According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hearing loss is the third most common physical disability among American adults. The CDC notes that 24% of these individuals have occupational hearing loss related to workplace noise or chemical exposure.
You can file a Tennessee workers’ compensation claim if you have a diagnosis of occupational hearing loss. Learn more about the process of pursuing benefits in this situation.
Understanding causes of workplace hearing loss
When you have a hearing exam, tell the health care provider if you regularly experience noise exposure higher than 85 decibels at work. If you are not sure, noise levels are dangerous if you must shout for a person an arm’s length away to hear you.
You should also report exposure to ototoxic chemicals, which can cause hearing loss. Tell your doctor about any contact with compounds, metals, solvents, asphyxiants, nitriles and antineoplastic agents.
Obtaining workers’ compensation benefits
You have to let your employer know within 15 days of a diagnosis of work-related hearing loss. The company will give you three approved physicians to see for treatment. You can also decide to see your own health care provider at your own expense. If the workers’ comp physician agrees with the diagnosis, the program will pay for your medical costs, time away from work and travel to doctor visits.
Jobs with a high risk for hearing loss include military service, aircraft maintenance, jobs with exposure to loud machines or music, farming, and construction. If you have work-related hearing loss, you can file for Tennessee’s workers’ comp benefits.