Dangerous noise levels in the workplace could cause permanent damage to an employee’s hearing. As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, employees exposed to hazardous noise typically work in the construction, agricultural and extraction industries.
As described on the HealthyHearing.com website, the length of time spent working with constant noise on a daily basis may result in hearing loss. Permanent damage generally occurs from working in environments with sound levels above 85 decibels.
Some types of sounds that could exceed 85 decibels
Employees working with power tools or close to heavy construction vehicles may face harmful noise levels. Performing tasks with loud motorized power drills could expose a worker to about 90 decibels of noise. Over time, an individual may experience hearing loss.
High-pitched sounds from construction trucks and sirens could expose employees to 120-decibel sound levels. Even a one-time close-range exposure could cause permanent hearing loss. An affected employee may require medical treatment and audiogram tests.
Workers’ compensation benefits for treating hearing loss
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates employers pay more than $240 million each year for employees disabled with hearing loss. As reported by OHS Online, noise-induced hearing loss is the third-most-common chronic medical issue. The condition affects one in every four U.S. adults.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers work-related hearing loss. Employees experiencing symptoms of hearing impairments caused by on-the-job sound levels have a right to file for benefits. They may seek relief even if their employer provided protective earmuffs or other noise-reducing gear. Injured workers may file a workers’ comp claim to cover their medical treatment and associated hearing aids or devices.