Occupational hearing loss is a serious matter in various industries that involve heavy equipment and machinery that produce continuous and excessive noise. With repeated exposure to these devices, employees can eventually suffer hearing loss. When this happens, these individuals can file a workers’ compensation claim.
If loud noises and continued exposure to high decibels at work caused you or a loved one to suffer hearing loss, you should contact a knowledgeable lawyer at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy for assistance with your claim. We can walk you through the steps of filing a claim and/or help you appeal a denial.
How Does My Job Affect My Hearing?
Loud noises on a consistent basis for an extended period of time can do permanent damage to your hearing. Anything above 80 decibels has the potential to permanently damage your inner ear if you hear this sound for a long period of time.
As a point of reference, here are the decibel levels for noises some workers hear consistently:
- 90 dB comes from a truck or motorcycle no more than five yards away
- 120 dB comes from a jackhammer approximately three feet away
- 130 dB is how loud an airplane is when about 100 feet away
If you workers in an industry where you have daily exposure to sounds of 80-plus decibels, you may be at risk for some amount of hearing loss or impairment.
Common Industries That Cause Hearing Loss Issues
There are certain industries whose workers are more prone to occupational hearing loss than others. These industries include:
- Carpentry jobs
- Automotive manufacturing, car testing and racing
Loud sounds are a serious issue in many manufacturing facilities. The decibels emitted from machines can reach as high as 130 for those with close-range exposure. These jobs can be seriously detrimental to your long-term hearing.
Employees who use cars on the job, or those who are involved in automotive manufacturing, testing and racing may be exposed to loud noise from the vehicles involved. Ground transportation workers at airlines could suffer hearing loss over time because of prolonged exposure to airplane engine noise.
Firefighters, police and emergency medical personnel such as EMTs are all around extremely loud sounds, either in the vehicle or near accident sites. The sounds coming from the vehicles are often damaging to the inner ear, and explosions, fires and damaged buildings can all cause additional hearing damage.
How Work-related Hearing Loss Happens
Hearing loss generally happens in three distinct situations that include the following:
- Prolonged exposure to extreme or overly loud sound
- An injury to the head such as with an auto accident
- Sudden exposure to significantly loud noise
Hearing loss can occur through an accident where the inner ear suffers damage. Normally, the hearing loss is a gradual problem because of work-related noise and prolonged exposure to sounds over months or years.
How To File A Workers’ Compensation Claim
Filing a workers’ compensation claim for an occupational disease starts with speaking to your supervisor and notifying him or her of the injury. Then, you will be prompted to visit a doctor or audiologist to diagnose your condition. Your supervisor has the obligation of filing your report, along with medical documentation to the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider.
Visit An Audiologist
An audiologist is a professional who specializes in hearing issues and disorders. This person will evaluate your symptoms and check your health history to discover what problems exist. With this knowledge and understanding, the professional will create a treatment regimen, if possible, and provide documentation about the hearing loss.
Contact A Compassionate Lawyer Today
Workers’ compensation claims are often difficult to navigate without help, and our legal team at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy will support you through this trying time. Our Cincinnati workers’ compensation lawyers will investigate the injury and review all documentation supporting your claim. If you received a denial letter, our legal professionals will assess the decision and accrue evidence to challenge the denial through an appeal. Our lawyers will collect the medical files and help you make a new appointment if necessary for a second opinion from another doctor.