Long term exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent tinnitus or hearing loss. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nearly 30 million people are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work every year. Loss of hearing in one ear or in both ears can occur when an employee is continually exposed to loud noise, such as loud machinery and tools. Loss of hearing can also occur when a worker is exposed to a singular event, such as an explosion. If you experience hearing loss while working in a noisy environment, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
In the United States, over 11% of the U.S. working population has hearing difficulty and roughly 24% of the hearing loss is caused by occupational exposures. Around 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise each year. Employees of mining, construction and manufacturing industries have the highest risk for hearing loss, particularly those engaged in highway, street and bridge construction.
Hearing loss is considered a scheduled member disability, meaning that your entitlement is based upon the body part injured. For loss of hearing in one ear, the maximum value is 50 weeks; for both ears 175 weeks. If your hearing loss is something less than a complete loss of hearing, then you are entitled to that percentage times the number of weeks.
Hearing loss and tinnitus (chronic ringing in the ears) can affect your job performance and your everyday life. If you believe that your hearing loss was caused by noise exposure at work, filing a Workers’ Compensation claim with your employer to get the benefits you are entitled to is the first step. It is also important to contact a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer to make sure you receive all of the benefits you deserve under Iowa law. Contact the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help.
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