Workers’ Compensation for Hearing Loss
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise levels at work every year. Exposure to loud noises over time is not the only cause of hearing loss at work, though, as sudden accidents can also rob workers of the precious ability to hear.
If you are a worker anywhere in Pennsylvania whose job has led to hearing loss, you may qualify for worker’s compensation. In fact, OSHA estimates $242 million a year is awarded to workers around the country because of hearing loss disability. However, obtaining compensation in these situations is not automatic.
That is where the Pennsylvania attorneys of Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo come in. Our firm has handled workers’ comp claims across the state for more than 80 years, including a substantial number of hearing loss claims. We understand what it takes to present an effective case within our state’s workers’ compensation system, and we are passionate advocates for our injured clients.
While no amount of compensation can make up for the loss of one of your five senses, it can help you manage your life more effectively in a world without sound.
Hearing Loss Can Be Gradual Or Sudden
Work-related hearing loss is almost always caused by acoustic trauma. This type of inner ear damage can be caused by a one-time exposure to an extremely loud noise, such as a gunshot or explosion. However, hearing is more frequently diminished gradually over time by repeated exposure to loud sounds in the workplace.
The time it takes to diminish one’s hearing level, hearing range, or to cause nerve damage is not long. When work-related hearing loss occurs gradually, after prolonged exposure to certain types of noise, a worker may not even realize that his or her ability to hear normal levels of sound is impaired until symptoms become severe.
Types Of Hearing Loss
Each case of hearing loss, whether complete or partial, can be classified into one of three categories: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. You can usually pinpoint what caused your hearing loss based on the classification of your condition.
- Conductive hearing loss: Sound cannot reach the inner part of the ear and is usually caused by a disorder affecting the inner or outer part of the ear. A person suffering from conductive hearing loss may only hear sounds in a faint or distorted manner.
- Sensorineural hearing loss: Typically a result of damage to nerves in the inner ear. When these nerves are impaired, they are unable to carry their signals to the brain. People with this classification of hearing loss often complain of only being able to hear mumbles and are not actually able to understand what is being said. While age is usually the main cause of sensorineural hearing loss, negligence can be a contributing factor as well.
- Mixed hearing loss: This is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Want more detail? Please read this short Audiology Information Series by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
How Can I Tell If My Job Is Too Noisy?
Constant exposure to sounds of 85 decibels or more can damage hearing over time. As a result, the OSHA hearing conservation program requires employers to monitor noise exposure levels “in a way that accurately identifies employees exposed to noise at or above 85 decibels averaged over 8 working hours.”
An average power tool produces about 100 decibels of sound. 120 decibels may cause permanent hearing loss after only a few hours. A nearby nail gun can produce as much as 140 to 170 decibels and could cause damage immediately.
Consider your workplace. Do you ever have to shout above the noise to be heard? Is it difficult to understand what someone is saying in a normal voice when they are only two feet away? If so, your workplace noise levels require you to wear protective equipment. Without it, hearing loss can occur.
Contact Us For Help With A Hearing Loss Claim
Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo is an award-winning workers’ compensation firm with a long history of success in Pennsylvania. Our attorneys are dedicated to achieving success for you.
Of course, as much as we can say about ourselves, our clients say it better. We have received more than 150 positive reviews on Google from individuals we have represented.
When you’re ready, please email us or give us a call at 800-952-9640 to speak with an attorney about your potential hearing loss workers’ comp claim. You can also visit one of our 12 offices around Pennsylvania.