Can You Receive Worker’s Comp for Hearing Loss?
You can receive substantial compensation for a total, partial, or temporary loss of hearing caused by someone else’s actions or excessive noise levels at work, especially if your employer hasn’t followed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 22 million workers in the United States are exposed to unsafe noise levels on the job (roughly 9 million more are exposed to chemicals that can harm one’s hearing). When it comes to hearing loss claims and disability, an estimated $242 million in worker’s compensation is spent every year.1
According to OSHA, exposure to 100-decibel sound levels for more than two hours can cause hearing loss. It also states exposure to 90-decibel sound levels for more than eight hours a day is unsafe. Prolonged exposure to sounds over 85 decibels can be harmful over time.
Types of Hearing Loss
The types of hearing loss are determined by the type of damage that occurs or whether one or both ears are affected, which can impact the hearing loss compensation you receive.
- Conductive: A problem that affects the transmission of sound waves within the ear, affecting how the eardrum responds to sound in general.
- Sensorineural: Refers to damage affecting the central nerve, inner ear, or possibly areas of the brain responsible for processing sound.
- Monaural: Loss of hearing in one ear. Under the Defense Base Act, you will receive one year of compensation if you have 100% monaural hearing loss; if there is less, you’ll be compensated for a percentage of the year that corresponds to the amount of hearing loss, as determined by an audiogram.
- Binaural: Loss of hearing in both ears. You’re entitled to 200 weeks’ compensation for 100% binaural hearing loss; if less, you’ll be compensated for a percentage of that 200 weeks based on the level of hearing loss you experienced.
Jobs with Hearing Loss Risk
Jobs that carry a high risk for hearing loss include those in:
- Construction: The CDC says about 14% of construction workers have difficulty hearing, while 7% experience tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Loud noises can come from jackhammers, chain saws, forklifts, nail guns, and other common construction equipment.
- Mining: Four out of five miners have impaired hearing by their mid-60s, according to the CDC, while 76% of mine workers are exposed to unsafe sound levels.3 This is the highest of any major industry, raising the need for noise control for continuous mining machines, vibrating screens, roof bolting machinery, etc.
- Carpentry: Carpentry tools such as hammer drills, chain saws, impact wrenches, chop saws, miter saws, tile saws, and others emit high-decibel sounds that can adversely affect hearing over time and lead to permanent noise-induced hearing loss.
- Automotive: Hearing loss can be a problem especially for race car drivers and the staff at racing facilities, where 135-decibel noises are commonplace. Auto mechanics can experience hearing damage from the noise of power tools used in the shop.
- Manufacturing: The CDC has reported hearing difficulty in approximately 18% of manufacturing workers, with 11% suffering from tinnitus and 14% of tested workers having impairment in both ears. Nearly a quarter of workers in this segment report not using hearing protection.
- More: Airport and flight crews, military personnel, schoolteachers, farmers, entertainment venue employees, dental workers, and firefighters and other first responders are often exposed to loud noise that can cause hearing loss.
How To Claim Worker’s Comp For Hearing Loss
To file a worker’s comp claim for your hearing loss, you first need a diagnosis from an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor, or otolaryngologist. A physician can determine the cause of your hearing loss, such as a hole in the eardrum, damage to the middle ear, or a traumatic brain injury. The nature of your hearing loss and its cause can help determine an amount for your claim.
In order to file a claim, you must:
- Have sustained a hearing injury through an action you didn’t willingly agree to perform.
- Prove the person/entity that caused the injury had a duty to act in a reasonable manner and protect your safety.
- Prove the other party breached this duty, which directly resulted in your loss of hearing, and show that it resulted in financial harm.
Hire a Workers Compensation Lawyer in Los Angeles
If you’ve suffered hearing loss due to your job, a personal injury attorney can help you get fairly compensated. The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani, which has recovered tens of millions of dollars in damages for clients, provides strong legal representation in many types of cases, including hearing loss claims. We’ve represented clients in construction site accidents and who have faced many types of life-changing events and injuries. Call 888-952-2952 to receive a free consultation and get on the path to receiving the hearing loss compensation you deserve.
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