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Work-related hearing loss rates in different industries

Many New Jersey residents suffer from hearing loss, and some people suffer a loss of their hearing because of their workplace environments. A study by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has looked at the incidence of hearing loss as well as the industries with the highest rates.

NIOSH researchers analyzed the 2007 National Health Interview Survey's data regarding hearing problems and occupational noise exposure. Upon a review of the data, they found that 23 percent of workers who had been exposed to noise on the job had hearing difficulties as compared to 7 percent who did but who did not have previous exposure to occupational noise.

Workers in the agricultural, timber, hunting and fishing industries had higher rates of hearing difficulty and tinnitus. Manufacturing workers similarly reported high rates of tinnitus and hearing loss. Other industries showing higher risks for hearing loss included the social sciences, personal care, physical and service jobs. Engineers and architects reported higher rates of tinnitus. People who worked in the areas of sales and similar occupations reported much lower rates of hearing problems than the other industries.

People who suffer an occupational hearing loss may be able to recover workers' compensation benefits. This can help them to pay for the medical care, treatment and devices they may need. Although workers' compensation is usually associated with injuries resulting from a sudden workplace accident, it can also extend to an occupational disease or to an injury that has built up over time. Because these claims may be harder to prove, an attorney can often be of assistance to such a worker in collecting the necessary supporting medical documentation.

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