Occupational Hearing Loss & Workers' Compensation

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 14-Sep-2016

Have you suffered from occupational hearing loss? If so, you are not alone. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), occupational hearing loss is one of the leading work-related illnesses experienced by U.S. workers.

According to NIOSH, approximately 22 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise levels at their place of employment, and another 9 million workers are exposed to toxic chemicals. What’s more, NIOSH reports that around $242 million is spent each year on workers’ compensation for workers who have suffered a hearing loss-related disability.

Noise is such a significant problem in the workplace that NIOSH has gone so far as to recommend that U.S. employers remove hazardous noise in the workplace as much as they possibly can, and to have employees use hearing protection in situations involving dangerous levels of noise where they cannot be controlled or eliminated.

Facts about noise reported by NIOSH:

  • Each day, 4 million U.S. workers are exposed to damaging noise.
  • In the U.S., 10 million people have suffered noise-related hearing loss.
  • In 2007, about 23,000 cases of occupational hearing loss were reported, which were serious enough to lead to hearing impairment.
  • In 2007, occupational hearing loss accounted for 14% of occupational illness.
  • In 2007, about 82% of the workers who experienced occupational hearing loss worked in manufacturing.

New York Workers’ Comp Rules About Occupational Hearing Loss

Under New York’s workers’ compensation laws, if a worker suffers occupational hearing loss, then special time limits apply to them. In New York, a worker who wants to file a claim for hearing loss has a choice of the following:

  • They can wait three months from the date that they were removed from the harmful noise at their workplace, or
  • They can wait three months after they left their employment, the location where the worker was exposed to harmful noise.

Under New York workers’ compensation law, the last day of either 3-month period is considered the date the worker’s disability began. However, the hearing-impaired worker can file after the two-year limit providing it is done within 90 days of the employee learning the hearing loss was work-related.

To file a workers’ compensation claim for occupational hearing loss, don’t hesitate to contact our firm. We gladly offer free case evaluations to all prospective clients!