Hearing Loss and Workers’ Compensation
Injured workers suffer permanent hearing loss for several reasons. Many suffer hearing loss from working in loud industrial plants and machinery. Other injuries come from prolonged exposure to noise. “Occupations such as baggage handlers, mechanics, and service technicians make up a substantial proportion of employment in this industry. These types of workers experience loud noises from aircraft and are thus susceptible to occupational hearing loss” Flight attendants and pilots often suffer from hearing loss as well. Some airlines will not allow flight attendants to wear hearing protection because they would not be able to hear passengers.
Utah law allows recovery for hearing loss from traumatic workplace accidents as well as hearing loss that occurs over an extended period of time. It is important that the hearing loss be measured at the right time. Hearing loss should be measured no sooner than six weeks after exposure to harmful industrial noise. Normally, an injured employee must report the hearing loss within 180 days that the employee first suffered their altered hearing and knew, or should have known, that the hearing loss was caused by their employment.
Injured workers are entitled to recovery for any permanent loss or reduction of their ability to hear. Hearing loss is determined by the percentage of hearing loss in each ear. Injured workers are entitled to an impairment rating of up to 35% for total hearing loss. It is also important to note that hearing loss may lead to an injured worker becoming permanently totally disabled.
It is important to know your rights when you become injured on the job. Talk to a lawyer if you are not receiving workers’ compensation benefits, do not understand how your workers’ compensation benefits are calculated, or if your benefits are not being timely paid.