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Thomas DeLattre and Glen D. Wieland

How does workplace hearing loss happen?

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

Employers in Florida and other areas are required to ensure the safety of their workers. Unfortunately, certain professions make it possible for people to suffer work-related hearing loss. This is how it happens and what can be done.

Understanding occupational hearing loss

Occupational hearing loss is hearing loss that results fro a person suffering damage to their inner ear from being exposed to excessively loud noise over a long period of time. It occurs from working in certain types of jobs when sounds are consistently higher than 80 decibels. Some jobs that expose employees to noise that’s loud enough to result in hearing loss are farming, construction, airline work, transit work and military jobs involving combat or aircraft.

Workplace hearing loss can be partial or even complete. For most people, hearing loss is gradual and becomes worse over time as their exposure to loud noise is continuous. Many people also develop tinnitus, a ringing, buzzing or roaring sound that may or may not be permanent.

Impacts of hearing loss and treatment options

When the damage is done, hearing loss can cause discomfort and despair. Individuals who experience it on the job often need time off to seek treatment and recover. Work-related hearing loss means having to file a workers’ compensation claim to find ways to cope.

Seeing an ENT doctor and an audiologist is necessary for effectively treating hearing loss. If the person is dealing with hyperacusis, a condition that causes normal sounds to seem very loud to the ear, the ENT might prescribe prednisone. An audiologist can give a hearing test to determine the individual’s level of hearing loss. This can help when being fitted for hearing aids.

The biggest priority in treating hearing loss is to prevent any further loss. In cases of profound deafness, the person would also benefit from learning lip-reading or even American Sign Language (ASL).


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