Most people take their hearing for granted. Like breathing, hearing is an automatic function that no one can simply turn off. It is when the sense of hearing begins to fade or disappears altogether that people truly understand how important it is to be able to hear. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hearing loss is America’s most common workplace injury, putting approximately 22 million workers annually at risk. Further, hearing loss does not appear on the Social Security Administration’s list of disabling conditions.
Since acquiring Social Security Disability benefits for injuries causing hearing loss is problematic, prevention is the best approach. However, proper training and awareness about the risk of work-related hearing loss may be underutilized. In response, organizations like the Department of Labor and the CDC are working to help employees and employers increase their awareness of work situations that may cause hearing loss.
Pennsylvania hosts several industries with high noise levels such as mining and construction, putting many of the state’s residents at risk. While high levels of noise can be a factor, others believe moderate noise is a worse problem because workers do not believe they need hearing protection. Additionally, workers may fail to utilize hearing protection in an unsupervised work environment. The cost of hearing preservation technologies may also be a factor for businesses and employers who cannot afford the expense.
Those who must work in industries that may impair hearing should always use protection. If gradual or sudden loss of hearing does occur and Social Security Disability benefits were denied, it may be beneficial to discuss filing an appeal with an attorney.
Source: Kaiser Health News, “Shhh! Americaâ??s Most Common Workplace Injury Is Hearing Loss,” Zhai Yun Tan, accessed Sep. 14, 2016