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People should take steps to preserve their hearing

Police officers expose themselves to extremely loud noises while on the job. Officers in Pennsylvania and around the country must take the necessary steps to preserve their hearing. Hearing loss often goes unnoticed until far later in life. It is very uncommon for young men and women to have hearing problems under the age of 50. Problems are typically not detected early as no normal hearing test exists in annual health physicals.

Once men and women begin to hear a high-pitched tone in their ears or a ringing, the initial loss of hearing has occurred. This is called tinnitus and is a result of damage over time to the hair cells of the inner ear. Exposure to loud noises, such as a gunshot, can cause permanent damage and result in this type of hearing problem and hearing loss. Some hearing loss is genetic, but more often than not it is a result of a workplace injury or an injury that has expanded over time due to multiple instances.

Employees at risk should document anytime that they may have experienced work place exposure to harmful noises that could cause hearing loss. Police officers could get tested regularly for their hearing and report if they have experienced damage. If they have a true workplace injury, worker's compensation benefits may be in order.

Workers who are injured on the job are entitled to worker's compensation benefits. These benefits indemnify the individual for any lost wages they have incurred as a result of the injury. Medical expenses as well as potential legal expenses can be covered as well. This is, of course, based on the injury truly being deemed workplace related.

Source: Police One, "Preserving hearing in a high-decibel profession", Tim Dees, November 25, 2013

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