Hearing loss is one of the most common injuries that construction, factory, and other manual laborers encounter in their lines of work. Being exposed to loud noises, day in and day out, can cause temporary and permanent hearing damage, which significantly complicates a person’s social and family life, damages their ability to perform their job, and can destroy self confidence. Hearing loss is a serious medical condition–one that requires experienced medical treatment. Some newer types of hearing aids, which are so small and compact that they are almost invisible to others, offer a great solution to hearing loss but can cost well into the six figures. If you have suffered hearing loss because of the work you do, it is time to discuss your options for workers’ compensation with an attorney.
Conductive Hearing Loss
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the two types of hearing loss are conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not efficiently conducted from the outer ear canal to the eardrum. In some cases, this outer ear damage can be surgically or medically treated to remedy the problem. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include perforated eardrum (caused by loud noise or foreign object), allergies, swimmer’s ear, and fluid in the ear caused by the common cold.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The other type of hearing loss is caused by inner ear damage. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by inner ear damage or nerve damage from the ear to the brain. It is more common than conductive hearing loss and usually cannot be treated medically or surgically. Causes include normal aging, head trauma, illness, certain drugs, genetics, and, of course, loud noise exposure. Some people actually suffer from a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Chronic Tinnitus: Ringing or Buzzing in the Ears
Another hearing problem is that of tinnitus, which is marked by a ringing, buzzing, whistling, hissing, chirping, humming, or shrieking sound that no others can hear, according to Harvard Health Publications. Sufferers of tinnitus may notice that the sound comes from inside their own head, or from one ear or the other, or even from far off. The noise varies in frequency, sometimes pulsing and sometimes maintaining a steady buzz. One common exposure to tinnitus is loud noise, which concert-goers and those who work around heavy machinery often experience. However, when the buzzing or ringing sounds of tinnitus last for a long period of time, it is a sign of serious or chronic tinnitus. Between 50 and 60 million Americans suffer from chronic tinnitus.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 22 million U.S. and Maryland workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise levels while on the job. And, it costs workers’ compensation $242 million for hearing loss disability on an annual basis. Those most at risk include construction workers, manufacturers, engineers and architects, and those who work in forestry.
Contact an Attorney
If you have suffered hearing damage caused by your employment, call the Pasadena, Maryland workers’ compensation attorneys of Frame & Frame today at 410-255-0373. We are prepared to assist you immediately.