Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic conditions among adults in the United States. According to the CDC, approximately 24% of hearing problems among U.S. workers are caused by occupational exposure to noise or chemicals that cause hearing loss, such as trichloroethylene, mercury, or carbon monoxide. Working in a noisy environment or with ototoxic chemicals can cause gradual hearing loss over a period of years. A worker may also suffer hearing loss after an isolated incident such as an explosion or chemical leak.
The risk of hearing loss is present across many industries including:
- Music and entertainment
- Public services, such as police and fire departments
While industries in our area put employees at risk of hearing loss, workers at John Glenn Columbus International Airport and Worthington Industries are exposed to dangerously high noise levels that may cause permanent hearing loss. Police officers and firefighters employed by the City of Columbus, Upper Arlington, Norwich Township and all other suburbs are also subjected to sudden, explosive noises that can damage their hearing. Regardless of where you were working when you experienced hearing loss, you must file a workers’ compensation claim to get the benefits allowed by Ohio law.
Workers’ Comp Benefits for Hearing Loss
Under workers’ compensation law in Ohio, hearing loss is a scheduled loss, meaning compensation is awarded based on a set schedule. Depending on the extent of your hearing loss, you may obtain benefits for a specific number of weeks:
- 25 weeks for permanent and total loss of hearing in one ear
- 125 weeks for complete loss of hearing in both ears
No award is made for anything less than permanent and total loss of hearing in at least one ear. Your benefits can include compensation for up to 100% of the statewide average weekly wage. This amount is determined annually.
Protect Your Right to Workers’ Compensation for Hearing Loss
Many people who suffer hearing loss gradually never connect the hearing loss to their workplace. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has identified hearing loss as an underreported problem. The majority of reported cases are due to immediate hearing loss caused by a traumatic noise event, while thousands of workers never seek compensation for hearing loss caused by long-term workplace exposure to high noise levels.
If you have total and permanent hearing loss in one or both ears and you have been exposed to noise or chemicals in the workplace, the loss was likely caused by your job and you may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. Our experienced worker’s comp attorney represents injured Ohio workers and will give your case the time and attention it deserves. To learn more, please download a free copy of our book, The Worker’s Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio, and contact us directly to schedule an initial consultation.