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Jobs That Damage Your Hearing: What Are the Noisiest Occupations?

Anybody who works in New York City knows that it can get loud. From the machine gun consistency of a jackhammer on a construction site, to the siren or shrieking air horn of a passing fire engine, to the power tools that your plumber might be using, many occupations require long-term exposure to very loud noise. What most people don't know, however, is the toll that this exposure has on hearing.

Our Manhattan work injury lawyers know that hearing damage is a definite occupational hazard for many jobs. It can complicate your life on a daily basis and lead to frustration and anxiety. Hearing loss may even force you to give up your job prematurely. You may need to file a workers compensation claim.

According to The Center of Disease Prevention and Control, twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year, with ten million people in the U.S. already suffering from a noise-related hearing loss.  Certain fields present more risk than others, too. For example, according to the CDC, a 25 year-old carpenter might have the hearing of a 50 year-old.

Jobs That Put You At Risk

Recently, Audicus Hearing Aids put together a list of occupations that have a high risk of causing long-term hearing damage. MSN.com published a report titled "America's Noisiest Occupations," which our New York City workers compensation attorneys hope will raise awareness about the importance of protecting the hearing of our nation's workers. While some of these occupations might be obvious choices, some might surprise you. The following are the noisiest jobs and the sources of noise that contribute to hearing loss:

  • Agriculture - Tractors, chain saws, grain dryers, and even squealing pigs.
  • Carpentry/Construction - Hammer drills, chain saws, chop saws, impact wrenches.
  • Firefighting - Sirens, air horns, power tools, high-intensity water pumps.
  • Manufacturing - Heavy equipment, power tools.
  • Military - Guns, explosives, vehicles, aircraft, combat noise.
  • Mining - Excavation equipment in a confined space.
  • Plumbing - Drills, nail guns, power saws, hammers

Some of the statistics, too, are downright disturbing. More than 75% of miners are exposed to hazardous noise, and an even higher percentage of miners have a serious hearing problem by retirement age. Manufacturing, one of the largest (and noisiest) fields in America, records more hearing-related illnesses on a yearly basis than any other type of injury. Two out of three construction workers show hearing damage by time they're 50. Two out of three combat veterans coming back from Afghanistan show signs of hearing-related trauma, according to the Deafness Research Foundation.

Unfortunately, too, relief for these hearing-related problems can be pricey. On-the-job ear protectors or quieter equipment can be either too expensive or impractical. Hearing damage is irreversible, and once the damage has been done a set of hearing aids can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000.

If you're suffering from hearing loss and suspect that your job might have been the cause, it may qualify as an occupational injury. Contact the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today for a free case consultation. Call (800) 692-3717.