Many workers are exposed to loud noises throughout their time at work, and many do not realize what a serious issue this is for their health.
Loud noises can kill the nerve endings in the inner ear, which results in permanent hearing loss. Because of this risk, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets standards for employers to follow if there are prolonged noise exposures in the workplace.
When is a hearing conservation program required?
The hearing conservation program is required if the noise exposure is at or above an 85-decibel threshold when the noise levels are averaged out for an 8-hour period. Workers who are in this type of environment need to have earplugs or another form of ear protection.
A worker who suffers from hearing loss due to prolonged loud noise likely won’t ever be able to regain that hearing. Surgery and other methods usually won’t work. Because of this, protecting the hearing of all employees is critical.
Is work-related hearing loss always recognized quickly?
It’s possible that workers won’t know right away that their hearing is suffering. This can happen slowly so they don’t realize that they’re talking louder or that they’re having to turn the television up to hear it. By the time they recognize the hearing loss, it might be too late to correct it.
Unfortunately, some people who experience work-related hearing loss will need extensive medical care. They may not even be able to return to their jobs. Workers’ compensation benefits are there to provide the benefits they need — but only if they can access them. If a workers’ comp claim for hearing loss isn’t going as expected, it may be time to speak to an attorney.