There are two main types of hearing loss: sensorineural and conductive. Each of these types of hearing loss is characterized by different symptoms and can each be caused by different things. If this hearing loss occurs while working on a ship, oil rig, or another vessel, you may have rights under the Jones Act law.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by trauma and loud noises. With conductive hearing loss, the main causes are middle ear fluid, perforated eardrums, and foreign bodies in the ear. There is no single set of causes for hearing loss for maritime industries or offshore workers; however, it happens often.
Is your maritime employer responsible for your injury?
There are many maritime workers who accept the risks of the industry as “part of the job.” However, that is not the right way to view the situation. There are a number of federal and maritime laws in place to reduce or prevent these types of issues from occurring.
For example, if an explosion occurred on a ship, which in turn led to a hearing injury, there are several ways the employer or owner of the ship can be determined liable. The best way to know for sure is to review maritime law and contact an attorney for clarification.
While hearing loss can occur after an explosion, it may also occur after a person is exposed to extreme conditions, after a blow to the head, or being exposed to ongoing sound without proper ear protection. If the employer has failed to take the proper safety precautions to prevent these situations, they may be deemed liable. A Jones Act lawyer can determine this for sure.
What do I do if I’ve suffered hearing loss while on the job?
Hearing loss is much more debilitating than many people believe. It can affect a person’s balance and make it difficult— if not impossible—to work on a ship or even solid ground. It also reduces a person’s quality of life, leaving them vulnerable to accidents because they are unable to hear warning sounds.
Regardless of whether a person suffers partial or total hearing loss in one or both of their ears, they may find they are no longer able to work in the maritime industry. In fact, it may reduce the potential to do any type of rewarding work. If you have suffered hearing loss because of maritime work, you may be able to hold your employer responsible.