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Does Hearing Loss Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?


Maryland’s workers’ compensation system provides benefits to anyone with an on-the-job injury. Hearing loss is a serious problem, affecting manufacturing and construction workers in large numbers, as well as anyone who works in a loud environment. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has passed noise standards to protect workers from excess noise. If you suffered hearing loss on the job, speak with our Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer about whether you can request benefits.

What is an Unhealthy Level of Noise?

According to OSHA, more than 20 million workers are exposed to dangerous noise levels at work. The most common causes are heavy machinery, drilling, and airplanes.

OSHA requires that employers implement a noise conservation program if noise exceeds an average of 85 decibels when averaged over an 8-hour day. When noise gets over this level, workers need to raise their voices to be heard by someone standing only three feet away.

Loud noise can lead to temporary hearing loss. But permanent loss is almost always the result of sustained high levels of noise over weeks and months. Once you suffer permanent loss, you cannot reverse the condition.

What Should Employers Do?

Employers should provide their workers with protection from noise exposure. Protection includes ear plugs and sound-dampening earmuffs, which should be provided at no cost. You should also be able to select your ear protector from suitable options.

An employer should also develop a monitoring program to test the level of noise at work, whenever they have reason to believe their work environment is noisy. Employers should also inform employees of the results of their monitoring.

Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Hearing loss is devastating. When a worker suffers permanent hearing loss, they are often unable to work anymore. Hearing loss affects communication and safety, which means many jobs are off-limits to someone with significant hearing loss. Many of those working in construction and manufacturing need to find different employment, which might pay much less.

Maryland workers’ compensation benefits are available to anyone suffering hearing loss on the job. Some workers unfortunately do not apply because they blame hearing loss on old age. Of course, many people do lose hearing as they age. But noise level at work could also contribute to your hearing problems. Never assume you don’t have a case.

Some ear protection is inadequate or defective in some way, which is why many people end up with hearing loss even though they wore ear plugs. Workers’ compensation benefits are no-fault, so you should qualify even if you didn’t wear the ear plugs properly. Talk with your lawyer about whether your employer provided protection.

Treatment options will depend on the level of hearing loss. Any treatment should be paid for by your employer. You might also qualify for wage loss benefits if you cannot work or can only work a lower-paying job.

Call Our Firm for Assistance

Our firm is eager to help anyone seeking workers’ compensation benefits, including those with hearing impairment due to work. Call our law firm today to speak with our Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer in a free consultation.


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