Hearing loss is a serious, life-changing injury and many workers do not realize that it is compensable under workers’ compensation. If you sustained a hearing loss injury while on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and should consult with a qualified South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer who can evaluate your case and assist you with filing a claim.
When an employer does not carefully monitor the workplace for decibel levels (dBa) that meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations or provide protective gear, hearing damage can be the result. According to OSHA, nearly 30 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels each year.
Hearing loss can happen over time when noise levels in the workplace are too high. It can also happen after an isolated incident of sudden and extreme noise, such as an explosion. Chemical exposure is another source of hearing loss as certain chemicals are toxic enough to damage the hearing of those working with or near them. A worker who suffers head trauma in a fall or another work accident may damage the auditory nerve and experience hearing loss.
Who is at Risk?
The OSHA limit for workplace noise exposure is 90 dBA for eight hours a day and two hours per day of any noise at 100 dBA. Manufacturing jobs often have high levels of noise that can damage hearing over time as can working around highly amplified music. Anyone who uses power tools or heavy machinery is also at risk. Employees who work with chemicals, including heavy metals, carbon monoxide, and organic solvents may experience chemically induced hearing loss. According to a 2016 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the highest incidence of hearing loss occurs in the mining, manufacturing, and construction industries.
Hearing Loss Injuries
The ear is a highly sensitive organ and susceptible to many types of hearing loss injuries. A worker can experience partial hearing loss or total deafness. Tinnitus is a condition where the sufferer hears ringing, buzzing, or other sounds when no external sound is present. It can be distracting enough to interfere with the ability to concentrate and work.
Filing a Claim for Hearing Loss
If your hearing loss occurred as a result of your work, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. You may be eligible for some or all of the following benefits:
- Medical benefits
- Wage loss benefits
- Temporary Disability benefits
- Permanent Partial Disability benefits
Benefits will be calculated on the hearing loss percentage and whether the hearing loss affected one or both ears. You should report your hearing loss injury immediately to your employer and see a medical professional for treatment. Consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure you are within the time limit to make a claim.
South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP Help Workers Who Suffer from Work-Related Hearing Loss
If you were injured at work, the South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP will fight to help you obtain the maximum compensation available for your case. Call us today at 856-761-3773 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we help injured workers throughout South Jersey, including the City of Camden.