Is Work-Related Hearing Damage Covered by Workers’ Comp in Florida?
Many people go to work and sit behind a desk in a relatively quiet office, but this scenario doesn’t describe every workers’ environment. There are many types of jobs where workers are exposed to constant noises that can affect hearing. For example, construction, factory and machinery workers are all vulnerable to hearing loss on the job due to loud noises in the work place.
While not every loud noise may affect hearing, some noises that exceed 90 decibels could be of concern, such as a one-time explosion or daily use of a bulldozer. Because hearing loss can affect someone’s job, relationships, and lifestyle, hearing damage due to a person’s work environment should be taken seriously. When an employee loses hearing in one or both ears, he or she might not be able to safely drive to work or hear correctly on the job. Sadly, hearing loss can affect a worker in so many ways.
Types of Hearing Loss
Employees who suffer hearing damage at work can collect workers’ comp benefits for the following:
- Monaural hearing loss. This type of hearing damage is the loss of hearing in one ear.
- Binaural hearing loss. This type of hearing damage is the loss of hearing in both ears.
- Tinnitus. This type of hearing damage is when there is ringing or buzzing in the ears.
- Conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss involves the reduction in sound because sound is not conducted efficiently from the outer ear canal to the eardrum.
- Sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing damage occurs when damage to the inner ear takes place.
- Mixed hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is when damage to the outer ear and inner ear occurs in combination.
Many employees who work in noisy environments are exposed to extremely loud noises every day – sometimes for eight hours a day. In fact, about 30 million people are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Unfortunately, when people are exposed to loud noises above 100 decibels for two hours a day or 90 decibels for eight hours a day, they can experience hearing loss or tinnitus.
Hearing Loss and Workers’ Compensation
When hearing loss is permanent or more than 10 percent in both ears, injured employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, getting compensation for hearing loss can be complicated. After submitting a workers’ comp claim, a workers’ comp adjuster will have the worker tested by an audiologist or otolaryngologist, in order to determine if an employee has suffered hearing loss.
Because workers’ comp adjusters aren’t looking out for an injured worker’s best interest, it is best for that employee to seek legal advice. An attorney can help you prove that your hearing damage was work-related and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Workers’ compensation benefits in Florida should even cover surgery and hearing aids after a work-related hearing impairment.
If you believe your hearing damage was the result of your work environment, you may have a workers’ comp claim. You can benefit from contacting a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your claim. For a free consultation contact the Law Offices of David Benenfeld at 866-9 HELP NOW or 866-943-5766 today.