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Preventing work-related hearing loss in Louisiana

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hearing loss is a prevalent health condition suffered by older people in Louisiana and around the country. Statistics have revealed that 24 percent of employed people who have suffered hearing losses did so as a result of workplace noise exposures. All together, 11 percent of the workforce has suffered hearing losses.

In addition to noise exposures, hearing loss can also result from exposure to certain chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, heavy metals and organic solvents, all of which have properties that can damage the ears. The CDC estimates that 22 million workers are regularly exposed to workplace noise while 10 million are exposed to solvents at work.

Employers should take steps to minimize the risk of their employees suffering occupational hearing losses. An analysis of hazards should be conducted and training programs implemented. Workers should be provided with appropriate safety equipment to use while working in noisy environments or around toxic chemicals. When they are provided with equipment, workers should make certain they always use it in order to best protect themselves.

A worker who suffers from an occupational hearing loss may file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. Through this type of mandated coverage, the employee may recover the ongoing treatment and rehabilitation costs associated with the hearing loss. If the disability is severe enough to prevent victims from returning to work, they may also be able to recover monthly benefits payments in order to replace a percentage of their former income. Workers may want to seek the help of a workers' compensation attorney with filing their claims. Such an attorney can also provide representation in subsequent hearings should, as is frequently the case, the claim be disputed or denied.

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