Hearing Loss at Work and its Causes
No workplace is perfect. In some work environments, employees handle heavy machinery, putting themselves at risk of being injured on the job every day. In other workplaces, employees handle toxic materials, putting themselves at risk of becoming ill from contact with these materials. Some workplaces are inherently more dangerous than others. For example, you are at a much greater risk of injury working in a commercial kitchen than you are working in a retail store.
One often-overlooked workplace hazard is the decibel level of the workplace. In some work environments, such as manufacturing plants and construction sites where jackhammers are in place, workers are exposed to dangerously loud noises for prolonged periods of time. Noises above 85 decibels, which is approximately the volume of an idling bulldozer, can cause damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, which can cause a victim to suffer from hearing loss. If you have suffered from hearing damage at work, you could find yourself facing large medical bills to correct the issue and additional difficulties adjusting to life with a permanent disability. Consider seeking compensation for the costs associated with these issues through a workers’ compensation claim.
Types of Hearing Damage
Although hearing damage and loss are often associated with exposure to loud noises, it can also occur as the result of a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries can occur any time the head suffers a blow or an impact with a hard surface, injuring the brain.
Noise-induced hearing damage and loss is known as acoustic trauma. This can occur gradually and painlessly over time or suddenly, if the victim is exposed to an excessively loud noise such as a gunshot or an explosion. Acoustic trauma can be treated with medication or technical hearing assistance.
Protect your Hearing from Damage
By far, the best way to avoid suffering from hearing loss in your workplace is to take preventative measures to protect your hearing. These measures include:
- Using earmuffs or earplugs while working in a loud environment; and
- Using noise-absorbing material on the walls to lessen the decibel level heard in an area as well as the areas surrounding it.
If you are not sure whether your workplace is too loud, you can measure its decibel level with an electronic device or an app on your smart phone. If the decibel level in your workplace is above 85 decibels, it is too loud. If you cannot lower the decibel level in your workplace, take measures such as those above to protect your hearing and make it a point to step outside or into a quieter area of the workplace for regular breaks.
Work with a New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have suffered from hearing loss or any other type of permanent damage to a body part or system, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation coverage. Speak with an experienced New York workers’ compensation lawyer to determine the best way to proceed with your claim. To get started with our firm, contact The Robert A. Koenigsberg Law Office today to set up your initial legal consultation.