Hearing Loss in the Workplace
Hearing loss affects millions of people every year in the United States. Our firm has guided countless clients to successful settlements for hearing-related disabilities. We want you to be informed of the most common causes of hearing loss in the workplace, and how to protect yourself.
Hearing Loss Statistics in the United States
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 22 million Americans suffer from work-related hearing loss each year. This has made hearing loss the most common work-related injury in the nation. Furthermore, the United States Department of Labor estimates that more than $242 million is spent on workers’ compensation claims each year for hearing loss disabilities.
Industries That Put Workers at High Risk for Hearing Loss
There are some jobs that put employees at particularly high risk of hearing damage:
- Food service
Construction is one of the loudest industries in the country. Workers are constantly exposed to noise levels well above 85 decibels, which can result in complete hearing loss over time. Furthermore, hearing damage accounts for 1 in 9 of all recorded illnesses in the manufacturing industry. Those who work on airport tarmacs, as well as gun range marshals, are also at high risk for developing hearing loss due to loud sounds that are consistently above 140 decibels.
In addition, it is estimated that most clubs and nightlife hotspots have noise levels above 100 decibels. While a few hours of entertainment may not result in permanent hearing damage, performers, bartenders, musicians, and security personnel who work in these clubs night after night may suffer long-term hearing loss. The same is true for food service employees in noisy kitchens. Without adequate ear protection, employees are at high risk of losing some or all of their hearing.
Understanding OSHA Noise Level Standards
Under the laws set forth by the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers are responsible to provide necessary safety equipment and training to employees. According to current data, OSHA claims that daily exposure to 85 decibels or above may be dangerous, and that workers must wear ear protection at 90 decibels or higher. However, employers are not required to provide ear protection to workers in moderately noisy working environments, even though they still may suffer hearing damage.
Tips for Preventing Hearing Loss in Your Workplace
If you work in a loud environment, there are steps you can take to increase your safety and avoid hearing loss. This involves wearing the proper ear protection. Even if your employer is not legally required to provide hearing protection for you, it is still a good idea to buy some yourself. There are a variety of ear plugs, muffs, and other types of protection for you to choose from. Having quality ear protection that is suited to your specific needs will help keep you safe from hearing loss.
Knowledgeable Workers' Comp Attorneys in Atlanta
With more than 20 years of collective experience, The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC provides diligent representation to injured employees. If you have suffered hearing loss or other injuries at work, we will help you file a workers' compensation claim. Our Atlanta workers’ comp attorneys will fight on your behalf as you seek compensation for medical bills, disability, lost wages, and other injury-related expenses.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.