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Permanent Loss of Hearing

If you have suffered permanent loss of hearing due to your job, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Working in a loud environment can severely reduce your hearing as time goes on, and you deserve to be compensated fairly. Contact our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys today to get started on your injury claim.

Permanent Loss of Hearing | Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Occupational noise-induced hearing loss refers to permanent and irreversible loss or reduction in one’s ability to hear that is generally a result of continued and elongated exposure to loud noise in the workplace.  Over time, loud noise damages tiny hair cells in the inner ear that conduct sound waves into the patterns of sound we then hear.  While most cases of permanent work-related hearing loss are gradual in nature as a result of continuous and prolonged exposure to loud noises, some instances of permanent work-related hearing loss arise from single events such as loud blasts or explosions, or physical ear trauma.

Occupational noise is gauged in terms of decibels of sound.  A soft whisper weighs in at about 40 decibels, typical conversation emits 60 decibels, a freight train resonates at 80 decibels, a boiler room resounds at 90 decibels, a typical construction site emits 100 decibels, heavy equipment operations resonate at 120 decibels, and a jet engine produces 130 decibels during take-off.

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Permanent Loss of Hearing | OSHA Regulations

OSHA is the regulatory body that establishes rules and guidelines for the control of noise exposure in the workplace.  Per OSHA, the acceptable exposure limit to 90 decibels is 8 hours per day.  For every 5-decibel increase above 90 decibels an employee’s exposure period is halved.  For example, at 95 decibels an employee’s exposure should not exceed 4 hours; at 100 decibels an employee’s exposure should not exceed 2 hours; and at 105 decibels an employee’s exposure should not exceed 1 hour.

Permanent Loss of Hearing | Safety Measures

OSHA mandates that employers take safeguards to protect employees from hearing loss in the form of Hearing Conservation Programs that insist that employers accurately gauge noise levels on the job site, provide employees with free yearly hearing check-ups and distribute hearing protection and noise attenuating equipment such as earplugs and other hearing protection devices. Notwithstanding OSHA’s mandates, in actual practice very few employers notify employees of OSHA’s standards, nor do most maintain accurate job-site noise surveys, bother to monitor an individual’s noise exposure, or take the time to notify or inform employees of the permanent deleterious impact and destruction that the workplace noise will have on an employee’s hearing. Some of the most common occupations and positions where permanent noise-induced hearing loss occurs include factory workers, machinists, pipe fitters, airplane maintenance workers, heavy equipment operators, miners, truckers, boilermakers, and fire-fighters.

If you or a loved one suffered a workplace vision and hearing loss injury, contact experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer Jeffrey A. Young for a free consultation. Let his experience work for you.

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