Unfortunately, some jobs can put our hearing at risk, also known as occupational hearing loss. This hearing impairment is caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises in the workplace, affecting many workers across different industries. Workers’ compensation may cover your hearing loss injury if you experience 10 percent or more hearing loss.
Unlike sudden hearing loss, which can occur in an instant, occupational hearing loss often develops over an extended period, often years of exposure to high noise levels. Here are a few causes of occupational hearing loss:
- Noise exposure: The primary cause of occupational hearing loss is exposure to excessive noise levels in the workplace. Industries such as manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and aviation often involve machinery and equipment that produce loud sounds, contributing to the risk of hearing damage.
- Duration of exposure: The longer the exposure to loud noises, the higher the risk of developing occupational hearing loss. Even if the noise levels are not extremely high, prolonged exposure over weeks, months, or years can still lead to cumulative damage to the delicate structures of the inner ear.
- Type of noise: The nature of the noise can also impact the severity of occupational hearing loss. High-frequency sounds or sudden, impulsive noises can particularly damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear.
- Lack of hearing protection: Failure to use proper hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs, in noisy environments can significantly increase the risk of occupational hearing loss. Protective measures are crucial in minimizing the impact of loud noises on auditory health.
How to Prevent Occupational Hearing Loss?
Employers and employees must work together to help prevent occupational hearing loss, regardless of their industry. Here are a few ways to prevent occupational hearing loss:
- Use hearing protection: The most effective way to prevent occupational hearing loss is to use appropriate hearing protection. Earplugs and earmuffs are common types of protective gear that can significantly reduce the intensity of noise reaching the ears.
- Engineering controls: Employers should implement engineering controls to reduce noise levels in the workplace. This may include modifying machinery or using sound barriers to minimize the impact of loud noises.
- Regular hearing screenings: Implementing regular hearing screenings for employees can help detect signs of hearing loss early on. Early intervention can prevent further damage and allow individuals to take necessary precautions to protect their hearing.
- Education and training: Employers should provide comprehensive education and training programs on the risks of occupational hearing loss. This includes raising awareness about the importance of hearing protection, proper usage of protective gear, and the potential consequences of prolonged noise exposure.
- Workplace regulations and compliance: Adhering to workplace safety regulations and standards is crucial in preventing occupational hearing loss. Employers must comply with guidelines set by occupational health and safety authorities to create a safe and healthy work environment.
Occupational hearing loss is a severe and often preventable occupational hazard. It poses a significant risk to workers across various industries, impacting their quality of life and overall well-being. By understanding the causes and implementing proactive measures, employers and employees can work together to create a safer and healthier workplace.
Exton Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Advocate for Workers Suffering From Occupational Hearing Loss
If you suffer from hearing loss caused by noise at your workplace, contact our Exton workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC. Call us at 610-594-1600 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.