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Facts about work-related hearing loss

It is safe to say that most California workers have a good understanding of how and why workplace injuries occur. For example, they know that falling from a ladder might result in significant injuries or even death. As such, they take precautions to enhance their safety when working on a ladder. Unfortunately, some workplace injuries can occur without the employee ever being aware of the danger.

Hearing loss, for example, often takes a slow and steady approach. By the time most workers notice that they cannot hear as well as they once could, it may be too late to reverse the damage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), occupational hearing loss is a common occurrence. Here are some other facts about hearing loss published by the CDC.

  • Industries such as construction and mining are especially hazardous to hearing
  • Nearly one-fourth of worker hearing problems occurred due to workplace exposure
  • Approximately 22 million workers suffer hazardous noise exposure each year
  • About 19% of American "noise-exposed" employees experience a hearing impairment affecting their daily lives
  • Exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace can also cause loss of hearing
  • Examples of chemicals hazardous to hearing include organic solvents and heavy metals
  • Exposure to asphyxiants like carbon monoxide can also impact the ability to hear

Invisible workplace injuries like hearing loss may affect your life for years or even forever. While you may file for workers' compensation to cover the treatment necessary for hearing loss, it is better to protect yourself instead. Speak with your employer about providing personal protective gear such as earplugs to help you avoid inner ear injuries and make certain to use any ear protection provided.

As always, if you have difficulty pursuing your right to workers' compensation benefits after hearing loss, consider asking an attorney for assistance.

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