Hearing loss due to chronic noise exposure at work does qualify for workers’ compensation, but it’s a trickier injury to deal with than something acute like an injured limb. Claim approval and adequate compensation depend not only on your behavior at work and at home, but also whether you can prove your hearing used to be better.
Workplace Rules and Your Compliance
In most states, you must obey workplace rules regarding the use of hearing protection and the use of periodic audiometric evaluations to check your hearing. If you do not, your claim may be denied.
For example, if your workplace provided hearing protection and had rules in place about wearing the protection to prevent hearing loss, and you did not follow these rules, you will likely see your claim compromised or denied. If you had a chance to protect your hearing, and your employer tried to make you protect your hearing, your claim may be on shaky ground. However, all claims are different and all hope should not be lost.
Different Time Limits
You must also be very careful about when you file your claim. Normally, workers have up to a few weeks or a few months to report that injuries impacted their ability to work for more than a day or two. This requirement may or may not be different for hearing loss claims, depending on where you live. Therefore it is important to speak with an attorney as quickly as you can so that you do not run out of time in which to legally file a claim.
If you are facing a different situation, where you know that your hearing loss was caused by workplace factors, but you aren’t leaving or are finding it difficult to get transferred, you may also want to talk to a lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation.
Your habits at home, such as whether you listen to loud music, can also impact your case. It’s crucial that you remain careful about what you tell the audiologist you’ll have to see after you file your claim. Any prior hearing loss is a factor, too; you’ll have to meet certain guidelines about how much more hearing loss you have after the job in question.
Because hearing loss and workers’ compensation are not that straightforward, it would be better to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. If you neglect to follow the correct claim procedure, you risk losing. A lawyer can help you out.