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What did you say? My job puts my hearing at risk?!

Mining, construction and manufacturing jobs place stress on your body and can lead to injury. However, working in one of these industries puts you at a higher risk for developing a commonly overlooked injury - hearing loss.

Why are you not given ear protection?

If hearing loss is a common problem, you may wonder why your company has not already addressed the high levels of noise in your workplace. Unfortunately, your job may fall within the "medium-noise" category.

A recent article on Legal Scoops reported that workers that work in a "high-noise" environment are legally required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to be provided with ear protection by their employers. However, if your job falls within the "medium-noise" category, companies are not required to provide you with ear protection. As a result, you and your coworkers may have a greater risk of developing hearing loss than if you worked in a louder environment.

What is considered a "high-noise" level?

You work at a "high noise" level if you work in an environment that creates 85 decibels of noise for 8 hours or more each day. At this level, employers must provide employees with ear protection, hearing tests and safety training. For reference, a vacuum cleaner produces 88 decibels of noise, and a hammer produces between 87 and 95 decibels of noise according to the Center for Hearing, Speech and Language.

What can you do to protect your hearing?

  • Discuss hearing safety with your supervisor.
  • Request ear protection.
  • Get your hearing checked by a doctor on a regular basis.

Can you receive worker's compensation for hearing loss?

Within Pennsylvania, you may be eligible for worker's compensation if you have hearing loss of 10 percent or more in both ears. In order to gain compensation, you must prove that the hearing loss is work-related. You will need to visit a doctor, receive medical proof of hearing loss, and document noise levels in your work environment. It can seem complicated, but you about your individual case, and walk you through the process if you need help.

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