Hearing loss is one of the biggest concerns for many people who work in the railway industry. Those workers who spend time around sliding wall or tank wagons, diesel locomotives and passenger trains experience some of the highest noise levels in the industry.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires railway employers to provide their workers with hearing protection any time their exposure to noise averages 85 decibels for 8 hours. At this point, the noise level may cause irreparable damage to a person’s hearing.
Of course, shorter exposure to a much louder noise can also cause hearing loss. This could happen, for example, if you’re near an explosion, fireworks or a gunshot.
Symptoms of hearing loss aren’t always obvious
You might assume that you’d recognize the symptoms of hearing loss if you began to suffer it. Namely, you’d begin to have a difficult time hearing. However, there are other, less well-known symptoms. These include:
- Ringing in the ears, especially when it’s quiet
- Fullness or pressure in the ears
- Speech that sounds far away or muffled when it’s not
Sometimes these symptoms will dissipate, leading someone to assume that there’s not a problem. The cells in your inner ear may still be working. If you continue to endure exposure to the loud noise, then there will be a destruction of those cells as well.
If you are a Connecticut railway employee who has suffered hearing loss, you may be required to prove that your injury is the result of your work and not due to outside factors in order to get benefits under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). An experienced attorney can help you make your case.