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What Causes Occupational Hearing Loss?

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What Causes Occupational Hearing Loss?

What Causes Occupational Hearing Loss?

By Jan Hoen

Hearing loss is a distressing experience that may leave you feeling unsure of what steps to take next. Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common injuries developed in the workplace. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 24% of hearing loss cases in the United States are related to occupational exposure. Hearing loss can range from mild to debilitating, and no matter the severity of your symptoms, it is often possible to obtain compensation with a Virginia workers comp attorney. 

Below, we explore a few of the most common causes of hearing loss among employees, as well as how we can help you seek your entitled benefits.  

Reasons Hearing Loss Happens at Work

Loud noises can quickly damage the ears, and some injuries cause permanent hearing loss. There are two main ways that workers may develop occupational-related hearing loss:

  • One-Time Exposure. This kind of hearing loss happens when you are exposed to sudden, extremely loud noises that cause immediate harm, such as an explosion. Even short exposure to intense sounds can cause long-term damage to your ears.
  • Repeated Exposure. If you’ve been working in a noisy workplace for years, you’ve likely developed gradual hearing loss. What begins as mild tinnitus can end up as partial deafness that impacts your quality of life. 

Common Occupational Hearing Hazards

Significant hearing loss can impact your ability to communicate, cause emotional stress, impact your productivity and increase other safety risks at work. There are several major causes of workplace hearing loss, including the following: 

  • Heavy Machinery. The majority of large machinery used in construction, waste management, processing plants and other work environments produce a significant level of noise. The machinery used to make and process various items are often loud, exposing workers who use these machines frequently to unhealthy levels of noise. Although many workplaces have their own guidelines, it’s crucial to make sure you have the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow the manufacturers’ guidelines as well. 
  • Pneumatic and impact Tools. Construction workers and other professionals that use noise-producing tools are at a higher risk for hearing injury. Drop hammers, high pressured air tools, riveters and other heavy impact tools can lead to significant hearing loss, especially if an employer doesn’t enforce necessary preventative measures. 
  • Consistent Ambient Noise. Employees who work in any environment with loud ambient noises are at risk of hearing loss. Workers at amusement parks, loud restaurants and other areas where employees use noisy equipment frequently can lead to hearing loss over time. 
  • Construction Work Areas. Construction workers face numerous dangers while on the job, including injuries to the ear. They use equipment that produces noises exceeding healthy levels daily, exposing them to workplace noise hazards via handheld tools and equipment. 

An Attorney Can Help You Seek Compensation

If you developed hearing loss due to your workplace environment, be proactive by calling a workers’ compensation lawyer at Hampton Injury Law to assist you in seeking compensation. Many employees are able to recover damages for their injury’s impact on their quality of life and productivity alongside our attorneys.

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