Employees in Oklahoma can suffer a wide range of injuries in the workplace. Some workers sustain muscle sprains or strains in slip and falls or while lifting heavy objects. However, other workers suffer far more serious, permanent injuries such as hearing loss. If you have work-related hearing loss, it’s important to understand whether or not you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
How Hearing Loss Injuries Occur
Hearing loss typically occurs as a result of exposure to loud noise. A noise is considered dangerously loud when it is above 85 decibels or if it is loud enough to make it difficult to communicate with someone who is three feet away.
Exposure to certain chemicals can cause hearing loss as well. Chemicals such as mercury, lead, carbon monoxide, and trichloroethylene can damage the inner ear and lead to permanent hearing loss.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that workers in every industry are at risk of suffering work-related hearing loss. However, the risk is much higher for workers in certain industries, such as mining and construction.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Hearing Loss
If you suffer work-related hearing loss, the workers’ compensation system may cover the cost of a hearing aid. Furthermore, the workers’ compensation system may cover the cost of maintaining and repairing this device in the future.
A hearing aid isn’t the only benefit you are entitled to for work-related hearing loss. You could also be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits if you have lost your hearing as a result of your work. The law states that injured workers with hearing loss in one ear are entitled to 110 weeks of benefits, whereas injured workers with hearing loss in both ears are entitled to 330 weeks of benefits.
Permanent partial disability benefits are paid weekly and are equal to 70% of your average weekly wage, not to exceed $350 per week. To calculate your average weekly wages, simply divide your gross earnings by the number of weeks of employment. For example, let’s say you worked for your employer for 26 weeks and earned $12,000. Your average weekly wages would be $461.53, so you would receive 70% of that, which is $323.07 per week.
Have you lost your hearing at work? If so, seek legal representation from the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys understand how hearing loss can impact your life, which is why we will work tirelessly to ensure you are fully compensated through the workers’ compensation system. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.