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Airport employees risk hearing loss in the workplace

Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related injuries in the United States, and airport employees are especially vulnerable to hearing loss due to the high levels of noise across flight operations.

It's essential for airport employees to understand the risks they face at work, and how their workplace contributes to hearing loss or other hearing impairments.

Sources and symptoms of hearing loss

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several sources for aircraft noise on the ground including aircraft engines, takeoff preparations and braking. There is also noises from engines and mechanical features in the air.

There are regulations that control the noise level of a workplace to avoid hearing loss, but the airport shifts in noise levels frequently. Depending on where you work, you could be more exposed to higher noise levels on the ground than someone who is working at the gate.

As noise exposure grows over time, employees risk mental and physical health impacts. Studies even found that aircraft noise links to:

  • Stress
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Work-related performances
  • Learning and academic performance

Permanent hearing impairments are preventable with early detection and intervention. Do not ignore or avoid treatment because hearing loss accumulates over a lifetime, and if you wait too long, no one can attest to aircraft noise as the source for your hearing impairment.

Seek help immediately

In New Jersey, hearing loss from work-related injuries is covered by workers' compensation. You need to notify your employer of the impairment as soon as possible, and request a physician that is covered by your employer or their insurance carrier.

You should also notify your insurance company, so they can file "First Report of Injury" with the state. The employer's insurance will evaluate the claim and determine if it is compensable, they will contact the victim and work with the company to make the assessment.

It's essential that you follow the filing procedure exactly as the state law and your employer lays out; it will only help you assure you get fair compensation for your hearing loss or other personal injury.

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