Exposure to excessive noise in the workplace can lead to permanent hearing loss – this is fairly common knowledge.  What you may be surprised by is the types of jobs where exposure to dangerous noise levels is common.    

A recent article in the New York Times, Working or Playing Indoors, New Yorkers Face an Unabated Roar discussed loud noise exposure in various New York City workplaces, from restaurants and bars to gyms.  This means the traditional areas for exposure to high noise levels, such as factory workers, first responders exposed to siren noise, or heavy equipment operators are expanding to include a wide variety of work environments.  Loud noise exposure in restaurants is actually used to encourage customers to eat faster and leave in order to free up tables at a faster rate.  The article cites spin classes as excessively loud, in that the noise volume exceeds 100 decibels, a potentially dangerous level.   

The important thing to know is that exposure to excessive noise is happening in places you may not expect it and can have long lasting effects.   

The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws provide coverage for work related hearing loss.  To prove a hearing loss claim, it’s necessary to show documented hearing loss, usually through an audiogram and exposure to harmful noise levels.  There are two types of work related hearing loss: a loss that occurs from exposure to excessive noise over time; and traumatic hearing loss, caused by a specific event.  In New Jersey, hearing loss due to a long term exposure must occur in both ears to receive workers’ compensation benefits.  If you develop hearing loss due to a specific loud noise, such as a crash, gunshot, or explosion, the requirements are different and benefits are available.  I’ll discuss hearing loss and the benefits available in upcoming blogs.  

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 at: jcreegan@stark-stark.com.