June 28, 2019

Different Types of Hearing Loss: You May be Due Compensation

The recent settlement in favor of the U.S. Military in the 3M Eara plug Lawsuit has once again highlighted the importance of protection against noise pollution in the workplace, and specifically in the military, where hearing loss is the number one service-related disability.

Exposure to noise pollution is a given due to the nature of the job when you serve in the military, for most personnel. Some are exposed to constant noise pollution over an extended period, others, in active combat or training exercises, will face regular booming and extremely loud noises in addition to the ongoing noise generated by military vehicles.

The effects of noise pollution are numerous, pervasive, persistent and medically as well as socially significant. As the injury is not ‘seen’, as opposed to loss of limb for example, it is often not reported nor treated.

1. Tinnitus

Tinnitus involves the perception of sound or ringing in the ears, thus the sensation of sound where no external sound is present. It is not really a condition, but a symptom of an underlying condition such as ear injury or hearing loss and can get worse with age.

The phantom sounds include buzzing, humming, ringing, roaring, clicking, and hissing, which may vary in pitch. It is heard in one or both ears, will come and go, and is sometimes so loud that it will interfere with your ability to hear actual sound or to concentrate.

Tinnitus

It is mostly caused by damage to the inner ear hair cells, which moves in relation to the pressure of soundwaves and triggers electrical impulses to your auditory nerve. The brain interprets these impulses as sounds. Short or long-term exposure to loud noise can cause permanent damage

2. Noise-Induced Hearing Impairment

Hearing loss is defined as conductive (outer and middle ear), sensorineural (inner ear) or mixed. Prolonged and chronic exposure to loud noises, or sudden bursts of noise at high decibels, or a blow to the head, can cause permanent damage to normal hearing.

Hearing impairment is typically defined as an increase in the threshold of hearing, according to the WHO (World Health Organization). It is assessed by threshold audiometry and in occupational settings compared to a baseline test.

Symptoms include trouble hearing consonants, muffling of speech or other sounds, difficulty understanding words against background noise, struggling to hear woman’s or children’s voices, needing volume on tv, phones or radios turned up, and withdrawal from social activities.

3. Blast-related Comorbidities

Evaluation of any patient with combat-related head trauma must include possible blast-related comorbidities including dizziness and imbalance, speech or language problems, and PTSD. A blow to the head or a very high instantaneous sound pressure level can cause mechanical damage to the ear.

4. Interference with Speech Communication

Interference with speech comprehension due to hearing loss causes problems with cognitive and mental functioning, human relations, and a number of stress reactions.

5. Other Physiological, Social and Emotional Impacts

There are some devastating long-term effects caused by noise-induced injuries, such as sleep deprivation, inability to relax or concentrate, fatigue, stress, anxiety and memory problems. It affects your overall quality of life, including type of employment, family and social relationships and can lead to depression, isolation and even eventual cognitive decline.

Acute noise exposures also activate the autonomic and hormonal systems, which produces increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and vasoconstriction. This may even develop, after prolonged exposure, into hypertension and ischaemic heart disease associated with exposures to high sound pressure levels.

You Must Act Now to Protect Yourself

The timeframe for claiming justice and restitution is diminishing by the day – statutes of limitation apply so you need to file now if you have suffered loss or damage.

Call Eileen Kroll, a nurse and Personal Injury trial attorney, at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) or fill in the contact form on our website for a call-back and free case evaluation consultation. Our law firm never charges a fee unless a recovery is made.

Ms. Barry is studying Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. She has won multiple awards both for her persuasive and creative writing and has written extensively on the topics of medical malpractice law, personal and birth injury law, product liability law. When she’s not researching and writing about these topics, she edits a literary magazine and tutors students at Penn’s writing center.

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