Hearing Loss: Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation?

Hearing Loss: Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation? Image

Humans are social beings, and hearing loss creates an unnatural separation from the community. As a result, hearing loss from work can create other physical problems, social losses, and even impacts on mental health down the road.

Generally, a physical injury that results from the workplace tends to be covered by workers compensation programs. The goal of such programs has historically been to protect workers and ensure they have adequate healthcare when hurt doing their jobs.

Worker’s compensation helps with income that would otherwise be lost because, when injured, many aren’t able to work. While salary positions might still enjoy keeping wages via leave time built up, most hourly workers aren’t so fortunate.

An hour not worked is an hour not paid. Worker’s compensation offsets this loss when injured on the job. Where an employer fails to compensate an employee for hearing loss, an Oklahoma City workers compensation lawyer at the Burton Law Group can help.

How Do You Prove Work-Related Loss of Hearing?

Proving that your hearing loss was caused by your work requires medical evidence. Convincing the workers’ compensation carrier or your employer to take care of your hearing loss usually requires more than medical evidence.  A claim has to be filed with the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission and usually a hearing must be held where a judge will be asked to order benefits.

Is Loss of Hearing Considered a Disability?

When an injury involves hearing, it is important to understand that it can have indirect effects. Unlike touch and eyesight, hearing affects more than just one sense.

Like taste, it has an influence on the other senses. So, when one’s hearing is eliminated, it can affect lots of work situations, creating an inability to work in some occupations.

Hearing loss is very common in the workplace, so it doesn’t get treated as a unique or rare condition. It can happen from a single loud shock to the auditory system or can build over time with gradual loss.

For example, someone can have sudden loss of hearing from an explosion, or they can have it from constant exposure to loud noise, like being a long-time drummer in a band. Either way, once the hearing goes, it’s very hard to bring back naturally, if at all.

Loss of hearing also takes a price on daily life outside of the workplace as well. With sound missing, the simple act of crossing a street or trying to have a conversation becomes an immense challenge. It affects one’s sense of safety as well as connection.

Benefits for a Hearing Loss Claim

Because hearing loss tends to last for weeks and months and can even be permanent, many will find that they need to seek reasonable accommodation and changes to their work function and roles to adjust for their disability. It can even mean that they can’t work full-time anymore.

In Oklahoma, if a claim is accepted or proven, the claimant may be entitled to hearing aids and if certain thresholds are met, permanent partial impairment depending on the level of hearing loss which can be proven.

Filing a Hearing Injury Claim

Of course, benefits don’t happen automatically very often. They have to be applied for and pursued by the injured employee.

In the ideal world, the employer would proactively take care of these issues for their injured worker. Unfortunately, employers suffer no added cost or penalty for failure to do so. The only reliable way to ensure that you receive workers compensation benefits for hearing loss is through qualified legal representation.

The Burton Law Group has a significant depth of experience in representing clients before the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. Because workers compensation has to be pursued and is not automatically provided, an Oklahoma workers compensation attorney becomes essential for the best recovery.

Don’t try to solve your this alone. Call us today if you or someone you know has suffered a hearing injury from work or work-related activities.