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Work-related hearing loss and workers’ compensation

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Illinois workers in certain professions are often subjected to continuous loud noises. Constant exposure to very loud noise on the job can lead to the development of hearing injuries. If you have suffered this type of injury, you may want to know how to file a workers’ compensation claim.

What can cause work-related hearing loss?

There are numerous factors that can lead to a person suffering hearing loss. Hearing loss that’s directly related to your job is often referred to as “occupational hearing loss.” Usually, this type of hearing injury is caused by continuous exposure to dangerously loud noises or exposure to certain types of chemicals that can damage the ears.

Different types of hearing loss can occur. Regardless of the type that you have suffered, if it was due to your job, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation. The following are the different types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive: Conductive hearing loss occurs when a person has suffered damage to their middle or outer ear.
  • Sensorineural: Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the delicate nerves inside the ear have suffered damage.
  • Mixed: Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the other two types of hearing loss. For example, a person can suffer from conductive hearing loss in one ear while the other ear has sensorineural hearing loss.

If you have suffered a work-related hearing injury caused by noise exposure, you probably have sensorineural hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss can develop when there is an injury such as head trauma that leads to damage to the ear but not the inner ear.

Another common type of hearing injury that people can suffer at work is tinnitus. Tinnitus is a sensation of ringing, buzzing, chirping, or some other type of sound in the ears that can be occasional or constant and temporary or permanent.

How can you qualify for workers’ compensation when you have hearing loss?

Hearing loss suffered on the job can sometimes be complex because pinpointing the cause of the injury is difficult. If the cause is obvious, such as a worker being exposed to very loud noises on a regular basis or an injury that led to trauma to the head and ear, it’s easier to prove. However, many injured workers file their workers’ compensation claims much later than the injury occurred.

If you have to file a workers’ comp claim, you will have to report your injury to your employer. You also need to have an evaluation performed by an audiologist. You will undergo a hearing test to determine the level of your hearing loss. Filing your claim before buying hearing aids can cover the expenses.

Not all hearing loss is profound. Even if your loss is milder, it can still impact your everyday life. If you need help filing for workers’ compensation, that help is available to you.