Work-related hearing loss can affect a worker’s ability to perform even basic tasks.
Missouri workers’ compensation offers medical and wage loss benefits to individuals injured at the workplace. The compensation covers all injuries and illnesses that arise in the course and scope of a person’s employment. There are many types of injuries that a person might suffer from while performing daily duties at the workplace. The injuries may occur suddenly or may develop over a period of time. One such type of workplace injury that may take months or even years to develop is hearing loss.
Occupations at Risk for Hearing Loss
A number of occupations, such as factory workers and fire fighters, are exposed to constant and high levels of noise and are at a high risk of developing hearing loss. Even though federal and state laws require employers to provide adequate protection to workers, many employers fail to adhere to the laws and expose their employees to noise-induced hearing loss. The failure of employers to provide inexpensive and simple hearing protection has resulted in hundreds of employees who have experienced hearing loss.
How Hearing Loss Affects Quality of Life
Exposure to loud noise that induces deafness or hearing loss in a worker affects the worker’s life in a number of ways. The hearing loss may affect the worker’s ability to do even basic tasks and may also affect the worker’s social interactions. A repetitive or traumatic exposure to noise as a part of the job may qualify the worker to Missouri workers’ compensation benefits.
In many cases, hearing loss commonly develops due to repeated exposure to noise over a period of time. The only way to determine if you have developed hearing loss is through a medical examination. Common symptoms of hearing loss are distorted or muffled sounds, difficulty comprehending basic conversation, and ear ringing or tinnitus.
Hearing Loss – An Occupational Illness
Missouri workers’ compensation law protects the rights of workers through a complex mix of regulations and statues that determine the benefits for workers experiencing hearing loss. Our Missouri workers’ compensation attorney explains that under law, a case of hearing loss is considered a case of an occupational illness. To safeguard his or her right to workers’ compensation benefits, the injured worker must report the injury to the employer in a timely manner. Under Missouri workers’ compensation law, hearing loss is defined as the loss of hearing in just one or both ears because of prolonged and repeated exposure to harmful noise at the workplace. Harmful noise causes occupational deafness. The statutory period of limitations in cases of hearing loss start only after the injured worker files the workers’ compensation claim with the division.
If the worker has quit the workplace where the noise exposure caused the hearing loss, the injured worker can file a workers’ compensation claim within six months of separation with that particular workplace. If you need to know more about your workers’ compensation claim, contact The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.