Hearing impairments can occur because of a variety of issues, damage to the eardrum, blunt force trauma or exposure to toxic chemicals. In the 1980s, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) imposed new regulations for workers exposed to noise levels over 85 decibels. Unfortunately, despite these requirements, workers continue to be exposed to damaging noise at work each year. OSHA calculates that approximately 22 million workers are exposed to high level noise during an 8-hour workday.
In 2016, companies paid more than $1.5 million in penalties for failure to implement or enforce safety regulations to protect workers from hearing loss. It is estimated that $242 million is spent annually on worker’s compensation for hearing loss issues. Some of the warning signs that your workplace may be too noisy:
- Ringing in the ear;
- Having to shout over a coworker;
- Temporary hearing loss; and
- Humming in the ear.
Some of the things that employers can do to reduce the noise is to provide safety glass, a hood with sound absorbing materials and protection such as ear muffs and safety equipment. One of the methods that employers can test an employee’s hearing over time is audiometric testing. A licensed otolaryngologist, audiologist or physician can help administer the program.
Some of the damages that you may be entitled to if you have experienced hearing impairment include:
- Past medical expenses;
- Future medical expenses;
- Physical impairment;
- Pain and suffering;
- Lost wages; and
- Loss of earning capacity.
It is important to consult with a personal injury attorney that has experience handling these cases and can provide you with the best legal advice. Please call our law firm for a free consultation.