Workers in Minnesota who are exposed to excessive noise levels at their place of employment might be at risk of suffering from occupational hearing loss. Exposure to certain ototoxic chemicals at work like heavy metals, asphyxiants and solvents can also lead to hearing difficulties.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Project, more than 11 percent of workers around the country have some hearing loss. Hearing problems are also the third-most prevalent chronic health issue in older adults. Around 24 percent of workers with hearing loss say that their problem was a result of exposure to unsafe noise levels or chemicals at their job.
Many workplaces are loud, but loud noise is considered hazardous to health when it reaches at least 85 decibels. One way to determine whether noise is at an unsafe level is to try to have a conversation with a person who is standing 3 feet away. When two people can't hear each other from that distance without raising their voices, the noise level in the area is hazardous. Every year, 22 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise levels. It is unknown how many workers are exposed to ototoxicants each year.
A worker who suffers from occupational hearing loss usually loses their hearing abilities gradually over time. In order to pursue workers' compensation benefits for occupational hearing loss, a worker would have to prove that their condition is directly related to the environment at their job. This is often a more difficult task than is the case with a workplace injury. Accordingly, it may be advisable to obtain the assistance of an attorney in compiling the necessary evidence to build a workers' compensation claim.