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Does Worker’s Compensation Cover Hearing Loss?

Not every job comes with a nice quiet office. In reality, many workers spend the majority of their day around loud machinery, and while most companies should provide hearing protection, that doesn’t mean workers wear it or at least wear it all the time. Long-term exposure to noise louder than 90dBA over a career can lead to permanent hearing loss.

However, any worker who has dealt with injuries that occur over a long period of time like hearing loss knows that getting worker’s compensation for it cannot always be the easiest claims to get approved. However, if you have suffered hearing loss or permanent tinnitus (ringing of the ears), you are entitled to damages to cover your injury.

Hearing Loss and Worker’s Compensation

While the statute for worker’s compensation and hearing loss differs from state to state, in Minnesota you can receive up to 35 percent disability for complete hearing loss. For partial loss, you receive less based on how much hearing you have lost at your job.

However, if you have hearing loss prior to your job, you can still receive worker’s compensation, but only if you have at least a documented 10 percent loss in hearing after working in the environment. This means if you had 40 percent lost before, you will have to get a doctor to attest that you now only have 50 percent of your hearing now.

Proving Work-Related Hearing Loss

While a work injury is never particularly lucky, of all the injuries that can happen over a period of time, hearing loss is actually relatively easy to prove, meaning that claims get denied a lot less than other injuries like, for example, carpal tunnel.

If you work in a loud environment, which constitutes as 90dBA, for eight or more hours a day, then it is clearly an environment that can cause damage in the long-term. What you will need your doctor to do is to figure out just how much hearing you have lost, because that is required for how much disability you receive. Many employers that do require you to work in a loud environment actually require hearing tests before you start, which is an excellent way to help their employees to get help for hearing loss later. However, not every employer does and workers who have hearing loss now can’t turn back the clock.

One potential slip up that may occur and cause your worker’s compensation claim for hearing loss to be denied is that the insurance company may try to suggest that advanced age was the cause on not the work environment. Obviously, this isn’t the case if you are below the age of 50. However, if you are above the age of 50 and wear protective hearing gear while working, then it shows that you made the effort to protect your hearing and the fact they you are working in a loud environment is pretty much responsible for your hearing loss. Although even if you are of an advanced age and too stubborn to wear the protective gear, you can still receive worker’s compensation because that is a work injury and it is covered.

If you have recently found out that you have a fair amount of hearing loss and know that your job is to blame, you will want to make sure that you contact a good worker’s compensation attorney to make sure you get what you deserve. Typically hearing loss claims are a straightforward process, but the older you get, the more complicated they can be. If you think your claim is at risk for denial or believe you deserve more, contact us today to talk over your options.

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