People often think that you can only claim worker’s compensation benefits for injuries sustained in a single accident. However, occupational injuries or illnesses are also covered under worker’s comp.
Hearing loss is a common condition that workers in certain industries, such as manufacturing and construction, may develop over time. If you have suffered a loss of hearing from working in an inherently noisy environment, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits in Wisconsin.
However, proving your hearing loss is work-related can be difficult without a trusted lawyer by your side. At Sigman Janssen, we have decades of combined legal experience handling worker’s comp claims for a variety of workplace injuries. An initial consultation comes at no cost, risk or obligation to you.
You can learn more about how we may be able to help during this meeting. If your claim has merit, there are zero upfront fees involved if we take on your case or while we work on your case.
Available 24/7 to Take Your Call: (920) 328-0700.
Wisconsin Worker’s Comp Law on Loss of Hearing
Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation system defines an injury as any mental or physical harm caused by a workplace injury or illness. In other words, it arises out of the course and scope of your employment.
Sudden loss of hearing is considered physical harm from a one-time accident. Loss of hearing is also considered an occupational disease caused by exposure over a period of time to a working condition.
For instance, worker’s compensation benefits may be issued if prolonged exposure to loud noise caused a permanent partial or total loss of hearing – otherwise known as occupational deafness.
How Do I Prove My Hearing Loss is Work-Related?
Proving that your hearing loss is linked to your workplace can be a challenging task. While most noise exposure happens over time, sometimes an accident – such as an explosion or head injury – can cause permanent and irreversible hearing loss. Your employer and his or her worker’s comp insurer may try to argue that your loss of hearing was due to an activity outside of the scope of your employment.
That is why it is important to report your work-related injury and get medical care immediately. Your treating doctor can help diagnose your condition and determine the extent of your hearing loss.
Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has set standards for evaluating worker’s comp claims involving loss of hearing. For instance, an audiogram or hearing test is required. The DWD will use a formula to measure the amount of hearing loss you have suffered and how to compensate you for your loss. Be sure to attend appointments and follow through with recommended treatments.
Having a lawyer on your side during this entire process may benefit your worker’s comp claim and help to ensure that you are able to receive the benefits you need for your hearing loss.
Worker’s Compensation Benefits for Hearing Loss
If your work environment contributed to your hearing loss, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. You may be able to receive benefits even if you are longer working in a noisy environment or have retired from your job.
It is also important to note that work exposure that contributed to your loss of hearing does not have to be the sole cause of your loss of hearing. Your work environment could have been inherently noisy.
Worker’s comp benefits you may be able to obtain include the following:
- Medical expenses related to your hearing loss
- Loss of wages due to permanent loss of hearing
Under Wisconsin’s worker’s comp law, medical expenses incurred for doctor visits, audiology testing and hearing aides are covered. The amount in compensation, however, varies on a case-by-case basis.
Employer Responsibility for Occupational Noise Exposure
Employers have a responsibility to ensure their workers have the proper safety and protective gear to protect them from occupational noise exposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) compliance requirements for employers to reduce hearing loss include, but are not limited to:
- Implementing a hearing conservation program
- Providing workers with protective hearing devices
- Training workers on the proper use of these devices
If your employer has failed to meet any of these OSHA compliance requirements or refuses to file a worker’s comp claim, we recommended hiring legal representation sooner rather than later.
See How a Lawyer May Be Able to Help You Get Benefits
If you have suffered work-related hearing loss or hearing problems from a noisy work environment, it may benefit you to speak with a licensed Green Bay-based worker’s compensation lawyer. Our firm is well-versed in Wisconsin worker’s comp laws and how these laws may apply to your circumstances.
We also have a proven track record, successfully recovering millions in compensation on behalf of our clients. If you have a valid claim, we are ready to fight for the maximum compensation possible.
An initial consultation costs nothing so there is no risk to you. It will allow you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have and learn how we may be able to help. There are no upfront fees if you hire us.
Call (920) 328-0700 for a Free Case Review Today.