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 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 an 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 cause more permanent hearing damage. It occurs over an extended period, 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. 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 protection.
Hearing Loss Claim FAQ
What are some of the first signs of hearing loss caused by trauma or noise exposure?
One of the first signs of noise- or trauma-induced hearing loss is an inability to hear high-pitched sounds and an inability to discern someone’s voice in the presence of background noise. It starts with a difficulty hearing higher tones and pitches, like birds or similar sounds at higher frequencies. Consonants may be hard to hear, and voices may start to sound muffled. As hearing loss continues, low-pitched sounds will be harder to hear. Radios and televisions must be turned louder to be heard.
Can I recover from hearing loss caused by an injury or exposure to loud noise?
When it comes to hearing loss, every patient is different. You could experience temporary or permanent hearing loss due to acoustic trauma, and it may affect one or both ears. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hearing loss occurs when noise damages hair cells, nerves, membranes, and other parts of the ear. If exposure to loud noise is temporary, it may only cause slight damage to the hair cells in the ears, which bend but then straighten again and restore your hearing to normal. If these hair cells and other parts of the ear are severely damaged, however, hearing cannot be restored naturally. Hearing aids and other devices may be needed to help you hear.
Do I have to be completely deaf to have a hearing loss claim?
You may have a valid claim whether you’ve suffered temporary, permanent, partial, or complete hearing loss. Acoustic trauma can have serious consequences, affecting your ability to work and even perform normal tasks or take part in activities you once enjoyed. You may experience emotional trauma as well. Your medical care, hearing devices, lost earnings, and all other expenses and injuries should be covered by the at-fault party.
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. An acoustic trauma 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 deserves compensation.
Our team is always ready to fight for the results that clients deserve. Call our acoustic trauma lawyers now at (888) 493-1629 to discover your options at no cost.