If you work in a nice quiet office, you probably won’t have to deal with noise levels that can damage your hearing.
However, those who work in factories or on construction sites where heavy machinery produces damaging noise can experience work-related hearing loss.
Though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to enact protective measures, such as hearing protection, if working conditions are consistently loud, not all employers enforce these hearing safety guidelines.
North Houston Hearing Solutions recognizes that many of our patients may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, so we’ve gone through the process of becoming an approved Texas Workers’ Compensation hearing care provider.
How Loud Is Too Loud?
Everyday Health notes that, according to OSHA standards, 85 decibels (dB) is the maximum sound intensity allowed before employers must enforce the wearing of appropriate hearing protection.
What noise levels exceed 85 dB?
As a rule of thumb, if you have to raise your voice to speak to someone just three feet away, then noise levels probably exceed 85 dB. Industries in which you are at a greater risk of developing hearing loss on the job include:
Music and entertainment
Workplace hearing protection used in these and other industries must provide adequate mitigation, which means that it must have the required noise reduction rating (NRR) to reduce workplace noise to a level below 85 dB.
Filing for Workers’ Compensation Insurance Can Be Tricky
If work duties have caused damage to your hearing, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance, which will cover your wages and medical treatment if you’re injured on the job.
To qualify, you must alert your employer of your condition as soon as you’re aware of it, before consulting with an audiologist. Your audiologist will provide the required documentation necessary to file your claim.
For a claim to be considered for compensation by a Texas Workers’ Compensation provider like Texas Mutual, hearing aids and accessories must be “reasonable and necessary” for the level of hearing loss you’ve sustained.
“Unfortunately,” says attorney Steve Lee, “workplace injuries that occur over a long period of time, such as hearing loss, can be difficult to prove.”
Except for cases of a traumatic event, hearing loss is difficult to prove because Texas Workers’ Compensation requires proof that it is a direct result of workplace conditions, not other environmental factors, like listening to loud music or due to aging.
In addition, if your employer provides hearing protection and you did not use it, you won’t receive benefits unless you are able to prove that the hearing protection provided did not have an adequate NRR to prevent noise damage for your specific duties.
Follow Proper Workers’ Compensation Claim Procedures
Could your hearing loss be related to workplace damage?
If so, you MUST report your condition to your employer BEFORE consulting an audiologist. A failure to do this can result in the dismissal of your claim.
Once you’ve informed your employer of your hearing challenges, contact North Houston Hearing Solutions to schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment.
If your assessment shows hearing loss that requires treatment, we’ll help file your claim and provide the documentation that shows your hearing aids and accessories are “reasonable and necessary” treatment for your diagnosed condition.