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Protecting the Rights of Injured Workers

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Occupational hearing loss can cause permanent disability

Colorado workers in their various occupations are all exposed to the dangers inherent to their industries. Many of these hazards can cause injuries that could lead to permanent disability. Hearing loss is often overlooked because others cannot see the injury. However, it is a traumatic injury that could develop over time and be detrimental to the victim’s quality of life. Millions of workers in different industries nationwide suffer occupational hearing loss every year.

Business owners who fail to provide the necessary protection and limit excessive noise levels may find that productivity and profits are adversely affected, while there might be additional losses in workers’ compensation claims and lost time from work. Even infrequent high noise-level exposure can cause hearing damage. Excessive noise can destroy cochlear hair cells in the ear, and currently, no auxiliary or surgical options exist to repair this type of damage.

Continuous harmful noise or single events can cause hearing loss of varying levels of severity. The type of damage suffered may also cause changes in the way a victim hears. He or she may hear persistent high-tone ringing noises, or it may feel like there are earplugs in his or her ears. Hearing loss that is noise-related could prevent a victim from hearing sounds at specific pitches or tones, often leaving the individual unable to hear the sounds of specific letters, which makes it difficult to follow conversations.

Occupational hearing loss is a permanent disability that also has psychological consequences because it inhibits effective communication. Furthermore, it could even lead to additional workplace injuries if the employee is unable to hear warning signals or alarms. Although the Colorado workers’ compensation insurance system provides coverage of medical expenses and lost income for injured employees, experienced legal counsel may be necessary to prove a worker’s hearing loss to be work-related.

Source: safetyservicescompany.com, “Hearing Loss Prevention“, J.R. Moody, Oct. 30, 2017

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