The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health notes that 25% of all workers have some exposure to noise that could cause hearing injuries. Of those people, 12% will experience hearing loss as a result. Individuals who suffer any injury on the job should pursue workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation does cover occupational hearing loss. However, there are specific requirements to qualify for benefits.
Employer liability for occupational hearing loss
According to Georgia workers’ compensation regulations, an employer becomes responsible for occupational hearing loss attributed to the employee’s work environment. This type of injury only accounts for levels at frequencies between 500 and 2,000 cycles per second, and there are specific rules for determining whether it occurred on the job.
Exclusions for previous loss and compensation
Workers will have to submit hearing tests and medical records showing any past testing. In cases where an employee had existing hearing loss prior to their employment, the employer is not accountable for the preexisting condition. Furthermore, the employer is not responsible for any hearing loss for which the employee has already received compensation or an award. Also, benefits are not payable for tinnitus, psychogenic hearing loss or temporary conditions.
Benefits depend on the average percentage of loss for frequencies between 500 and 2,000 cycles per second. Individuals may receive up to 150 weeks of payments.
Any workers who suspect their occupational environment contributed to hearing loss should follow the appropriate procedures for seeking workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation coverage for hearing loss is a valuable resource for many individuals.