Occupational hearing loss can be a significant ailment in a person’s life. North Carolina’s workers’ compensation covers numerous kinds of work-related injuries. They include injuries arising from slips and falls, deliberate assaults, and repetitive stress or motion injuries. It also covers compensation for a category of diseases called occupational diseases. This type of compensable injury in North Carolina arises from workplace exposure to certain pollutants or dangerous chemicals.
Unlike slips, falls, and deliberate assaults, occupational diseases are hardly tied to a single, apparent workplace accident. So, they’re pretty challenging to deal with. As such, you’ll need professional assistance from a qualified Charlotte worker’ comp lawyer to ensure that you get adequate compensation.
Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common occupational diseases that employees in specific industries face. As such, we’d let you in on all you need to know concerning occupational diseases using occupational hearing loss as an example. So, what is occupation hearing loss, and what makes it compensable? Let’s find out.
What’s Occupational Hearing Loss?
Occupational hearing loss is caused by exposure to dangerous sound levels and poisonous chemicals at work. It can happen immediately after an accident, like a sudden blast or eruption. However, it can also be a result of continuous exposure to loud noises at the workplace. Unfortunately, many times, it’s the latter, and employees don’t even realize that they’re constantly damaging their hearing till it’s too late.
For hearing loss to be occupational, claimants must first show that their employers exposed them to dangerous noise levels. However, that’s not enough. They must also prove that the noise levels they were exposed to were much riskier than the general public’s exposure.
The most common symptoms of hearing loss include tinnitus, ear pain, talking loudly, and temporary hearing loss. In many cases, workers find themselves having to ask their colleagues to talk louder. Occupational hearing loss is most common in the manufacturing, construction, and mining industries. Employees who don’t use protective hearing gadgets are more at risk than others.
Is Occupational Hearing Loss Covered by North Carolina’s Work Comp?
If you’re wondering whether occupational hearing loss is compensable under North Carolina’s work comp rules, the answer is yes. Occupational hearing loss is identified as an occupational disease in North Carolina. Eligible workers with permanent impairment are usually entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wages times three. However, to be qualified for occupational hearing loss, the following conditions must be met:
It Must Be Work-Related
Like in all work comp cases, your hearing loss must be directly linked to your workplace or job functions. A medical report can help to verify that.
Hearing Loss Must Affect Both Ears
For you to be eligible for occupational hearing loss benefits, your hearing loss must occur in both ears. However, the hearing loss in each ear doesn’t have to be the same. The exception to this rule is if you had pre-existing hearing loss caused by a disease or congenital disability.
Hearing Loss Must Be Permanent
You may not qualify for occupational hearing loss if you have a temporary hearing impairment. Only employees with permanent hearing loss may qualify.
The Employee Was Not Removed From the Harmful Noise
If your employer removed you from the harmful noise, you might be ineligible to file a claim. If your employer provides you with hearing protection like ear muffs and plugs, you’re deemed removed from the harmful noise.
What To Do After a Work-Related Hearing Loss in Charlotte, NC
If you suspect that your hearing loss is work-related, do the following:
- First, let your employer know about your occupational injury immediately. Second, ensure that the notice is in writing. If you wait too long to report your injury, you may get your claims denied.
- Seek medical attention immediately. Most of what you need to prove your work comp claims is embedded in your medical report.
- Contact a Charlotte work comp attorney as soon as possible. Your work comp lawyers will handle all the paperwork and deal with any legal complications that may arise.
How Waple and Houk Can Help You
Are you suffering from occupational hearing loss due to long-term dangerous noise exposure at your workplace in Charlotte, NC? Was there a sudden blast that damaged your eardrums at your workplace? Then you need help from our workers’ compensation attorneys at Waple and Houk. At Waple and Houk, we understand how traumatizing occupational hearing loss can be.
As such, we’d do all we can to ensure that you get adequate compensation as soon as possible. In addition, we’ve got the most affordable and top-notch legal services for injured employees in Charlotte, NC. So, schedule a free consultation with us this minute.