Symptoms of workplace hearing loss include dizziness, loss of balance and ringing in the ears. As explained by HealthyHearing.com, employees working in noisy or toxic environments may begin developing issues leading to permanent ear damage.
Construction, extraction, mining and manufacturing workers face a higher risk of hearing loss. As noted by WebMD, an employee who experiences ear pain or muffled hearing may require medical treatment.
Outer ear versus inner ear injuries
An on-the-job ear injury may cause nerve damage that may affect the way sound reaches the brain’s audio centers. An outer ear issue, for example, could cause hearing loss from a build-up of particles or fluids blocking the ear canal, as noted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Inner ear injuries may affect the brain more directly. Head trauma, such as caused by falling objects in the workplace, may result in catastrophic damage to the ears and nervous system. A serious disability may develop and require long-term care and financial assistance.
Occupational hearing losses from chemicals and noise
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common issues related to occupational hearing loss also come from exposure to ototoxic chemicals. Dangerous compounds such as pesticides, solvents and carbon monoxide can make workers more susceptible to damage from loud noises. Approximately 10 million employees work while exposed to dangerous solvents and more than 10% of employees across the nation have hearing issues. Occupational exposures caused hearing problems for an estimated 24% of those affected workers.
Hazardous noise levels consist of sounds measuring at least 85 decibels. Employees may have experienced exposure to loud noise levels when the work environment requires them to speak loudly while standing three feet away from another individual.
On-the-job conditions may cause permanent damage to an individual’s hearing. Whether an outer or inner ear condition develops, an employee may apply for workers’ compensation benefits.