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Say What? Pearson Koutcher Law Handles Workers Comp Hearing Loss Claims.

  • Jon Koutcher
  • 06/25/2013

The Workers Comp Hearing Loss Attorneys at Pearson Koutcher Law have handled hundreds of hearing loss claims resulting from employees exposed to hazardous occupational noise in a wide variety of industries. If you have suffered a hearing loss you feel has been caused by exposure to loud noise while at work, it is important to contact an attorney experienced in handling hearing loss claims. There are strict time requirements for providing notice to your employer and for filing a claim. Employers will often try to minimize the impact of the noise or the employee’s exposure to loud noise during the day. Employers will also try to explain the cause of the hearing loss on medical conditions (such as viral infections, multiple sclerosis, head trauma or use of ototoxic drugs) or other life events/hobbies (such as hunting, military service, listening to loud music, or using power tools). Employers will essentially blame causes of hearing loss on anything but the loud noise in your work environment.

The American landscape was populated with thousands of factories, foundries and plants after WWII in the mid 20th Century. Jobs were plentiful. Employees received good wages and benefits. The American Dream was in high gear. Often industry proceeded without regard for the rights and safety of workers who were exposed to toxic materials, harmful products and hazardous occupational noise. Workers spent their day in environments exposed to loud noise with no hearing protection. Hearing loss resulted, prompting legislation and safety measures. For instance, in 1971, The Occupational Safety and Health Act Noise Regulation was established, requiring hearing conservation measures in every plant/factory in the United States that produced noise in an eight hour day above 85 dba.

In Pennsylvania, The Workers Compensation Act contains provisions for employees who have experienced hearing loss due to a traumatic event (causing acoustic trauma or head injury) or exposure to hazardous occupational noise. Hearing loss benefits awarded as a result of exposure to hazardous occupational noise are classified as specific loss benefits. Therefore, the employee does not have to be disabled from work or miss time from work to proceed with a hearing loss claim. Moreover, medical treatment is available, including hearing aids.

Occupational hearing loss manifests in certain ways. It is typically slow developing, affects both ears and usually causes hearing loss within certain frequencies. Objectively, the audiogram (result of hearing test) has a particular pattern, and in the classic example, will show a “dip” at 4000-Hz. Subjectively, employees exposed to hazardous occupational noise often feel they cannot hear certain consonants during speech (such as s, f,t and z) and have difficulty hearing when there is background noise.

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