Does Workers’ Comp Cover Hearing Loss?
Thousands of workers are exposed to loud noises every day; for some, the noise level of their job presents a real risk of long-term damage to the sensitive organs that allow hearing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 125,000 workers have suffered permanent hearing loss while working since 2004.
Loss of hearing can create serious physical and psychological stress while also potentially contributing to higher rates of workplace injury by making it hard to hear warning signals. Hearing loss affects both the professional and the personal aspects of a worker’s life.
Employers whose workplace noise exposure is equal to or greater than an hourly average of 85 dBA (an abbreviation for A-weighted sound levels, a scale that closely mimics the perception of loudness by the human ear) are required to implement a hearing conservation program to protect employees’ ears. This number jumps to 90 when talking about construction jobs.
Hearing conservation programs require:
Workplace noise sampling, including personal monitoring to determine which workers are most at risk of hearing loss;
Properly fitted hearing protection for workers;
Comprehensive training for employees on how to recognize noise hazards and how to properly utilize protective equipment;
Professional evaluations of worker hearing, including follow-ups to detect changes in baseline.
If you have lost or damaged your hearing as a result of workplace sound exposure, you could receive benefits through the workers’ compensation system.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC—Columbus Workers’ Comp Attorneys
Did You Know? Four million workers go to work each day in damaging noise. Ten million people in the U.S. have a noise-related hearing loss. Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year.