In some workplaces, hazardous noise levels are an unavoidable circumstance. In such workplaces, it’s vital for employers to provide proper protective hearing equipment and to train their employees in hearing loss prevention. Occupational hearing loss can almost always be prevented if the proper safety rules are strictly followed.
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Workers in the following occupations frequently require compensation for work-related hearing loss:
When Are Noise Levels Considered Hazardous?
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), noise levels over 85 decibels are considered hazardous and have the potential to cause damage.
For a frame of reference, here are some examples of noise levels which exceed this limit:
- 90 decibels – What you’d hear standing within 5 yards of a large truck
- 100 decibels – Noise level you’d experience at an average rock concert
- 120 decibels – Standing about 3 feet away from a jackhammer
- 130 decibels – Standing about 100 feet from a jet engine
As you can see, it’s not hard to exceed this noise level in everyday life. While being around a large truck or going to the occasional rock concert may not immediately damage your hearing, consistently being exposed to these levels during the course of the work-week can eventually cause serious impairment.
How Do I File A Workers’ Comp Claim For Hearing Loss?
After the 3-month waiting period has expired, you should meet with an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) who has been approved by New York’s Workers’ Compensation Board. During your appointment, you should be as detailed as possible in regards to your condition, your work environment, and your job duties.
The doctor will make an evaluation on whether you have hearing loss, if it’s work-related, and will fill out a form for you. This will act as your medical evidence when you file for workers’ comp.
What Benefits Are Available?
Like all other occupational injuries and illnesses, workers’ compensation will cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. For permanent hearing loss, you would also be given a schedule loss of use award – this provides additional compensation which is based on which body part is injured and the degree of impairment. This amount will vary depending on the extent of your hearing loss.
Will I Need A Lawyer To Help Me?
Applying for workers’ compensation is never as easy as it should be, and this is especially true for occupational diseases like hearing loss. Your employer and their insurance carrier are likely to argue that your condition is not related to your job duties. These insurance companies aren’t out to help injured workers, they’re out to maximize their own profits.
They’ll have their own skilled attorneys who specialize in denying claims for workers’ compensation. It’s only fair that you have your own experienced New York occupational hearing loss attorney to represent your interests.
At Banville Law, we know how the system works and we know how to respond to attempts at obstruction from insurance companies. Our attorneys have developed a strong reputation, which means that these companies are much more likely to approve your claim in a timely manner if we’re there to represent you.