Occupational Hearing Loss in New York
Working in a noisy environment can damage your hearing and affect your quality of life. Workers in many different sectors suffer hearing loss, whether it’s over time or from a one-time incident such as an explosion. At Nappa, Monterosso & Poznansky, LLP, our workers’ compensation lawyers help injured workers in the greater NYC area obtain the benefits they need to get proper treatment for occupational hearing loss and other conditions.
How Hearing Loss Occurs in the Workplace
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 14,500 work-related hearing loss cases nationwide in 2019 alone. Occupational hearing loss can happen because of prolonged exposure to loud noises made by equipment such as jackhammers, sirens, and machinery. A worker also can lose hearing because of a blow to the head or ear, or from being subjected to a loud blast or bang. Workers in certain industries are more at risk for occupational hearing loss, including:
- Construction workers
- Manufacturing, especially wood, machinery, and metal manufacturing
- Factory workers
- Workers in industrial settings
- Restaurant, bar, and nightclub workers
- Sanitation workers
- Ambulance drivers and EMTs
- Airline and aeronautical industry workers
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
If you work in one of these industries or in another job where loud noise is common, it’s important to look out for signs of damage to the ears or occupational hearing loss:
- Constant ringing in the ears (tinnitus). If you experience ringing in your ears all the time, your hearing may be damaged.
- Loss of ability to hear high-pitched sounds. One of the first indications of hearing damage is having a hard time hearing higher tones, such as birds chirping.
- Muffled sound. If it seems like the people around you are whispering or mumbling, it could be a sign that you’re starting to lose your hearing.
Is Your Workplace Too Loud?
Although employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace, many don’t make the effort to ensure their employees have proper ear protection such as earplugs or noise-canceling earmuffs. If you’re concerned that noise at your workplace could be damaging your hearing, talk to your supervisor or employer about hearing protection. Indications your workplace is too loud include:
- You and your coworkers must shout to hear each other when just a short distance away
- You hear humming, buzzing, or ringing in your ears after work
- You experience temporary hearing loss after work
In New York, you are prohibited from suing your employer for hearing loss unless they did something that deliberately caused you harm. However, if you’re suffering from occupational hearing loss, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Our occupational disease lawyers can evaluate your case and advise you on the most effective way to move forward.
New York Workers’ Compensation for Work-Related Hearing Loss
Even mild hearing loss can impact your ability to perform your job duties safely. It also can affect your physical and mental health and keep you from doing things you enjoy. If you’re suffering from occupational hearing loss in New York, workers’ compensation benefits cover:
- Medical treatment
- Hearing aids
- Wage loss
- Other injury-related expenses
The process for filing a workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss is complicated. You must be away from the environment that caused your hearing loss for 90 days before filing a claim. Then, you must obtain medical evidence that shows your hearing loss is job-related. Many New Yorkers file claims for occupational hearing loss after they retire, are terminated from their position, are disabled by another condition or injury, or if the company where they work closes.
Seeing a Hearing Loss Specialist
New York workers’ compensation law requires those with hearing loss to be examined by an otolaryngologist, usually known as an ear, nose, and throat doctor. The Workers’ Compensation Board has a list of qualified otolaryngologists who can evaluate your condition.
Make sure to tell the doctor the details about your work and hearing loss, including when you began your employment, the type of work you did and for how long, and what kind of noise you were exposed to. It’s also important to disclose any noise exposure you may have had before you started your job, such as the type that can occur with military service or other activities and occupations.
Once you obtain the medical evaluation from the otolaryngologist, you must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years. Our occupational disease lawyers can help you file your claim, make sure it is filled out correctly and includes all relevant information, and meet filing deadlines.
Why Choose Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers?
Our team understands the devastating impact hearing loss can have on you and your family. The inability to communicate and have normal interactions with loved ones can take a toll on you emotionally. Being unable to hear the voices of loved ones, go to the movies, or engage in other social activities also can be discouraging. Our workers’ compensation attorneys and occupational disease lawyers help you understand your rights and options and fight to help you recover the full amount of benefits and compensation you deserve.
As the largest work injury law firm in Staten Island, Nappa, Monterosso & Poznansky, LLP, handles a wide range of cases involving job-related hearing loss. We also can assist you with workers’ compensation appeals and applying for Social Security Disability benefits if it is a viable option in your case. Your initial consultation is always free, and attorney Rolando Cubela is proud to provide quality legal representation to our Spanish-speaking clients.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in NYC
Nappa, Monterosso & Poznansky, LLP, has provided compassionate, competent legal support to injured workers in Staten Island and the greater NYC area for more than 30 years. To schedule a case evaluation, call us at 718-273-9000 or contact us online.