Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

October Is National Protect Your Hearing Month—What Workers Need To Know

Construction Worker Wearing Protective Ear Plugs

An Ohio workers' comp attorney provides the details

With National Protect Your Hearing Month upon us, the legal team at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A. is raising awareness about work-related hearing loss and offering some helpful tips.

Hearing loss that's sustained on the job can have long-term consequences since once your ability to hear is gone, it's often irreversible. Losing your hearing at work can happen slowly over time or due to an acute accident. Regardless, hearing loss (whether it's in one ear or both) is a serious medical condition that affects over 20,000 U.S. workers every year. Loss of hearing due to workplace exposure also accounts for nearly 25% of all reported hearing loss in the United States.

If you suffered hearing loss in one or both of your ears while on the job, you have the right to seek workers' compensation benefits. The problem is it can be hard to navigate the system, sift through the paperwork, and get all the benefits you're entitled to. That's why after you report your injury to your supervisor, you should talk to a workers' comp lawyer in your area who can fight to get you the benefits you need and deserve.

How many employees suffer from hearing loss while on the job?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, occupational hearing loss is among the most common types of work-related injuries. Research suggests that an estimated 12% of workers in the U.S. have problems with their hearing, including 8% who suffer from tinnitus, which is characterized by a ringing in the ears. The data also shows that 4% of U.S. workers have both hearing loss and tinnitus.

Every year, roughly 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels while on the job while over 30 million workers are exposed to ototoxic (hazardous to the ear) chemicals.

Which professions cause hearing loss the most?

Any occupation that exposes an employee to loud noises and/or hazardous chemicals increases the risk of work-related hearing loss. The CDC defines noise as "hazardous" when it reaches at least 85 decibels, or if it's hard to hear or talk to someone who is within an arm's length away (about 3 feet, for reference).

Exposure to certain ototoxic chemicals can also cause damage to the ear and result in hearing loss, especially chemical solvents (styrene, toluene, trichloroethylene); lead, mercury, organic tin and other metals; asphyxiants (hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide); nitriles (acrylonitrile, 3-Butenenitrile); and antineoplastic agents along with other pharmaceuticals

Those who are most at risk include:

  • Factory Workers
  • Warehouse Workers
  • Construction Workers
  • Farmers
  • Maintenance Workers
  • Entertainment Workers
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / Ambulance Drivers
  • Airline Workers
  • Teachers
  • Entertainment Workers (e.g., someone who works in the music or sports industry)

Regardless of your occupation, if you think you're suffering from work-related hearing loss, it's critical that you seek immediate medical attention and take steps to protect your rights as an injured worker.

An attorney can make sure your needs are heard loud and clear

It doesn't matter if you lost your hearing over time or as the result of a single on-the-job accident. Under Ohio law, you can file a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to cover the cost of your medical bills, a portion of your lost wages, and your rehabilitation. This includes the cost of things like hearing aids, as well as batteries and service.

Depending on the severity of your hearing loss (e.g., whether it's a total loss of hearing/permanent hearing loss in one ear), your workers' comp claim may be significant. The last thing you need is for someone to question the severity of your hearing loss or argue that it wasn't sustained within the scope of your work. You also shouldn't have to stress over the confusing application process or worry about missing important deadlines.

At Hochman & Plunkett, our attorneys can take care of everything while you focus your energy on recovering and getting the support you need.

Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Ohio workers' compensation lawyer. We have offices located in Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield, and Troy.

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