Determining occupational hearing loss risk

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2016 | Workplace Injuries

In January 2016, a NIOSH study regarding occupational health hazards was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. It found that nearly 22 million workers were impacted by hearing loss, and workers most at risk were in the agricultural, fishing and hunting industries. Other industries where workers in Pennsylvania and around the country may be at a higher risk for hearing loss or tinnitus were included the forestry and manufacturing sectors.

The study also concluded that individuals who worked in sales or similar lines of work had a much lower risk of hearing problems. Of those who had never been exposed to noise while working, 7 percent had trouble hearing while 5 percent had tinnitus. Among those who had been exposed to noise while at work, 23 had trouble hearing while 15 percent had tinnitus. Nine percent of exposed workers had both conditions at the same time.

The director of NIOSH made a statement saying that hearing loss could have profound impacts on a worker’s well-being. Understanding which industries have the highest prevalence of hearing loss or other hearing issues makes it possible to take corrective action. These actions may make it possible to reduce the amount of both occupational noise exposure and environmental noise exposure that a worker experiences.

While workers’ compensation is normally thought of as being connected with on-the-job injuries, it is also designed to cover occupational illnesses as well. However, the evidence that a workplace environment was the cause of a disease is often more difficult to compile than when an injury takes place. Accordingly, workers who find themselves in this type of a position may want to have the assistance of an attorney when preparing and filing a claim for benefits.