Hearing is a vital sense that we often take for granted — until it’s compromised. The risk of occupational hearing loss is a serious concern in many industries. Repeated exposure to loud noises from construction sites to factories can gradually impair hearing.
You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you’re struggling with hearing loss due to your work environment.
What is occupational hearing loss?
Occupational hearing loss occurs when an employee suffers from hearing impairment due to noise or toxic substances at work. It can result from long-term exposure to moderate noise or a single incident involving a very loud sound. Symptoms might include difficulty understanding speech, needing to turn up the volume on devices, or constant ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus.
Your rights under workers’ comp
California workers’ compensation law covers injuries and illnesses arising out of or during employment. This includes hearing loss caused by workplace conditions. Workers’ comp can provide medical benefits, assistive devices like hearing aids, and even compensation for permanent disability if applicable.
Filing a claim for hearing loss
To file a workers’ comp claim for hearing loss, you must report the condition to your employer as soon as possible. Seek medical attention and have your hearing assessed by a professional. A claim form (DWC-1) should be filled out and submitted to your employer. Remember that there are time limits for filing, so act quickly to ensure your employer receives your form as soon as possible.
What to expect after filing
After filing, you’ll likely undergo further evaluations to determine the extent of your hearing loss and its connection to your job. If your claim is accepted, you’ll receive benefits that cover medical expenses related to your hearing loss and may be entitled to additional compensation.
If your employer or insurer disputes your claim, you have the right to appeal the decision.
Workers’ comp is there to help you if you’re suffering from occupational hearing loss. But there’s no guarantee that your employer or insurer would approve your claim. For personalized advice and assistance with your claim, consider consulting with a legal professional.