According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hearing loss is the most common work-related injury. There are approximately 30 million workers exposed to hazardous levels of occupational noise, and an additional 9 million who could lose their hearing because of exposure to solvents or metals.
If a worker loses his hearing following years of working in an industrial environment, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli can assist you with your claim. Contact our Pennsylvania attorneys now to learn more.
Who is at Risk for Occupational Hearing Loss?
Workers in manufacturing, construction, and other industrial jobs are the most likely to suffer injuries due to hearing impairment. According to the Department of Labor, about $242 million is spent each year on hearing loss disability.
Still, employers might have to shoulder more of the responsibility to instill more education and awareness among their workers. Sometimes workers simply are not aware of the risks of noise, especially when they aren’t operating loud equipment. So they choose to not wear hearing protection.
But for general industry workers who are exposed to noise for at least 8 hours a day at or above a time-weighted average of eighty-five decibels, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide free hearing protectors, audiometric testing, and notification. They also must offer training programs for workers who would be affected by noise and potential hearing loss. For the construction industry, the limit is ninety decibels for an 8-hour exposure.
A worker could face the realization that they could lose their hearing permanently if their hearing condition or hearing loss is left untreated. Permanent hearing loss could mean that a worker is no longer able to continue on a career path in which they have trained for their entire life. It could also lead to costly specialized treatment for the rest of their life.
Loss of Hearing Can Be a Workers’ Compensation Claim
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act allows employees to receive benefits for hearing loss as a result of workplace noise exposure.
For you to receive work-related hearing loss benefits, you must have at least ten percent hearing loss in both ears. This also includes being evaluated by a hearing specialist physician so that you can find out the percentage of your hearing loss.
You must also be able to show that you have been exposed to hazardous noise while at work to qualify for hearing loss benefits. This can be a difficult thing to determine. You must prove that the noise at your job is severe enough to be considered hazardous under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Fellerman & Ciarimboli can help in this matter.