If you are experiencing some form of hearing loss, you're not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 million workers go to work each day in damaging noise. Additionally, 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise each year. The occupational hazards associated with hearing loss are very expensive.
About $242 million is spent in worker's compensation for hearing loss disability per year. For someone who is not aware of the dangerous effects of hazardous noise, they could become a victim of this epidemic -- feeling as if they have no recourse to get compensated for their injuries. For construction workers, the risks are even higher.
What does this mean?
As this issue continues to gain attention, strict regulations may become a necessity to protect workers. Employers will be tasked with educating their employees on protecting their hearing and noise exposure. There is an online database available from the CDC that encourages businesses to become cognizant of these issues and invest their time and money into machinery and tools that are quieter in nature to improve worker safety.
In 2007, 82% of cases associated with hearing loss were in the manufacturing industry. OSHA has set standards in place that require employers to provide free hearing protectors and testing for noise levels over 85 decibels if they have been working over eight hours a day. For workers in construction, their threshold is 90 decibels.
Workers who have been affected with job-related hearing loss should seek the advice of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.