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Understanding work-caused hearing loss and your rights

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

When discussing workplace accidents and workers’ compensation, most people think about obvious physical incidents, such as equipment malfunctions and falls. However, it is also possible for workers to be injured in other ways. 

Examples of this include hearing loss or tinnitus for workers in noisy environments.  

Causes of occupational hearing loss

Several issues may lead to hearing loss in the workplace. This includes:

  • Ongoing exposure to hazardous noise levels of 85 decibels or more
  • Exposure to ototoxic chemicals (examples include some pharmaceuticals, solvents, nitriles and others)

Hearing loss is more common than many realize. In fact, more people experience hearing impairment than cancer. The long-term consequences of hearing loss caused by on-the-job work conditions can be significant. Individuals with poor hearing may eventually have poor communication abilities and even suffer depression. They may be unable to hear sounds under a certain volume too, which can cause people to lose healthy years during their retirement. 

Potential compensation for hearing loss

If your hearing loss was caused on the job, you might be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. The benefits you are entitled to typically depend on the severity of your hearing loss. You may receive wage loss benefits if you can’t work due to your condition. Workers’ compensation benefits should also cover the costs of needed medical treatment, hearing assistance devices, and hearing aids. 

For many workers, work-related hearing loss is something that develops over time. While this is true, it is important to report the situation and seek medical treatment as soon as you detect a problem. Having documentation of your hearing loss and its potential cause will help you secure the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.