Lawsuits for Acoustic Trauma
The Two Different Forms of Acoustic Trauma
Acoustic trauma, also known as hearing loss, is induced by noise exposure. There are two forms of acoustic trauma:
- One that occurs from acute noise injury or sudden exposure to an excessively loud noise.
- One that occurs from chronic noise exposure, where small noise injuries incurred over time accumulate and result in hearing loss.
Acute noise injuries can cause both temporary and permanent hearing loss. Whether someone experiences a sudden explosion or stays too long at a rock concert, sudden exposure to loud noises causes injury to the hair cells in the lower portion of the cochlea, the part of the ear responsible for picking up high frequency sounds. This can result in sounds seeming to be muffled, ears feeling "full," and a diminished ability to hear high-frequency sounds (such as music from a clarinet). A person with an acute noise injury might also experience ringing in the ears. While symptoms usually resolve in one to two days, a particularly bad injury could cause such severe hair cell damage that some of the hearing loss is permanent.
Chronic noise exposure, while seemingly less traumatic, can actually cause more permanent hearing damage. It occurs over an extended period of time, as a result of continued exposure to repetitive, loud, noises such as construction work or heavy machinery in operation. As repeated noise exposure occurs, small noise injuries build up, first damaging, then killing hair cells, resulting in permanent and irreversible hearing loss.
Federal Guidelines to Protect Workers from Hearing Loss
OSHA has established guidelines to protect employees whose jobs expose them to occupation-related noise for prolonged periods of time. Individuals exposed to more than 85 decibels per hour of noise, or those who may encounter sudden loud noises on the job, should wear hearing protection while at work. People working with loud equipment should also protect their ears. Acoustic earmuffs provide the best form of hearing protection, but other options are also available. Employers whose employees run a risk of incurring noise-related injuries should provide their workers with hearing protection and regular hearing loss screenings. If they do not, employees should demand the protection.
Filing a Lawsuit for Hearing Loss in Houston & Throughout All of Texas
Acoustic trauma can cause serious side effects such as ringing in the ears, an inability to hear conversations when background noise is present, and even permanent hearing loss. If you or a loved one has experienced acoustic trauma, you may be entitled to compensation. A personal injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin LLP can provide you with a comprehensive consultation regarding your case. We will review the injuries that you have sustained and determine whether you should file a catastrophic injury claim. Hearing loss, both partial and full loss, is a devastating injury that many people silently suffer from. We help you fight for the justice that you deserve. Call (888) 493-1629 to learn more.