Collecting Workers Compensation for Hearing Loss & Deafness
Most people are surprised to learn that hearing loss is the most common work-related injury in the United States. And, unfortunately, many workers are often unaware that hearing loss is a work-related injury that is covered by Workers’ Compensation!
It is estimated that 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the United States. And 18% of these people have suffered hearing loss as a result, according to the National Institute for Occupational safety. Additionally, nine million American workers are exposed annually to chemicals in the workplace – called “ototoxic” substances – that may cause hearing loss.
Hearing loss from noise exposure is called Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). NIHL is defined as hearing loss resulting from continuous or intermittent noise exposure and duration. NIHL typically develops slowly over the course of many years. However, a one-time traumatic event in the workplace – such as an explosion – may also cause a hearing loss.
Who Can Get Workers Compensation for Hearing Loss?
When noise exposure causing deafness occurs in the workplace it is called Occupational Hearing Loss or “OHL”. Occupational Hearing Loss (or “deafness”) occurs across a wide number of industries.
Obviously, construction workers and manufacturing employees come to mind when one thinks of workers who are exposed to loud noise at work. And these employees are indeed among the most likely to have an increased risk of noise exposure – and are at the highest risk for OHL.
However many other types of workplace noise exposure can lead to hearing loss, including and law enforcement personnel (gunshot noise), teachers (student noise), airport workers (jet engine noise), and customer service employees (headset noise exposure).
In fact, any occupation in which the employee is exposed to a noise environment of 100 decibels or more increases the risk of hearing loss by 3.6 times.
CLICK HERE to Read Workers Compensation Hearing Loss FAQs
Most Common Workplace Causes of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a very common workplace injury, and various factors can contribute to its development. Industries like construction, manufacturing, and aviation often involve high noise levels. Prolonged exposure to loud sounds can damage the delicate structures in the inner ear, leading to hearing loss over time.
Conversely, workplace accidents involving explosions, heavy machinery, or other loud incidents can cause sudden, severe hearing damage.
Also, some chemicals, especially those found in industries like manufacturing and agriculture, can harm hearing when workers are exposed without proper protection. Additionally, employers are responsible for providing adequate hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs, in noisy work environments. Failure to do so can increase the risk of hearing loss.
How Do I Know if I Qualify for Workers Comp for My Deafness?
To collect Workers Comp in California for hearing loss in California, you must:
- Prove that you have a partial or total hearing loss; and
- Prove that the hearing loss was caused by the workplace (by noise, injury, chemicals, etc.)
Proving a hearing loss is done through a medical examination by an ENT physician (or other specialist) AND “Audiometric” testing to determine the amount of your hearing loss. Hearing loss for purposes of workers’ compensation cases is measured by a “pure-tone audiometer” and a percentage of hearing loss will be assigned to you.
While proving the hearing loss is fairly objective, proving that the hearing loss resulted from noise (or chemical) exposure in the workplace can be much more difficult. The Workers Comp Insurance adjusters will often blame your partial or total deafness on: your age; a prior trauma or pre-existing disease; use of prescription or recreational drugs; inherited conditions; hobbies such as playing rock music or hunting; or, even previous employers – that could have caused or contributed to your deafness.
Reasons Employers Deny Workers Comp Claims for Hearing Loss
Unfortunately, employers and their insurers may frequently try to deny workers’ compensation claims for hearing loss. Our experienced workers comp attorneys have often seen employers try to argue that the worker had a pre-existing hearing condition or that their hearing loss was unrelated to workplace exposures.
In other cases, the insurer may contest the severity of the hearing loss, arguing that it’s not severe enough to warrant compensation. Employers may also try to dispute workers comp claims for hearing loss by claiming there is insufficient medical documentation or evidence linking the hearing loss to workplace conditions.
Delayed reporting of the hearing loss to supervisors or superiors can also lead to claim denials, as prompt reporting is crucial in workers’ compensation cases.
Why Hire an Experienced Workers Compensation Attorney
Seeking the assistance of an experienced workers’ comp attorney can be crucial when pursuing a claim for hearing loss.
A knowledgeable worker’s compensation attorney understands the complexities of hearing loss claims, including the medical evidence required to establish a connection between workplace exposures and the condition.
A workers’ compensation attorney can also help you navigate the specific regulations governing your case. And when disputes arise or claims are denied, your workers comp attorney can aggressively negotiate with your employer’s insurance company to secure the compensation you deserve.
Additionally, if your hearing loss claim is denied, a workers compensation attorney can guide you through the appeals process, ensuring all necessary documentation and evidence are presented effectively.
Workers Compensation Attorneys for Hearing Loss & Deafness
If you applied for and were denied Workers Compensation for a partial or total hearing loss, it is important to contact a Workers Compensation attorney who is experienced in hearing loss cases immediately. Injured workers have a limited time to appeal a Workers Comp denial. And a Workers Comp attorney who is has experience with hearing loss cases will be able to help you present more or better documentation to help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
With our compassionate, skilled, and experienced workers compensation attorneys handling the legal aspects of your hearing loss claim, you can focus on your health and well-being, knowing that your case is in the best hands possible.
If you’ve suffered hearing loss due to workplace exposures, schedule a consultation with a Cantrell Green workers compensation attorney today. We can help you navigate the complexities of the workers compensation claims process, gather the necessary medical evidence and documentation, and advocate for your right to receive compensation for your work-related hearing loss.
Our Long Beach Workers Compensation attorneys have obtained millions of dollars for disabled, deaf and hearing impaired workers. We know how the California Workers Comp system works and how to obtain the maximum benefits for which you qualify.
Long Beach Workers Compensation Attorneys: 562-622-4800
CLICK HERE to Read Workers Compensation Hearing Loss FAQs