Get Compensation for Construction-Related Hearing Loss
With the use of heavy machinery and the possibility of all kinds of falls, hearing loss may not seem like the most significant injury a construction worker can suffer in the course of his career. However, noise-induced hearing loss can take a serious toll on one’s quality of life, and a large number of construction workers fall victim to this injury.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that 58% of construction workers suffer abnormal hearing loss due to noise. The construction industry saw the second-highest number of workers exposed to noise hazards, after manufacturing.
What Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when the sensitive structures of the inner ear are damaged due to sounds that are too loud, even for a brief time. Noise-induced hearing loss can be immediate, but it can also take a long time to be noticeable. It can affect one ear or both ears.
Sounds that measure at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter amount of exposure time it takes for the sound to do damage. The damage is caused when hair cells in the ear that transmit sound are damaged and eventually die.
Much of the equipment used in the construction industry is above the 85-decibel (dBA) level. For example:
- Jackhammer: 100 dBAs
- Chop saw: 105 dBAs
- Chainsaw: 110 dBAs
- Hammer drill: 115 dBAs
While working in the construction industry means that noise exposure can’t be stopped entirely, employers can help prevent damage by limiting workers’ exposure time and providing ear protection.
How Do You Know If You Have NIHL?
Initially, it may be difficult to distinguish between common hearing loss that comes with age, and noise-induced hearing loss. Over time, however, NIHL makes it hard to understand others when they talk and will make sounds distorted or muffled. Noise-induced hearing loss can also cause tinnitus – a ringing or buzzing in the ears that can be temporary or constant (NIH).
If you suspect that construction work has damaged your hearing, you should consult with a medical professional to confirm your NIHL diagnosis. Not only will this allow you to get the proper medical treatment to combat hearing loss, it will also provide the medical documentation necessary to build your case.
NIHL and the Law
It’s not up to construction workers alone to protect themselves from noise-induced hearing loss. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires construction employers to provide workers with safety training in the appropriate language and vocabulary. This training should include information on permissible sound limits, the dBAs of common construction tools, and how to protect themselves.
In addition to training, employers are required to provide construction workers with necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). Common hearing protective devices include roll-down foam plugs, reusable earplugs, custom-molded plugs, canal caps, and earmuffs (SafetyEquipment.org)
Work with an Experienced Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Attorney
If you believe that you are suffering from noise-induced hearing loss due to your employer’s failure to inform you of hazards, or their failure to provide you with proper safety equipment, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
The lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP will work to prove that you are suffering quantifiable hearing loss directly caused by your job duties, that your employer should have foreseen the danger, and that OSHA rules and regulations were violated in the process. You deserve compensation for the hearing loss’ impact on your quality of life.
If you’d like to speak with a knowledgeable Dallas construction injury lawyer about your noise-induced hearing loss, give Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP a call at (214) 231-0544. There is no charge for an initial consultation.