Many people in New York City work in factories or other work sites that are consistently loud. Vehicles, heavy machinery and the like create a lot of noise.
Sound levels are measured in decibels. Over time, noises around 80 decibels or higher can cause damage to one’s ears, leading to hearing loss.
Many common items, including motor vehicles and other forms of transportation, power tools and even a phone or stereo turned up to maximum volume can reach 80 decibels.
Likewise, noises from industrial equipment or machinery, as well as other workplace noises, can reach a level where ear damage is possible. Some noises, like sirens, are so loud at close range that they damage the ears almost immediately.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that work-related hearing loss is the most common workplace injury.
This is not surprising. About 22 million workers across the country are exposed to potentially harmful noise at work. Another 9 million workers regularly have to do their jobs around chemicals known to damage the ears.
Many of these workers also work in environments with dangerously loud noises.
Proving a claim based on hearing loss can be complicated
As is the case with other work-related illnesses and injuries, New York workers who suffer hearing damage while at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits include medical and rehabilitation costs as well as appropriate compensation for lost wages.
A worker may be entitled to benefits whether the hearing injury happens because of a major incident or just over time.
However, many employers or insurance companies might balk at paying benefits for hearing loss. They may, for example, claim that the injury happened outside of work or was pre-existing.
An employee may need an advocate on their side to help them get the benefits they deserve.