There are an estimated 16 million people who work in manufacturing around the United States, which represents 13 percent of the overall workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hearing loss is one of the most common types of occupational illness in the manufacturing sector. To qualify as occupational hearing loss, the loss must leave a worker disabled and it must have occurred while on the job.
However, it is believed that many more workers may suffer from hearing loss who have not yet become disabled. This means that there may be many cases of hearing loss while on the job that have not yet been recorded. To make matters slightly more complicated, many workers due not lose their hearing in a sudden manner. Instead, they lose their hearing gradually over time. In some cases, a worker may not realize that a hearing problem exists.
Most hearing loss occurs in the first 10 years of exposure to loud noise, which may make it even more important to educate new workers about the dangers of the problem. However, it may be possible to prevent or reduce hearing loss by sharing information about such an issue with workers. Employers may also attempt to partner with researchers to determine the true extent of hearing loss and steps that can be taken to keep workers safe.
Those who suffer hearing loss or any other disability while at work may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. A workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help workers obtain compensation to help take care of themselves and their families if an injury has an impact upon their ability to work.
Source National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, “Occupationally-Induced Hearing Loss “, accessed on Jan. 25, 2015