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What are my rights as an employee with hearing impaired which is affecting my job?

Hoffman Estates, IL |

I work in a clinical Labiratory with lots of background noises from machines. Refrig/freezesrs and instruments, telephones, causing my hearing being affected.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

This is probably more of an OSHA complaint or question than a workers' compensation issue, as you have not shown that you have sustained hearing loss yet. Work comp does compensate based upon decibels of loss.

Contact a lawyer familiar with industrial standards and rights.

Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
Chicago, IL

This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.


I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. The following is information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION.

As the previous responder noted, it isn't clear if you've lost any hearing from the noise at work. If you have, then yes, WCAB would be one remedy.

I also agree that the company many be violating OSHA regulations, and urge you to contact OSHA as quickly as possible: The Illinois office is in Chicago:

Regional Office
230 South Dearborn Street, Room 3244
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(312) 353-2220
(312) 353-7774 FAX

If you do have hearing loss -- whether from the job or otherwise -- you may have protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq. (ADA). Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA:

You may wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney in your state. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in your area, please go to the web site of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.

Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and in many cities. On the NELA web site, you can look at the list of affiliates. Some attorneys will be listed in the affiliate membership list, some in the national organization membership list, and some in both. Being listed in one or both lists should not influence your selection because attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase the listing in the national directory. Each local affiliate has its own rules for listing.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


To provide any meaningful response, you need to provide the noise level to which you are exposed, in decibels, the number of hours you are exposed to it on a daily basis, and the hearing loss that you have sustained. It is very unlikey that noise levels in a laboratory could possibly cause hearing loss.

If this information has been helpful, please indicate by clicking the up icon. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Links: