Hearing & Vision Loss Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri
It is easy to take our ability to see and hear for granted. While there are diseases that can rob us of these senses, and age takes a toll on them, our jobs should not. Unfortunately, for many people, earning a paycheck comes with paying a high price.
Vision and hearing loss due to work is covered under workers’ compensation, but unlike a carpal tunnel injury or a torn rotator cuff, these injuries are invariably permanent. Eyeglasses and hearing devices may help, but nothing can fully restore what you have lost.
If you have suffered work-related hearing or vision loss, The Law Office of Steve Slough can help you pursue the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve. It may be a fierce battle, but it’s one we’re prepared to face with you. Our attorney, Steve Slough, represents injured individuals throughout St. Louis, Missouri, as well as the nearby communities of St. Charles County, Madison County, St. Louis County, and St. Clair County, Illinois. When you’re ready to discuss your case and explore your options, reach out to our firm to set up a free consultaiton.
Causes of Workplace Hearing Loss
Injuries at work that affect your hearing can be traumatic. Hearing loss can result from an explosion, sudden and significant changes in air pressure, or an accident that punctures the inner ear.
However, most workplace hearing loss is gradual, induced by persistent loud noise over time. Consistent exposure to sounds at 85 A-weighted decibels (dBA) or higher can cause hearing loss and tinnitus. For reference, 85 dBA is the level of a noisy restaurant or the sound of city traffic from the inside of your car.
Of course, equipment like jackhammers and chainsaws push the dBA much higher. Bandsaws and certain factory equipment exceed 100 dBA. Wearing double ear protection, including earplugs and earmuffs, is recommended for workers exposed to 100 dBA or more. Protection is an obvious choice for the person operating the jackhammer, but it isn't always for the other people working nearby.
Another common cause of occupational hearing loss is ototoxicants. These are chemicals and compounds, including solvents, lead, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, nitriles, mercury, and even tobacco smoke. They can harm your hearing via central nervous system damage or affect the cochlea and balance sensors of the inner ear. Ototoxicants may be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.
Blue-collar jobs may be obvious sources of noise-induced hearing loss, but white-collar employees are not immune. Consider the construction foreman, the manager at that noisy restaurant, or the salesperson who spends all day in the car. Also consider law enforcement officers, first responders, and even the musician who plays in the brass section of an orchestra.
Causes of Workplace Vision Loss
Similar to hearing loss, a variety of workplace incidents can cause vision impairment. Some examples include:
penetration of foreign objects
a blow to the eye or orbital area
lasers and ultraviolet rays
infectious diseases transferred by respiration or spray into the eye
Because of the digital nature of so many people’s jobs, screen use is a growing cause of occupational eye injury. The blue light of digital screens damages the retina. Retina damage can lead to macular degeneration and blindness. Moreover, because people fail to blink as often as they should while looking at screens, the low quality of tear film and the lack of it harms your vision.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Vision and Hearing Loss in Missouri?
Yes—Missouri workers’ compensation covers vision and hearing loss, as long as there is evidence that noise levels, chemicals, screens, or another work occurrence caused the impairment. With progressive injuries, it can be difficult to prove that they were directly caused by your job. That’s why it’s important to work with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney to build a strong case.
How Will I Be Compensated for Hearing or Vision Loss?
Your compensation will be based on the degree of hearing or vision loss based on specific testing requirements. Lost levels of hearing frequencies are used in ear injury claims. Measurable loss of visual acuity, efficiency, and binocular vision are used to determine eye disability.
Workers’ compensation is formulaic in nature. Degree of disability, permanency, body part affected, and your average weekly wage are factored in the formula, as is Missouri’s disability schedule.
Scheduled loss awards in workers’ compensation are based on a value assigned to the relevant part of the body. The “value” reflects the number of weeks of pay and benefits you should receive for a particular injury. Complete loss of vision in one eye is 140 weeks of compensation while complete deafness in both ears is 180 weeks, according to the schedule.
Hearing & Vision Loss Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri
Your employer has an obligation to protect you in the scope of your job. So, when your work compromises your hearing or vision, you are entitled to fair compensation for your losses. If you have suffered work-related hearing or vision loss, don’t wait to get help. Contact The Law Office of Steve Slough in St. Louis, Missouri, today. We charge nothing for a case consultation, so there is no reason to not reach out to us today.