The green and unmodified yellow tone sets have been proven to have caused hearing loss, deafness and tinnitus among staff who used them as a result of being exposed to excessive noise levels.
Many ex-BT engineers, now retired, who now have hearing problems, may have no idea that they could claim compensation because of a lack of awareness around the issue.
Although BT has admitted liability and already paid out millions of pounds in compensation, the company has now imposed a deadline of 31 December 2012 for all claims to be made.
Cardiff solicitors, NewLaw, specialises in industrial injuries, and has seen a rise in the number of enquiries from former BT engineers across the UK. In the last month alone, the firm has dealt with 54 potential cases against BT and is receiving new enquires daily.
Compensation for hearing loss ranges between £5,000 and £10,000 and can be higher if a person is particularly affected by tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears, or can claim for the cost of private hearing aids.
Almost £20,000 was made in the Cardiff County Court earlier this year, so far the only BT case to go to court.
NewLaw estimates the number of people affected could be in the tens of thousands, but a lack of awareness about the problem means many may miss out on claiming compensation.
Cenric Clement-Evans, solicitor at NewLaw, said: “BT deafened its engineers without telling them they were being exposed to high noise levels. This new, arbitrary deadline just adds insult to the original injury and it’s unfair that many people have suffered from hearing loss as a result of using equipment that did not comply with legal regulations.”
NewLaw is currently representing 62-year-old John Davies from Newcastle who worked for BT for 19 years.
He said: “I was having problems hearing voices on the TV and kept missing bits of conversations. I just put it down to age. Then I heard about NewLaw on the radio. I had never heard about BT deafness before. None of my friends who used to work for BT had heard of it either.
“NewLaw has arranged for a medical expert to see me and I am waiting for the results. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get some kind of compensation for the difficulties I’ve suffered because of BT.
“My hearing difficulties have caused me huge problems socially. When I go out, if it’s crowded and there is a lot of background noise, I miss bits of the conversation because I find it hard to distinguish between the voices. I find myself laughing out of politeness, not because I know what’s been said.
“Most of my friends who worked for BT have passed away, but there must be thousands more who have hearing problems like me and don’t realise that they might be able to get compensation.”
NewLaw offers a no-win no-fee service to former and current BT engineers who used tone sets or were exposed to excessive noise while working for British Telecom and have suffered hearing loss or tinnitus as a result.
For more information, visit www.telecom-