Hearing loss is a common work injury amongst adults in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24% of hearing problems amongst US workers are caused by occupational exposure. This could be due to noise or chemicals like carbon monoxide, trichloroethylene, or mercury. In addition, working in a noisy location for a while could lead to gradual hearing loss over a few years.
Sometimes, a worker could suffer hearing loss after an isolated accident like a chemical leak or explosion. In such cases, you might be wondering if you’re entitled to settlement and the amount of compensation you can claim for a work-related hearing loss. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Work Injury Rights will explain all you need to know in this article.
Industries With Hearing Loss Risks
Occupational hearing loss is a common work injury in almost every industry. However, it is even more common in industries where people work with heavy equipment and machinery. Some of the industries with the greatest risk of hearing loss include:
- Agriculture: With the modernization of farming for higher efficiency and productivity, equipment like tractors, harvesters, and more are available. This large equipment usually brings auditory health risks. Workers exposed to these loud, noisy equipment could develop hearing loss over time.
- Construction: Most construction workers are exposed to hazardous noise on the job daily. Due to this, it is common for them to suffer hearing damage. Being on a construction site is dangerous, with different noises coming from the nail guns, saws, jackhammers, and others.
- Manufacturing: Loud sounds from trucks and machinery usually causes hearing problems for manufacturing workers. Conveyor belts typically reach up to 95 decibels above the safe range of 70 decibels.
- Mining: This industry also records a high number of hearing loss among employees. Most mine workers suffer from a hearing problem due to hazardous noise. It is one of the riskiest industries regarding potential hearing loss.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are three main types of hearing damage; it usually depends on what causes your work injuries. They include:
- Sensorineural: This hearing loss occurs when something dangerous damages the nerves delivering sound signals to your brain. Common causes of this work injury include exposure to loud noises, side effects to medications, aging, auditory tumors resulting from cancer, or being close to a loud explosion.
- Conductive: This hearing loss occurs when something damages the structure in your ear that helps you hear. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include foreign objects to the ear, allergies, fluids building up in the ear, ruptured eardrums, impacted earwax, and more.
- Mixed: This type of hearing loss usually combines conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Some of the causes of this type of hearing loss include genetic disorders, infections, and head trauma.
Compensation You Can Claim for Work Injury Hearing Loss
Whether your hearing loss was because of a head injury, loud noises, or another reason, you can claim compensation for the injury. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) clearly fixes the maximum noise level in the workplace. Employers have to exercise precautions to protect employees when noise levels exceed OSHA standards. If you suffer hearing loss because your employer failed to follow this guideline, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. You’ll be able to get money for medical expenses and lost wages.
Process of Filing for Workers’ Comp for Hearing Loss
Filing a workers’ comp claim for a work injury can be pretty complicated, especially hearing loss claims. Unlike other workers’ compensation claims designed to help you recover fully from your work injury, hearing loss claims require providing you with long-term resources like hearing aids or cochlear implants to improve hearing.
Below are the proper steps to file a workers’ comp claim.
- Firstly, you have to inform your employer of your injury and ensure you do it as soon as possible in written form.
- Secondly, ensure you seek medical treatment. Your employer might want you to see an approved workers’ comp doctor for your work injury.
- Keep documentation of loud noises and exposure to chemicals at work to prove the injury is work-related.
- Get an attorney to represent you and protect your rights.
Protect Your Right to Workers’ Compensation
Many people suffer hearing loss and never actually connect the problem to their workplace. Some people recognize it as a work injury but never seek compensation. If you suffer from hearing loss in one or both ears due to chemicals or noise in the workplace, you may be eligible for comp benefits.
Contact the skilled attorneys at Work Injury Rights today to ensure you get fair compensation for your work-related hearing loss. Our expert workers’ compensation lawyers will represent you appropriately and protect your rights.