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Occupational disease: Excessive noise can cause hearing loss

New York workers who are exposed to high levels of noise in their places of work may be shocked to learn that almost 125,000 workers nationwide have to cope with permanent hearing loss that is work-related. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is based on statistics recorded since 2004. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says although this occupational disease is preventable, it continues to cause significant concern.

Under OSHA regulations, employers must provide workers who are exposed to excessive noise levels with properly selected, fitted and maintained devices to protect their hearing. In addition to teaching workers the correct way to use the devices, job sites with noise levels above a prescribed level must have an effective hearing conservation program in place. It was reported that a sudden noise, such as an explosion, can cause temporary hearing loss or ringing in the ears, while continued noise can cause permanent damage or complete hearing loss.

Certain industries pose a greater danger than others. It is said that the noise level of industrial machinery is often enough to cause almost instant damage to the hearing of unprotected workers. Employees must report hearing loss as soon as it is noted. Tell-tale signs include humming or ringing sounds in the ears, temporary hearing loss immediately after leaving the workplace, and the need to shout to be heard when a person is only an arm's length away.

An occupational disease, such as hearing loss, can have life-altering consequences for a victim and can affect his or her work and personal life. Although New York victims of workplace injuries are entitled to pursue workers' compensation benefits, proving that hearing loss was work-related may be tricky. Fortunately, the services of experienced workers' compensation attorneys are available. A lawyer who focuses on protecting the rights of injured workers can work on establishing evidence that the illness was caused by unsafe work conditions and obtain compensation on behalf of the worker.

Source: forconstructionpros.com, "Are You Doing Enough to Protect Your Hearing?", Kimberly Hegeman, Nov. 5, 2015

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