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Noise-induced hearing loss and workers’ compensation

Some people do not have a quiet desk job but rather work in an environment where there is ongoing noise.

Perhaps you have an equipment manufacturing job and in your line of work, noise is part of the daily routine. As a result, you have lost some hearing in both ears. Are you eligible for workers’ compensation?

A little background

The most common hearing loss, or presbycusis, happens as we age, but taking second place is occupationally related hearing loss. Though it is often underreported, occupational noise exposure is responsible for 16% of hearing impairment in adults. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, almost 30 million people each year contend with dangerously high noise levels while at work. OSHA has set sound level limits to employee noise exposure: 90dBA for 8 hours daily but only 2 hours at 100 dBA.

The question of prior hearing loss

If your work environment is consistently noisy, your employer may have asked you to take a hearing test before starting work. Let us say that you did so, and the test indicated that you already had a 20% hearing loss. Before you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you must demonstrate through further testing that your hearing loss has increased by at least 10%. You will still be eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation if your job is the cause of the increase in impairment.

Workers’ compensation eligibility

In terms of filing a claim for workers’ compensation, the statutes vary from state to state, although most recognize hearing loss as a work injury. If you are experiencing hearing loss and believe it is work-related, you may wish to seek guidance from a California workers’ compensation attorney. Some insurance companies may try to deny your claim or provide compensation for less than you deserve, but an experienced advocate will ensure that there are no missteps in the filing process and that you receive a fair settlement.

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