Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Hearing Loss
When people think of workplace injuries, hearing loss does not often come to mind. However, it is a common issue in many industries, particularly construction, agriculture, manufacturing, mining and oil/gas extraction.
Hearing loss occurs for two main reasons: loud noise and chemicals (such as solvents and nitriles). There are three types of hearing problems. Sensorineural problems are ones that cause damage to the nerves. They can be caused by loud noise, blasts/explosions, aging, auditory tumors and side effects of certain medications. Conductive hearing problems cause damage to middle ear and outer ear systems. They are caused by allergies and ruptured eardrums. They can also be caused by impacted earwax, fluid or foreign objects in the ears. Mixed hearing problems are a combination of both and can be caused by head trauma, infections and genes.
Tinnitus is also common in loud workplaces. Many musicians have developed tinnitus due to continuous exposure to loud sounds, such as concerts involving multiple instruments. It’s also important to know that your ears control your balance — more specifically, the vestibular system. Some hearing issues can lead to balance issues, dizziness and vertigo.
Getting Approved for Workers’ Compensation
Obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be complicated because it is not always easy to know the cause. When a person falls, for example, they suffer immediate injuries, such as broken bones and head trauma. That is not always the case with hearing loss, though. While a loud blast or head trauma can suddenly cause hearing loss, most often, it is not a one-time event. Hearing issues tend to develop over time, such as by working in construction, a factory or other loud area. In addition, if the employee has worked at multiple jobs over a period of several years, it can be hard to determine which employer is responsible. While you can file a claim with a previous employer, time limits do apply.
In any case, your first step should be to file a workers’ compensation claim. Once you are approved, you should then see a doctor and get the supplies and treatment you need, such as hearing aids. These should be covered under your claim.
Keep in mind that treatment is different for hearing problems than it is for other injuries. Broken bones heal. Back injuries get better. That is not the case with hearing loss. Your hearing won’t come back, so there is zero chance of improvement. Therefore, the goal is to increase your hearing levels with the tools available.
Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Hearing loss is a serious issue that can happen in loud workplaces. Chemicals can also cause damage to the ears and cause some degree of deafness.
If you suffered a hearing issue in the workplace, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer Michael Lawrence Varon can help you with the claims process so you can obtain the benefits you deserve. Schedule a free consultation by filling out the online form or calling (914) 228-1770.