Do You Have Hearing Loss as a Result of Your Work as a Government Contractor?
Hearing is essential to our ability to function in daily life, and loss of hearing can have a significant impact on one’s quality of life. Even with the use of assistive technology, many people who have severe hearing loss need to relearn how to complete their typical responsibilities, and it is possible that they will no longer be able to keep their occupations. Hearing loss can impact your life in a variety of different ways, and for this reason it is a covered injury under the defense base act.
Is Hearing Loss Covered Under the Defense Base Act?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, as expanded by the Defense Base Act, covers hearing loss as a compensable injury.
High levels of noise exposure on the job have been linked to hearing loss in many workers. An ongoing problem on military bases and in facilities that service military aircraft and other large military vehicles is excessive noise. Hearing loss can also be the result of explosions and gunfire.
Types of Hearing Loss Claims Covered Under the Defense Base Act
There are two different types of hearing loss: monaural and binaural, that is loss of hearing in one ear or both.
The Defense Base Act and the Longshore Act provide coverage for either types of hearing loss, which can be identified with the help of an audiogram that is carried out by an audiologist under the supervision of a qualified expert.
One year of compensation is given for total hearing loss in one ear (monaural), while full binaural hearing loss affecting both ears would provide 200 weeks of compensation.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss for Federal Workers
Noise exposure is the leading cause of occupational hearing loss. Continuous exposure to loud noises may result in hearing impairment and eventual deafness. This occurs when a person is exposed to very loud or prolonged noises.
In addition to being hazardous to our health through inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact, hazardous chemicals can also cause hearing loss. When humans are exposed to both loud sounds and chemicals, several substances can amplify the negative effects of noise. Ototoxicity is the medical term for this sort of hearing loss.
Determining the Extent of your Hearing Loss
A hearing impairment diagnosis requires the services of a trained audiologist who will administer an audiogram. Your overall degree of hearing loss can be calculated from the percentages displayed on the audiogram for each ear individually.
Types of Hearing Loss Covered Under a DBA Claim
If you have experienced hearing loss as a result of excessive noise while working a government contract, the Defense Base Act classifies this as a work-related injury. Workplace insurers will compensate you for this industrial injury, and you can file a claim for it as you would for any other work-related condition.
Medical Treatment Options for Hearing Loss
Many innovative treatments for hearing loss have emerged as a result of advances in medicine and technology. Hearing loss treatment methods range from medical treatment to listening devices such as hearing aids. Removing wax blockage, surgical procedures, and cochlear implants are some of the options for treatments, though it will still be determined by the origin and severity of the hearing loss.
Challenges to Claims, and Presumptions in Defense Base Act Hearing Loss Claims
Comparative to other workers’ compensation claims, insurance firms appear to be more strict when it comes to approving hearing loss claims. However, there are favorable presumptions, such as whenever a claim for hearing loss is submitted under the Longshore Act, it is presumed that the loss was caused by the exposure to hazardous working conditions.
As a result of working at a military base, contractors are subjected to loud noises in the course of employment, which gives rise to the conclusion that the cause of their hearing loss is the conditions they were exposed to on the job.
It’s possible that the insurance company will try to prove that the hearing loss was caused by a pre-existing ailment or that it happened before starting work at the current job. However, the burden of proof for such claims is with the insurance provider and not with the claimant.
DBA Hearing Loss Claim Attorneys Here to Help You
It is advisable to obtain competent counsel to defend you while making a workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss under the Defense Base Act. There are numerous issues to address and various rules to follow. You need a lawyer who is proficient in handling DBA claims and understands the nuances of the law.
Call Grossman Attorneys today for a free consultation. Our DBA attorneys can help you get all the benefits that your employer owes you. Compensation could include all medical care costs, initial diagnostics, specialist appointments, occupational therapy, assistive equipment and aids, and other services that cover wage replacement if your hearing loss prevents you from working temporarily or permanently.