to an 8-track tape player with Parkinsons and many headphones simply cant take the pace. Less expensive headsets wont have shock absorbers inbuilt and, as such, will fracture quite easily, causing the music to skip or fade in and out. Youre best bet would be to get a set with built-in shock absorbers.
3) Noise Reduction: Noise reduction headsets produce a small amount of white noise round the speaker that drowns out nearly all external noise. This is great for running past road works, sirens and arguments or ignoring the soulless techno crap they play at the sports center in a vain attempt to motivate one.
4) Sturdy Design: These earpieces are going to be moving about with you and they’re more likely to live quite a harsh life. In fact, speakers are very precise gear and little tiny ones much more so. You must ensure that whatever speakers you buy are well taken care of, a strong body and a robust outer casing are good, as is the thick rubber gummy design that is popular with athletes.
5) Sweat Proofing: When the Human body exerts itself, it sweats. Its a usual function and its in fact quite essential for retaining body temperature (even if it does not make you smell too interesting afterwards!). However, sweat, like some other fluid, can acutely injure some earphones. Look out for sweat proof models or those with a sweat guarantee so that you can really get the best out of the earphones. Keep in mind also to wash them regularly with a dry cotton bud, just to get the best possible functioning out of them.