Recovering Compensation for Occupational Hearing Loss
Whether it is at a construction site or bustling factory, workers may not realize that they are at risk for hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of the most common work injuries, affecting over 20 million workers. Workers in the construction and manufacturing industries are most at risk of suffering from the cumulative, hazardous effects of excessive and loud noise in their workplaces.
In 2016, the Labor Department promoted a program called Hear and Now to warn workers about the dangers of high-levels of noise in the workplace. While deemed helpful, the program does not account for outside noises that may compound hearing loss afflicted workers may experience. Many believe that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s standards regarding when employers provide sound protection gear to their staff is too low and causes injuries that could be prevented. Others say that employers fail to properly warn their workers, especially when noise levels are moderate. Workers who are exposed to noise for eight hours or more or above 85 decibels must be informed by employers of the hazards and receive periodic hearing tests and ear protection.
Evaluating Hearing Loss
Experiencing hearing loss and subsequently failing a hearing test may not be enough evidence for a worker to be qualified to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act states that to receive benefits, it must be established that the injury was work-related, and that the individual must suffer from binaural hearing damage of 10 percent or more. Workers who suspect hearing damage should schedule an appointment with an otolaryngologist (ENT) or audiologist to assess hearing loss. Pertinent criteria, such as if the injury resulted from work and at what percentage, will be determined. Using specific formulas, the physician will take audiometric tests that measure the range and sensitivity of the individual’s hearing, and issue reports with the results.
Hearing Loss Claims
Hearing loss claims differ from any other workers’ compensation claim in that the worker may be entitled to specific loss benefits, which are in addition to typical wage loss benefits. The statute of limitations to file a claim is typically three years from the date of initial exposure or the date of the last time the employee worked in a loud environment. If the claim is not filed within the designated period, the claimant may be denied benefits.
Three steps must be taken in filing a claim, which may require the assistance of a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer. A doctor must determine that the hearing loss is 10 percent or more and is binaural. Proof must be confirmed that the ear damage resulted from hazardous noise exposure. Then the doctor must offer a statement that the claimant’s hearing loss originated from exposure to excessive noise.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Recover Compensation for Workers With Occupational Hearing Loss
If you or a family member require workers’ compensation benefits to cover the costs of hearing loss, the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. will assist you in filing a successful claim. For more information about our services and a free case review, please call us at 888-PITT-LAW or contact us online. We are proud to help injured workers throughout Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.
Our team also provides skilled representation to those residing in and around Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.