New York Occupational Hearing Loss Lawyer

Hearing loss is a common problem in the workplace. This condition can arise from exposure to loud noises over time, such as those generated by power tools or machinery. The risk of developing this type of hearing loss increases with age and duration of employment in noisy work environments.

If you are experiencing symptoms such as ringing in your ears, difficulty understanding speech or other sounds, or just not being able to hear well anymore, you may be eligible to receive workers’ comp hearing loss compensation. You should consult an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation cases for help navigating the legal system and getting compensated for your injury.

At Raphaelson & Levine, our heading loss attorneys will ensure that you receive fair compensation and benefits. If your doctor blames your hearing loss on years in loud occupational environments, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. An NYC work injury attorney at our firm can assess your claim and review options with you to cover medical costs and even receive weekly disability payments. Call us today at (212) 268-3222 to schedule a free consultation and see if you can benefit from workers’ compensation for hearing loss.

Hearing Loss in the Workplace

We rely on our ears to stay safe, enjoy life, and interact with loved ones. However, many of us never realize that our workplaces fill with dangerous noise that may compromise our hearing.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), hearing loss is the third most common physical condition among adults. Approximately 12 percent of adults experience diminished hearing, and of that 12 percent, 24 percent lost hearing through occupational hazards.

Hearing loss reverses if you receive treatment and removal from the noisy environment. However, workers become accustomed to loud noise in their workplace and wait too long to pursue medical care. Once hearing decreases significantly, workers may face reduced career options and expensive long-term treatment to maintain their remaining hearing ability.

Filing an Occupational Hearing Loss Claim

New York workers’ compensation law refers to two types of hearing loss. Traumatic hearing loss results from a sudden event, like an injury accident or explosion. Occupational hearing loss develops over time as workers perform their duties in noisy environments.

OSHA and NIOSH refer to these environments as hazardous noise, meaning the occupational noise level reaches 85 decibels for eight hours at a time. At that volume, you must shout for a person three feet away to hear you. If that is part of your working conditions, you may be facing noise-induced hearing loss and need an evaluation.

Besides noise, hearing problems also result from chemical exposure and occupational disease. Ototoxic chemicals leave ears vulnerable to damage from noise and other environmental factors. These chemicals may include:

  • Solvents like styrene, trichloroethylene, and toluene
  • Metals and compounds, especially mercury, lead, and organic tin
  • Asphysxiants including hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide
  • Nitriles including 3-Butenenitrile, cis-2-pentenenitrile, and acrylonitrile

OSHA requires employers to reduce hazardous noise under its Noise Standards. Measures include engineering controls, administrative routines, and providing hearing protection devices (HPDs) to employees. If your employer failed to take any of these steps, you might also have a negligence claim in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.

If your doctor believes your hearing loss resulted from your workplace, you should consider hiring a workers’ compensation attorney. The process in New York is complex, and there are many forms and procedures. It is easier if you allow us to handle this matter on your behalf.

Once we form an attorney-client relationship, you can expect the following:

  • Removal from the hazardous noise environment: You must stay away from your workplace for 90 days before an audiologist can measure your hearing loss. Before that time, a hearing test is not conclusive. We also recommend setting an appointment with an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) in case any physical conditions also affect your loss of hearing. Use the health provider search tool to find an authorized workers’ compensation otolaryngologist or audiologist and start the testing process.
  • Attend the doctor’s appointment: Give your doctor a complete medical history regarding hearing loss, including details about your occupation and hazardous noise exposure. If you notice symptoms after leaving work, like ringing or humming in your ears or temporary hearing loss, let the doctor know. Also, describe any noise exposure experienced before you started your job or outside your job. For example, if you go target shooting every weekend, include that in your medical history, even if you wear ear protection.
  • Start forms: After your examination, the otolaryngologist completes a Form C-4 regarding your hearing loss and whether it links to your employment. We will also receive this form and complete a C-3 claim form, so the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) creates a file for your claim.
  • Wait for a decision: Your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance company will either accept the claim or ask the WCB to review it. If it takes the latter action, the WCB schedules a hearing, and we attend to see which issues require review.

Once successful, the claim entitles you to medical care and equipment for your hearing loss. This coverage includes hearing aids and the appointments needed to adjust them or change them out. Since hearing aids and other hearing loss devices are expensive, it is often worth pursuing workers’ comp to secure this support.

You should contact our attorneys early in this process. Not only do you want your claim presented in the most accurate way possible, but there are deadlines to filing your claim. For traumatic hearing loss, you must file a Form C-3 within two years of the event date. The statute of limitations for occupational hearing loss is two years and 90 days from when you discovered your hearing loss was due to workplace noise. If you miss these deadlines, you forfeit your claim and any medical assistance you gain from it.

NYC Workers’ Comp Benefits For Hearing Loss

Workers’ compensation addresses provable economic damages rather than subjective items like pain and suffering. When you receive benefits, you enjoy coverage for:

  • Medical treatment costs
  • Hearing aids, including batteries and service
  • Lost wages
  • Future earning capacity for permanent hearing loss
  • Treatment for conditions linked to hearing loss, including tinnitus, inner ear damage, vertigo, and nerve damage

You may receive weekly benefits while you are out of work. Right now, the maximum weekly benefit is $966.78 for accidents occurring between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. The WCB determines your amount of compensation based on your average wages and the extent of your hearing impairment. You may also be eligible for a loss of use award if you permanently lose your hearing.

Are You Entitled to Compensation for Hearing Damage?

If you face work-related hearing loss from your work environment, it is worth investigating whether you may receive workers’ compensation benefits. This assistance may prove vital in ensuring you receive the medical support you need and access to hearing aid devices.

Hearing loss threatens careers and quality of life. There is no reason you should avoid a workers’ comp claim or try to navigate one alone. The law firm of Raphaelson & Levine started serving New York workers in 1992 and continues to help them receive support for injury treatment and rebuilding their lives. We offer free consultations and case reviews and do not charge fees unless we secure a settlement. Call us today at (212) 268-3222 to set up an appointment or fill out our online form.

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