Hearing Loss & Workers’ Comp: What You Need to Know
Hearing loss can occur slowly over time, making it difficult for you to hear certain noises or in certain situations. It also can occur in an instant, with a trauma to the eardrum taking away your ability to hear.
In some cases, such as spending years working in a loud factory, this hearing loss can be a result of your working condition.
If this happens, many people wonder whether they can receive workers’ compensation for their hearing loss. The answer to this question is: It depends.
Here’s what you need to know about work-related hearing loss, and whether you can receive workers’ compensation benefits for your hearing loss:
Accident-Related Hearing Loss
In the event that your hearing was damaged as the result of an accident at work, such as a fall, a blow to the head, or even an explosion, you are likely to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Because your hearing loss is traceable to a traumatic event, it’s much easier for you to prove that the damage was directly related to the conditions of your working environment. How much compensation you receive and how significant your hearing loss is to qualify for benefits, however, depends greatly on the state where your case is located.
Progressive Hearing Loss
Most cases of work-related hearing loss are progressive, meaning they happen over a period of months or even years spent working in loud conditions that damage your hearing.
In these situations, it can be much more difficult to prove that your hearing loss is work-related, unless you can clearly document that your decline in hearing only happened after you began working at your job. Additionally, you may need to prove that the hearing loss you experienced was over and above what could be expected of someone who wasn’t subjected to the same loud conditions.
If you had prior hearing loss, you likely will be required to prove that your additional hearing loss was significant enough to warrant its connection to your working conditions and, as a result, merits compensation.
Unsafe Working Conditions
Part of proving that your hearing loss is work-related may require you to prove that the conditions under which you worked were unsafe.
This could mean proving that you experienced hearing loss despite wearing hearing protection or that you notified your supervisors of the unsafe noise levels.
Prior Hearing Loss
Having prior hearing loss does not mean you will automatically be disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation. Instead, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits if you can prove that your hearing problems were made worse by the conditions of your employment.
What Benefits to Expect for Hearing Loss
If you qualify for workers’ compensation for your hearing loss, you may be eligible for a variety of benefits, including:
- Lost wages for work missed as a result of your hearing loss
- Medical care, including testing and hearing aids
- A long-term stipend if your hearing loss is deemed severe enough
- Assistance finding a new job if you are unable to work your current job due to hearing loss
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine whether your hearing loss qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ Comp Attorney for Hearing Loss in Washington, DC
When you decide to pursue a workers’ compensation case for your hearing loss, you need a skilled, experienced attorney to guide you through the process. At Lopez Law, we have years of experience helping workers just like you get the compensation they deserve. Schedule a consultation today!