New York City Occupational Hearing Loss Lawyers
Workers’ Compensation for Occupational Hearing Loss
Next to sight, hearing is probably the most important sense a human being could possess. It is also one that is almost impossible to cure if damaged.
Hearing loss can happen as a result of exposure to loud noise in the workplace over time. This is known as occupational hearing damage or loss, and it is covered by workers’ compensation in New York. If you have suffered from occupational hearing loss, you could be entitled to benefits. We invite you to reach out to our workers’ compensation attorneys at Schotter Millican as soon as possible. We can inform you of your legal rights and options, but it is important that you act quickly. If too much time passes, you may lose your right to file a claim.
How Common Is Occupational Hearing Loss?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 22 million workers in the United States are exposed to dangerous noise levels at work, and an additional 10 million workers are exposed to harmful chemicals and substances that could result in hearing loss. The CDC also reports that approximately 24 percent of hearing problems in U.S. workers results from occupational exposure. Tinnitus, or a persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears, is one of the most common work-related hearing problems, affecting approximately 8 percent of the American workforce.
Lost or damaged hearing can affect almost every aspect of a person’s life. It could make it difficult to continue working at their current job, and it could make it difficult to find another job in the future. Hearing loss can also affect workers by making them prone to dangers that could be avoided with a regular ability to hear. For example, a worker with partial hearing loss could be struck by a falling object, whereas an individual with typical hearing would have been able to avoid the accident by heeding another’s warning or even by hearing the object as it fell. In this way, occupational hearing loss can lead to further workplace accidents, as well as accidents, injuries, and even fatalities occurring outside the workplace.
Which Types of Workers Are Most at Risk of Occupational Hearing Loss?
Any worker who is exposed to loud noises or harmful chemicals in the course of their employment is at risk of occupational hearing damage and/or loss. However, some types of industries pose a greater risk of occupational hearing loss to workers.
Statistically, the types of workers who are most at risk of occupational hearing loss include:
- Construction workers
- Industrial workers, such as miners, lumbermen, and factory workers
- Farmers and other agricultural workers
- Professional landscapers, gardeners, and yard maintenance workers
- Garbage truck drivers and waste collectors
- Paramedics, EMTs, ambulance drivers, and firefighters
- Pilots, flight crews, air traffic controllers, baggage handlers, and other airline workers
- Sports industry workers, such as athletes, announcers, and concessions workers
- Music industry professionals, including musicians, soundcheck engineers, and others
- Bouncers, bartenders, nightclub workers, and servers
Although these types of workers may face heightened risk, any worker can suffer from occupational hearing damage and loss. If you have tinnitus, hearing damage, or hearing loss related to your employment, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Get in touch with our New York City occupational hearing loss attorneys today to learn more.
What Protections Do Workers Have Against Occupational Hearing Damage?
While loud noises and hearing hazards may be run-of-the-mill in some industries or workplaces, it doesn’t mean that employees must continue working unprotected. There are many safety precautions one could take to avoid hearing damage.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends the following:
- Using quieter machines
- Opting for low-noise machines
- Isolating noise sources
- Modifying or replacing equipment
- Reducing sound exposure levels of machines
- Properly maintaining machines (lubricating, repairing, etc.)
- Limiting workers’ exposure to loud noises
- Providing workers with relief areas away from loud noises
- Ensuring workers remain a safe distance from machines (when possible)
- Using physical barriers between workers and noise sources
- Using adequate personal protective equipment (PPE)
Examples of effective PPE that can be used to reduce occupational exposure to excessive noise include earmuffs, earplugs, and other hearing protective devices.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Occupational Hearing Loss
Unfortunately, following proper safety standards and using PPE is not always effective in preventing occupational hearing damage or hearing loss. If your hearing was damaged due to exposure to loud, harmful noise in your workplace, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Every case is different, and the exact workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive depend on various factors specific to your case. That being said, it is important that you are aware of your rights and know what to reasonably expect.
In New York, eligible workers are entitled to the following workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical treatments, medication costs, and all other related expenses
- Replacement of lost wages, paid at a rate of 2/3 the workers’ average weekly wage
- Reimbursement for injury-related expenses, such as travel to medical appointments
If your hearing condition or loss prevents you from returning to your past employment, and your employer does not offer alternative work at a comparable rate, you could also be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits. These benefits can help offset some of the costs associated with job retraining and reentry into the workforce.
Handling Highly Complex Cases Throughout NYC
At Schotter Millican, we are proud to represent injured workers in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and communities throughout New York City. Our occupational hearing loss attorneys have a reputation for taking on some of the toughest and most complex workers’ compensation cases—and winning. Where other attorneys would push for the fastest settlement possible, regardless of the true value of the case, we are committed to taking the necessary time to maximize our clients’ recoveries.
Whether you need help filing your initial claim or appealing a denied claim, our team is ready to fight for you. We can even represent you if your employer has wrongfully terminated you or otherwise retaliated against you after you filed for workers’ compensation. Reach out to us today to learn more during a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
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