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Workers’ Compensation for Hearing Loss
Although work-related hearing loss can come on suddenly from an explosion or other extremely loud noise, it is more common for occupational hearing loss to develop slowly over time. While any occupation can experience a significant hearing loss if the circumstances are right, some of the most common occupations which may experience permanent hearing loss include construction workers, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, manufacturing and machine operators, military personnel, nightclub entertainers, and paramedics.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that nearly 40 million Americans experience some degree of hearing impairment due to exposure to dangerously loud noises, solvents, and metals.
Even a mild hearing loss can affect your quality of life and ability to perform your job duties safely and correctly. If you were not born with a hearing impairment but developed it on the job, you may be eligible for hearing loss workers compensation. At Terry Katz & Associates, our workers’ compensation lawyers have helped hundreds of individuals who have suffered hearing loss at work receive temporary or long-term benefits. If you’ve suffered work-related or occupational hearing loss, contact our firm today to learn your legal rights to compensation. Call 888-488-7459 or complete the contact form below to request a free lawyer consultation.
Compensation For Work-Related Hearing Loss in New York
Work-related and occupational hearing loss occur far more frequently than many people think, and while hearing loss is not always permanent, many workers mistakably think its symptoms are no big deal and will recover with time. Unfortunately, failing to receive immediate, proper treatment for work-related and occupational hearing loss can make the condition worse. If you are experiencing difficulty hearing due to job-related activity, it is important to schedule an appointment for a hearing test and treatment as soon as possible. A workers’ compensation attorney experienced in job-related hearing loss claims will help you obtain the medical evidence you need, such as proper testing from an audiologist to determine your degree of hearing loss, to secure the maximum payout for your loss.
In New York, the waiting period to file a job-related hearing loss claim “is three months from the date the worker leaves employment or is removed from exposure to harmful noise in the workplace.” A workers’ compensation hearing loss settlement will cover all medical costs associated with your traumatic or occupational hearing loss, including hearing aids if you need them, however, the insurance company representing your employer must approve your claim which must be submitted within the New York State’s statute of limitations.
The workers’ compensation system in New York offers benefits for two types of work-related hearing loss.
Traumatic Loss of Hearing
Traumatic hearing loss occurs due to exposure to a sudden and extremely loud noise such as an explosion, a strong blast or wind to the ear, or a blow to the head.
Occupational Hearing Loss
Occupational hearing loss occurs due to ongoing exposure to loud noises over an extended period of time. An example of occupational hearing loss could be a construction worker who develops hearing loss after several years of operating a specific piece of loud equipment.
How Can My Job Impact My Hearing?
Sound levels associated with heavy construction equipment often range from 80 to 120 dB(A) and power tools commonly used in construction produce sound levels up to 115 dB(A). With approximately 22 million workers in the United States exposed to hazardous occupational noise every year, hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the U.S. and is the most common work-related illness among American workers. Many occupations expose workers to dangerous sound levels on a daily basis. A recent study from the Center for Disease Control found that more than 1 in 5 workers within the mining, agriculture, utilities, transportation, manufacturing, and construction industries self-reported hearing trouble.
Audiologists and ENT specialists measure sounds in decibels. The higher the decibels, the louder the sound and the greater the risk of damaging or losing your hearing. To get a better idea of how this works, a motorcycle or truck that is five yards away from you emits a decibel level of 90. An airplane emits a 130-decibel level when it is 100 feet away.
Organizations dedicated to workplace safety, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), set limits for the level of noise a worker should be exposed to during their shift. OSHA selected 90 decibels for an eight-hour workday while NIOSH sets the limit at 85 decibels for the same time period. Employers are legally obligated to provide hearing protection to employees when the noise in their environment exceeds these thresholds.
Extended exposure to sounds louder than 85 dB can cause damage to your hearing.
Protection From Work-Related Hearing Loss
When working in a noisy environment, it is critical to wear proper hearing protection. Make sure that you know how to use them properly to avoid additional damage to your ears. Your employer should provide training when you start working for the company or when you transfer to a position that requires you to wear hearing protection. It is also a good idea to take frequent breaks from your noisy environment during the work day. Your ears and hearing are still at risk even when you are wearing earplugs. Additionally, work away from loud equipment whenever possible.
Sometimes you do everything right and still experience anything from mild to total hearing loss due to on-the-job noise exposure. If so, you are entitled to file for a workers’ compensation hearing loss settlement.
Contact A Workers’ Compensation Attorney Experienced In Hearing Loss Claims
The New York workers’ compensation system uses a “Schedule Loss of Use Award” that can become quite complex. Those who have job-related hearing loss may be awarded monetary benefits based on the percentage of hearing loss in each ear, as well as the duration and extent of their hearing disability. The system also puts a cap on how much you can receive and how long you can receive it.
At Terry Katz & Associates, our Long Island workers’ compensation attorneys have helped thousands of workers obtain maximum benefits following work-related injuries, including loss of hearing. If you’ve suffered hearing loss on-the-job, contact our firm today to discuss your rights to workers’ compensation. Call 888-488-7459 or complete the form below to request a free consultation with a skilled Long Island hearing loss lawyer today.