Under the North Carolina workers’ compensation laws, occupational hearing loss is considered an occupational disease for which employees can recover income and medical benefits. Commonly asked questions:
A: To be entitled to benefits, an employee must be exposed to workplace noise exceeding 90 decibels for at least 90 working days, or parts thereof.
A: Except for preexisting loss of hearing due to disease or congenital defect, you can only recover if the loss of hearing occurs in both ears.
A: No. As long as your loss of hearing occurred in both ears, the level of hearing does not have to be the same level of loss (i.e. a person with a 25% loss of hearing in right ear and a 40% loss in the left may still be able to recover benefits if the loss is due to loud noise at work).
A: No, the loss of hearing must be permanent.
A: The employer liable for benefits is the one in whose employment you were last exposed to 90 decibels over 90 working days.
A: Benefits are determined by using a complicated formula, which averages your hearing loss in each ear for the frequencies of 500, 1000, 2,000 and 3,000 cycles per second.
A: No, the provision of hearing protection (i.e. ear plugs) and/or a requirement that you wear hearing protection does not bar you from filing a claim for occupational hearing loss.
A: You can only file a claim when you have been removed from the workplace noise. When your employer provides and enforces the use of hearing protection, you are considered to have been removed from the harmful noise.
If you have a question about occupational hearing loss, or you believe you may have a hearing loss claim, contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Ward Black Law in Greensboro, N.C., for a free case review. Call today to speak to one of our qualified attorneys: 336-333-2244 or toll-free: 1-877-256-1214. You may also reach Ward Black Law by email or online inquiry.
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