When you work in construction, manufacturing and mining, you work with heavy, loud machinery every day. One work-related injury you may not anticipate is suffering hearing loss because of your job. You also may not realize you have suffered workplace hearing loss because it most often occurs gradually over time.
How common workplace hearing loss is
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), about 22 million people are exposed to potentially hazardous noise levels at work. Those numbers are going down though because of employers’ improved efforts to provide workers with hearing protection.
However, wearing hearing protection in some industries (such as construction, farming and music and entertainment) hasn’t been common until recently and some workers choose not to use it because they feel it affects their job performance. So, it remains to be seen how much wearing hearing protection will impact workers’ compensation claims.
Signs of workplace hearing loss
Some of the signs you may have suffered hearing loss at work include the following:
- Hearing ringing or buzzing in your ears (tinnitus)
- Having muffled hearing
- Having ear pain or discharge
- Experiencing vertigo or dizziness (your inner ear helps you with balance)
Documenting your hearing loss
If you work in an industry where loud noise exposure is common, you should get your hearing checked yearly – to determine if you have hearing loss.
If you end up with significant hearing loss because of your job, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim. You may want to work with an attorney to ensure you receive the maximum compensation in this situation, where you will need to prove your hearing loss came as a result from your work and not other factors.