More than 30 million U.S. workers encounter noise levels high enough to cause hearing loss. In fact, some 20,000 workplace cases involve hearing loss each year. More than 2,000 people every day suffer eye injuries in the workplace, with 10% to 20% resulting in temporary or permanent loss of vision.

Hearing loss is invariably permanent, and vision loss is in many cases. Employers owe their workers a safe environment and all the tools and equipment necessary to make it so. If you have suffered hearing or vision loss in the workplace, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

The Law Office of Michael J. Orlando is solely dedicated to representing clients in Beaverton, Oregon, Eugene, Salem, and Portland in workers’ compensation claims. Michael J. Orland brings a decade of experience in the insurance industry to bear on his representation of injured workers.

What is Work-Related Hearing Loss?

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can occur in many places. Exposure to loud music, fireworks, lawnmowers, farm equipment, and power tools can permanently damage hearing. Employees routinely exposed to noise at 70 decibels or above risk hearing loss if the noise is not somehow mitigated, such as through the use of earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. A single noise at 120 decibels or above can cause immediate hearing loss.

A whisper is roughly 30 decibels and normal conversation is typically 60 decibels. A motorcycle engine would be about 95 decibels which would cause hearing loss over time by destroying the delicate hair cells in the inner ear that convert vibration from the eardrum to electrical signals sent to the brain to recognize sound. Those hair cells cannot be restored which makes hearing loss a permanent condition.

Symptoms and signs of hearing loss include:

  • Speech and other sounds are muffled;

  • Difficulty understanding words, especially when there is background or crowd noise;

  • Needing to increase volume on radios, phones, and other devices; and,

  • Difficulty hearing consonants.

Anyone who works in an environment with noise at 70 decibels or above is a risk for occupational NIHL. This would include construction workers exposed to heavy equipment and power tools, factory workers operating or working near loud machinery, and military or law enforcement using firearms or explosives.



What is Work-Related Vision Loss?

Work-related vision loss is temporary or permanent loss of vision or visual acuity due to injury or conditions in the workplace. Vision loss can be the result of things such as chemical exposure, flying debris, falls, or long-term exposure to light.

Symptoms and signs of eye injury or vision loss include:

  • Changes in vision level from before an injury;

  • Bleeding in the eye;

  • Swelling near the eye socket;

  • Changes in pupil size;

  • Repeated tearing up;

  • Double vision;

  • Reduced field of vision;

  • A sensation of something in the eye;

  • Sensitivity to light; and,

  • Inability to fully close the eye.

Workers at risk include those working with or near chemicals, and those working with machinery that cuts, hones, or polishes materials and sends particles into the air, such as saw or lathe operators. Workers confined to spaces lighted with blue or fluorescent lighting and those routinely exposed to sunlight may also be at risk. Finally, since a fall or concussion can cause eye injuries, workers in environments where falls or the danger of objects falling on them risk injury.

Can I File for Workers’ Compensation
Benefits for Hearing or Vision Loss?

If your employer is required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance, and if you can document proof that hearing loss, vision loss, or eye injury was caused by what you do at work, you can file a claim for compensation. Because loss of hearing and vision is more difficult to prove than, for example, a broken leg resulting from a ladder collapse at work, you should retain an Oregon workers’ compensation attorney who has represented clients like you.

What Types of Benefits Can I Seek?

Workers’ compensation provides temporary disability benefits and permanent disability benefits. Which type you pursue, and it could be both, depends on the injury. Any disability resulting from the injury may be temporary or, especially with hearing loss, permanent. Besides paying for the medical treatment you need, workers' compensation will pay weekly benefits. The amount paid is based on disability level, the number of paid weeks allowed for that injury, and your current hourly wage.

Hearing loss is permanent, so compensation should include hearing aids, training, or devices that allow you to function more normally.

Hearing and Vision Loss Injury
Attorney in Beaverton, Oregon

Although you can pursue a workers’ compensation claim on your own, even the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division recommends consulting with an attorney to help guide you through the process. Your employer’s insurer is motivated to deny claims to make the insurance company more profitable. The challenge of proving that hearing or vision loss was caused by work activity makes these claims easier for insurers to deny.


Michael J. Orlando understands how insurance companies work. He once worked in the insurance industry, helping to deny claims. After seeing injured workers denied fair compensation, he decided to change sides and represent injury victims instead. If you live or work in Beaverton, Oregon, or in Eugene, Salem, or Portland and you believe that the workplace has caused you to lose your hearing or vision, the Law Office of Michael J. Orlando may be able to help. Workers’ compensation claims are time-sensitive so don’t wait. Call now to schedule a free consultation.