Many Minnesota residents likely suffer from work-related hearing loss. In fact, work-related hearing loss is more common than any other work-related injury that affects workers in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that hazardous levels of work-related noise affects around 22 million workers each year.
Work-related hearing injuries can be debilitating for people who have been exposed to hazardous noise levels. Symptoms of hearing injuries can start with slight hearing loss and then progress to noise sensitivity that causes people to feel intense pain when they hear normal noises. To prevent these kinds of injuries, workers who are exposed to loud noises every day should be given hearing protection.
Mining workers have the greatest risk of workplace hearing impairment. Those in construction and manufacturing are also very likely to suffer from work-related hearing injuries. To mitigate the impact of loud noises, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide their employees with sound protection once the decibel levels at a work site reach a certain level. The allowable decibel levels vary by industry, and some people say that the OSHA noise regulations are flawed because they do not factor in noise that might be coming from areas beyond the work site.
Hearing injury symptoms can appear gradually after a worker has been exposed to hazardous noise levels for many years. Work-related hearing loss is a type of workplace injury that should be covered by workers’ compensation, and those who have it may want to have the assistance of an attorney when preparing and filing a claim for benefits.