Hearing Loss – The Most Common Work Related Illness in the U.S.
Work related hearing loss is often overlooked and undetected by employees and employers. Many workers don’t even realize that work related hearing loss is a compensable injury under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has found that hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the United States, and is more prevalent than diabetes or cancer. Furthermore the CDC found that occupational hearing loss, primarily caused by high noise exposure, is the most common work-related illness in the U.S. Approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous occupational noise. The CDC found that the mining sector had the highest prevalence of workers with any hearing impairment followed by the construction and manufacturing sectors.
Work related hearing loss is a problem that should not be ignored by employers or employees. Steps must be taken to ensure a safe working environment with proper equipment and testing. If the proper steps are not taken, progressive hearing loss can lead to greater problems including severe pain, vertigo and depression.
Proving work related hearing loss can be complicated. A Claimant must be able to show that their hearing loss, if medically documented, is attributable to the work environment and not non-work related exposure. If you believe you may have work related hearing loss, it is important that you speak with an experienced workers compensation attorney.