In most cases, acoustic trauma is the primary cause of occupational hearing loss. Impaired hearing or permanent hearing loss may result from a single instance of exposure to an extremely loud noise, such as an explosion. More commonly, though, hearing is progressively weakened by regular and prolonged exposure to noisy work environments.
Noisy Workplaces Cause Permanent Hearing Loss For Washington Employees
Diminishment of hearing can sometimes occur in a very short period of time. However, work-related hearing loss generally occurs gradually, whether that damage involves loss in level, range, or even serious permanent nerve damage. In many cases, workers do not even realize that they’ve suffered an impaired ability to sense normal levels of sound until symptoms are relatively severe.
Determining if Your Workplace is Too Noisy
Many factors affect job-related inner ear damage, including loudness, pitch, the length of a worker’s exposure to noise, and patterns and frequency of using ear protection (such as headsets or ear plugs). Ongoing exposure to just 85 decibels of sound can impair hearing over time. The average power tool puts out about 100 decibels of sound; 120 decibels is sufficient to cause permanent hearing loss after just a few hours. Standing in proximity to an active nail gun can expose a worker to as much as 140 – 170 decibels – enough to cause instant inner ear damage. If there are times when you need to shout to be heard above the noise on a worksite, or must strain to understand someone standing nearby talking in a normal voice, your workplace noise levels may be causing hearing loss.
Common Warning Signs of Occupational Hearing Loss
Employees who are exposed to high levels of noise in the workplace should look for the following signs of potential hearing loss, and take measures to protect their ears:
- sounds becoming muffled or distorted
- diminished ability to hear high-pitched noises
- ringing or roaring sounds in one or both ears
- difficulty understanding others during conversation
Seattle Hearing Loss Attorney
Hearing loss can affect almost every aspect of your life. A worker whose hearing has become seriously impaired or who has suffered permanent hearing loss from exposure to loud noises at work or a sudden workplace injury may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. The Washington Workers Compensation attorneys at Emery Reddy handle a wide range of L&I claims and appeals involving work-related hearing loss. Call our firm today for a free consultation.
A Workers’ Compensation lawyer will help you recover:
- Current and ongoing medical costs
- Lost wages and lost potential income
- Damages for pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life from a permanent injury, disability or other factors
We understand that many families depend on the income of an injured worker, and our Workers’ Compensation lawyers are dedicated to winning the benefits and compensation you deserve. Our practice was founded on a commitment to advocating for workers’ rights, and we are proud of our record protecting the injured and disabled. Contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation on your hearing loss or workers’ compensation claim.