It’s not just rock stars and Air Force pilots who are threatened by occupation induced hearing loss – ordinary Americans are at risk of hearing loss caused by their workplaces everyday. However, how can you tell if it’s the job that caused the loss of hearing or merely age? And, if the hearing loss was caused by your occupation, could your employer be at fault for neglecting to provide you adequate protection? A recent ruling in Canada provides one answer.
A retired employee from Alberta is seeking workers’ comp benefits after he suffered hearing loss due to excessive workplace noise exposure many decades ago. This retiree worked diligently in a pulp mill in the years 1957 to 1993. In those 36 years on the job, he was exposed to 85 or more decibels for 8 to 12 hours per day, a considerable amount for any period of time. Additionally, during his first working years on the job, hearing protection like ear plugs or wearable ear guards weren’t provided by the employer.
Even though the employee was aware of his hearing loss for decades, it was almost 20 years after his retirement at the age of 79 when he sought medical care and treatment. When he was diagnosed with hearing loss, the retiree turned to his former employer and sought workers’ compensation benefits. In order to receive those benefits, he must show the hearing loss was the result of and occurred during his employment at the pulp mill.
Tags: workplace safety