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Occupational Hearing Loss: What You Should Know

Occupational Hearing Loss

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Call (888) 590-4030 to find an experienced workers comp doctor to help with your hearing loss. 

Struggling to hear those around you can be frustrating and isolating. However, this is a common issue many Americans face, with the CDC denoting hearing loss as the third most prevalent ailment among adults behind hypertension and arthritis.

Occupational hearing loss is one work-related injury to monitor for Americans who spend their life working in industries featuring heavy machinery or transportation technologies. Spending years in a working environment with a prevalent loud noise can permanently impact your hearing. Despite administrative controls and hearing protection, hearing difficulty can still develop after many years.

If you experience symptoms of occupational hearing loss, it’s crucial to find a workers’ comp doctor in New York that can improve your hearing. Read on to learn about the different types of hearing loss and how to treat these issues.

Types of Hearing Loss

Three types of hearing loss focus on which part of the ear retains the most damage. Identifying the occupational hearing loss you struggle with can help physicians develop an effective plan for improving your hearing. 

Conductive Hearing Loss

According to the UNC School of Medicine, conductive hearing loss counts for about 15% of all hearing loss. As its name suggests, conductive hearing loss denotes issues with the passageways within your ears that carry sound to the underlying sound receptor organ, the cochlea. 

While more serious conditions like severe ear infections and middle ear irregularities can cause conductive hearing loss, simple factors like over-accumulation of earwax can also lead to hearing loss. It’s less likely that occupational hearing loss will be conductive unless ototoxic chemicals alter the ear’s internal structure. Additionally, this hearing loss may be temporary.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when loud noise, chemicals, genetic abnormalities, or head trauma damage the inner ear. Unlike conductive hearing loss, surgical and other extreme measures cannot resolve this issue.

While this is more permanent hearing loss, hearing aids or cochlear stimulators can help improve hearing. This hearing loss is most common in occupational accidents and will require you to find a workers’ comp doctor near me.

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both forms. For example, it might occur if you damage your cochlea in an occupational accident while suffering an ear infection.

Sound Levels That Cause Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Evaluating your risk for occupational hearing loss requires examining the different sound levels that can cause these chronic injuries. While most of these sounds are bearable for a moment or two, work environments that consistently expose employees to this sound level might be unsafe. Therefore, many unions require companies in at-risk industries to take decisive hearing protective measures to safeguard their workers.

Any sound over 80 dB (the unit of measurement for the intensity of sound wave vibrations) is liable to damage a worker’s inner ear. The following are some standard dB levels for sounds that might be common in specific industries:

  • 90 dB: a large truck that is on and within 4.5 meters
  • 100 dB: big concerts
  • 120 dB: an operating jackhammer within 1 meter
  • 130 dB: an operational jet engine within 30 meters

If you’re in an environment where you need to shout, the sound is likely powerful enough to damage your hearing. Ensure that you wear ear protection when working in industries where this noise level is typical.

Other Causes of Hearing Loss

Aside from loud noises, many conditions and injuries can cause hearing loss. Knowing these threats can help you avoid chronic hearing loss or decline. 

Other causes of hearing loss include:

  • Pressure changes during activities like scuba diving
  • Head trauma
  • Mumps
  • Meningitis
  • Measles
  • Significant ear wax buildup
  • Ototoxins

Identifying the cause of your hearing loss can help doctors find the appropriate solution. Consider your work environment and the exposure you may have to noise and ototoxins when pursuing treatment.

Jobs at High Risk for Occupational Hearing Loss

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, hearing loss cases accounted for 11.4% of private industry illness cases. Considering the significance of this occupational hazard, understanding the industries at the highest risk for these issues is crucial.

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that over 75% of occupational hearing loss occurs in manufacturing industries, other fields also feature this risk. These industries include:

  • Transportation
  • Construction
  • Farming
  • Live music and events
  • Military jobs

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

If you experience hearing loss and work within an at-risk industry, you’re likely experiencing chronic hearing loss. Contact your doctor to determine the type and severity of your hearing loss.

Potential Treatments for Hearing Loss

Patients suffering from hearing loss have a few treatment options. While surgery can resolve some types of hearing loss, others may only be able to improve rather than heal fully.

For example, hearing aids and cochlear implants are devices to improve damaged hearing. Additionally, doctors can teach patients techniques to understand others without assistive hearing devices.

Not Every Doctor Accepts Workers’ Compensation Insurance

While you may want to see your primary care physician or audiologist to fix occupational hearing loss, not every doctor accepts workers’ comp. Search Workers Comp Doctor’s directory of doctors taking this insurance and get the coverage you deserve for expensive medical care. 

Get Help Now: Find a Reliable Workers’ Comp Doctor Near You

Reliable Workers Comp Doctor Near You

Finding a doctor that accepts workers’ comp payments may seem challenging, but we can make the process easier than ever. Use our directory to find compassionate doctors near you.

Doctors in our free directory accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.

For more information about various types of hearing loss or to find a “workers’ comp doctor near me,” call (888) 590-4030 or review our directory today!

Finding a workers’ compensation doctor is crucial to obtaining the necessary treatment for your occupational hearing loss. Our directory can help you find the care you need.

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