In a prior post I discussed noise exposure at work and the problems that can result.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD), a department of the National Institutes on Health (NIH), states on its website: “when we are exposed to harmful noise—sounds that are too loud or loud sounds that last a long time—sensitive structures in our inner ear can be damaged, causing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). These sensitive structures, called hair cells, are small sensory cells that convert sound energy into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back.” Examples of conditions that can lead to an occupational hearing loss include industrial noises, sirens, and engine noise. These types of conditions cover a broad spectrum of jobs and industries, from First Responders and Assembly line workers to Restaurant employees.
As the information provided by the NIDCD indicates, hearing loss is permanent, so removal from the noise source will not improve the condition, but just makes sure it does not become worse due to ongoing noise exposure. While many safety measures have been developed, such as changing the placement of a siren on vehicles so as to cause less exposure, much of the damage has already been done before the safety measures are implemented.
If you’ve developed hearing loss at work in New Jersey, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim as you may be entitled to benefits. I’ll discuss the specific benefits available in a New Jersey claim in my next post.
James Creegan is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Lawrenceville, New Jersey office concentrating his practice in Workers’ Compensation law. For questions, or to schedule a free consultaiton with Mr. Creegan, please contact him here.