Not every worker in Michigan has the luxury of a corporate office job. Some people work in areas where loud noises are just a regular day at work. These job sites include manufacturing plants, processing plants, construction sites, mining, logging and even military training and deployment.
According to FindLaw, long-term exposure to hazardous sound levels may lead to hearing impairment or hearing loss. Estimates put 30 million people at work sites that regularly face these dangerous noise levels. For some, hearing loss is a physically painful experience, not to mention the psychological effects. There may be constant ringing in the ears or constant pain in response to certain pitches of sound.
The good news is that workers may be entitled to workers compensation if work was the cause of their hearing loss. Some workers get up to 66.66% of their wages. This may last for 260 weeks per 10 percent of hearing loss. Put simply, if someone suffers from 20% hearing loss, they may receive this money for up to 520 weeks.
While this is great news, it only provides a temporary solution. What happens after the 520 weeks if the person has not recovered their hearing and cannot return to their field? For most other forms of disability, the obvious answer would be Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration does not include hearing loss on its list of disabling medical diseases.
CNN believes that this may change soon as the government took steps to increase awareness of the danger of loud noises on the job. However, until this translates into more progressive regulations to help already hearing-impaired workers, employers may end up shouldering most of the responsibility.