Employees may sustain occupational hearing loss, for which victims may be able to recover compensation in workers’ compensation cases. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that are more than 20,000 workplace hearing loss cases per year in the U.S., many of which involve permanent hearing loss.
Certain factors such as insufficient protective gear and regular exposure to dangerous noise levels can all result in occupational hearing loss. As a result, workers may be unable to effectively communicate with others and function as employees.
Talking to Employers About Occupational Hearing Loss
Many employees who suffer hearing loss in the workplace may be hesitant to speak with their employers about this type of injury. They may worry about the stigma that may be associated with the injury and how it might affect their relationship with other employees. Some may not want to acknowledge the injury and may not believe that they’re suffering from hearing loss. However, it’s always best to speak with employers about hearing loss.
One of the reasons employees should talk to an employer about hearing loss is that it helps prevent potential confusion about why an employee appears less responsive in the workplace or when talking over the phone. Workers with hearing loss also receive certain protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which employees can benefit from if they speak with employers about their hearing loss.
Discussing hearing loss with an employer can also lead to the process of making the workspace more conducive to individuals suffering from occupational hearing loss, along with other conditions. Other employees may also learn how to more effectively communicate with coworkers who have hearing loss.
How Hearing Loss Can Affect Workers Financially
There are certain financial losses that can come with occupational hearing loss. Adults suffering from hearing loss are often less educated, which can lead to reduced incomes and increased unemployment rates. Workers with untreated hearing loss may also see a decrease in income by as much as $30,000 per year, and they often make around 25 percent less than workers without hearing loss.
Is It Possible to File a Workers’ Comp Claim for Occupational Hearing Loss?
While it’s possible to file a workers’ comp claim for hearing loss sustained in the workplace, there are some things to keep in mind regarding these cases. Not every type of hearing loss will be covered by workers’ comp, such as early signs that many states’ laws won’t cover. The age of the employee and the hertz range of the hearing loss could also impact the ability to receive compensation.
Ultimately, employees may be able to receive benefits from the ADA and workers’ compensation for occupational hearing loss if they take the appropriate action.