By the CDC’s numbers, over 52 million U.S. workers each year are exposed to hazardous chemicals and unsafe noise levels that could jeopardize their hearing. Hearing loss and ear injuries are two of the greatest threats to the health of the American worker. If you are the victim of ear injuries, experienced personal injury lawyer Peter Ventura will help you seek proper compensation.
Because loud or sustained noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, the Better Hearing Institute has outlined specific occupations and recreational activities where volumes can reach unsafe levels. If you are employed in one of these industries or participate in any of these recreational activities, you should be particularly vigilant about using ear protection.
Occupations Where Hearing Loss is at Risk
- Factory and heavy industry
- Law enforcement
- Music and entertainment
Recreational Situations that Can Cause Hearing Loss or Deafness
- Firearms and fireworks
- Power tools
- Concerts and nightclubs
- Sporting events
Symptoms of Hearing Damage
Because hearing loss often occurs gradually, the symptoms frequently go unnoticed until they start to seriously affect a person’s quality of life. If you encounter any of these symptoms, consider them warning signs of hearing damage, and make an appointment with your doctor:
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Difficulty understanding conversation
- Withdrawal from social situations
Accidents Can Cause Sudden Hearing Loss
Major car accidents can cause hearing damage in two ways. A traumatic head injury, such as one sustained by the head hitting the steering wheel or windshield, might cause dislocation or fracture of the inner ear bones or cause inner ear bleeding that could lead to hearing loss.
In addition, an airbag deploying may save your life, but harm your hearing. The sound of an airbag inflating is as loud as a shotgun blast—it can exceed 170 dB (decibels), which is more than 20% higher than levels that cause permanent hearing loss. It’s estimated that among people who are in car accidents where the airbags deploy, 17% sustain permanent hearing loss.
Consequences of Hearing Loss
Being unable to hear a conversation is not the only consequence of hearing loss. Difficulty hearing actually puts your personal safety at risk, according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery: U.S. adults who had trouble hearing were 90% more likely to be injured in an accident. This may be due to an inability to hear traffic approaching, for instance, or because the ear is associated with balance, ear injuries may result in a greater likelihood of falling.
Can I be Compensated for Deafness or Ear Injuries?
Your opportunities to receive compensation for hearing loss depend on the circumstances in which your ears sustained the injury. If you hurt your ears at a fireworks show, for instance, it is unlikely that you be able to sue for personal injury. However, if your hearing loss arises from someone else’s negligent or intentional behavior, you may be eligible to recover damages to pay medical bills and compensate for your pain and suffering and lost wages. To discuss your medical records and evidence for your ear injuries, contact the law offices of Worcester personal injury attorney Peter Ventura for a free consultation.