Even though you knew you worked in a noisy environment, over the years, it seemed not to bother you as much. What you may not have realized right away is that the reason it doesn’t bother you much anymore is that you suffer from work-related hearing loss.
You may have dismissed the fact that you need to turn up the television more often and need to have people repeat what they say to you more often. Perhaps you went in for a routine checkup and your doctor noticed that you have trouble hearing him or her and ordered some tests.
You aren’t alone
Research shows that you are definitely not the only one who began losing his or her hearing due to your work environment. Below are some facts regarding this issue:
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that you are one of approximately 30 million workers exposed to noise levels in industries across the United States, most likely including many here in New York, that could result in hearing loss.
- The NIOSH also recommends that you not suffer continuous exposure of higher than 85 decibels over an eight-hour shift, but that may not happen or will not be enough to prevent your hearing loss.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 24% of the hearing loss suffered by people here in the United States occurs at work.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that somewhere around 20,000 people suffer from hearing loss due to their work environment every year. Many of those individuals’ condition is permanent.
As you can see, you are in good company. Even so, that may not offer you any comfort considering you will never regain your hearing. Your condition could limit your ability to work and will certainly interfere in your ability to live a normal life without medical intervention such as using a hearing aid.
Apply for workers’ compensation benefits
You do not have to be involved in an accident or other one-time event in order to apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Injuries that occur over time — such as your hearing loss — may also qualify you for these benefits, and you should not hesitate to take advantage of that fact. The problem with conditions that develop over time, however, is providing the required proof that it resulted from your work.
Attempting to receive the benefits you deserve under these circumstances could be problematic. Instead of going through the process alone, you could turn to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for assistance. Doing so could drastically increase your chances of receiving all of the benefits you deserve.