Hearing Loss on Tug Boats
When you think of the danger of working at sea, hearing loss is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, noise loss is a major health hazard for crew members working on tug boats. Prolonged exposure to excessive noise damages the nerve cells and small hairs in the inner ear and leads to a condition known as “noise-induced hearing loss.”
It is difficult to detect hearing loss as it develops because it happens progressively and painlessly. You may start to notice that you have hearing loss if you have trouble following conversations or are constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves. If you suspect that you have hearing loss, you should immediately reach out to a medical professional and get evaluated.
Hearing loss can have a significant impact on your quality of life. While some crew members may experience only minor hearing loss, others completely lose their ability to hear. Once hearing loss has occurred, it is permanent. There is no treatment available to reverse the damage completely. However, there are treatments that can help. For example, corticosteroid medications reduce the swelling in the inner ear, and hearing aids work to amplify sounds so you can hear better.
If you are a seaman suffering from hearing loss, you should contact a qualified maritime attorney. You may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that requires maritime employers to provide their workers with a reasonably safe place to work and allows injured seamen to sue their employer for negligence. There are significant damages available under the Jones Act, including lost past and future wages, past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability, and lost future earning capacity.
One example of negligence under the Jones Act is a failure to follow safety standards. Both the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set workplace safety limits on the amount of noise workers can be exposed to and the noise threshold at which hearing protection is required. Additionally, if your employer failed to provide hearing protection or offer training on how and when to use the safety equipment, they could be found negligent under the Jones Act.
In addition to recovery under the Jones Act, seamen suffering from hearing loss may be entitled to damages under maintenance and cure. Maintenance and cure covers daily living and medical expenses. It is available to all seamen who are injured while working onboard a vessel, no matter who was at fault for the injury.
To learn more about your rights under maritime law, call an experienced attorney to discuss your case. Kraft Davies, PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal injury law. Kraft Davies has significant experience representing seamen who have suffered hearing loss against vessel owners, maritime employers, and maritime insurance companies. If you or a loved one were injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident, contact the attorneys at Kraft Davies today at 206-624-8844 or through this website.