Each year, about 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work.
Employees are sometimes exposed to working conditions that put their hearing ability at risk. Permanent hearing loss may result from exposure to a sudden loud noise such as in the event of an industrial explosion. Work-related hearing loss may develop and worsen gradually when exposed to a noisy work environment. This issue is hard to associate with the work of an individual when it develops slowly as time passes, especially as hearing ability often diminishes with age. Some people suffering from work-related hearing loss are also unsure whether their job is responsible for this problem.
National Health and Safety Standards
Insurance companies usually require employers buying workers’ compensation insurance to put some measures in place to guard against injuries to workers. Therefore, a base line hearing test is usually conducted when employers hire workers that are to work in noisy environments. This is then followed by a yearly hearing test. Occupational hygienists work with large employers operating in settings with loud noise to ensure that national health and safety standards are observed.
Filing a Hearing Loss Claim
As most employees who fall victim will be able to tell, it is not easy to file claims for work-related hearing loss. It is common to see workers’ compensation insurance companies deny hearing loss claims on the grounds that affected employees have been aware of the problem for a long time but preferred to wait for an opportunity to file for compensation benefits. Kansas City Missouri workers’ compensation lawyers believe that confusion among employees on the right time and way of filing a claim often costs them their benefits.
Just in case you are not aware, the C-4 Claim for Compensation form, which is used for work-related injury claims, is used when filing for occupational hearing loss claims. While it is not much relevant for progressive hearing loss, there is a section on the form where clinics may require you to fill a date on which the accident occurred. You may be asked by a clinic staff member to indicate the date on which the hearing difficulty was first noticed.
Filing Your Claim In a Timely Manner
One problem is that employees hardly ever inform their employers of hearing issues when they are first noticed, except when it occurred as a result of a sudden loud noise. Sometimes, these employees only realize they have a problem when loved ones complain frequently of having to repeat statements. Work-related injuries or illnesses are required to be reported within the first 30 days of their first occurrence under Missouri law. It is therefore advisable that you inform your employer to complete a Notice of Occupational Disease as soon as you notice a hearing problem. You should also ask your employer for direction on where to file a Claim for Compensation form.
It is common for hearing loss claims to be reopened every few years for replacement of obsolete hearing aids. This is especially so in the cases of gradual hearing loss. However, you may be able to secure a permanent partial disability award if you have suffered from work-related hearing loss. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (816) 399-3706 for more information and legal assistance.
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