Millions of Americans suffer severe hearing impairments that make it difficult for them to communicate. Although such impairments may result from many things, people who are exposed to loud noises or sounds at work may also have permanent hearing losses as a result.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high-frequency hearing loss due to workplace or leisure activity exposure to noise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines hearing impairments as those that lessen the person's ability to hear sounds at certain frequencies or intensities. The impairments can range in severity level from mild to profound.
People who are older when they suffer a hearing impairment may have a more difficult time adjusting to it than people who suffer one at a younger age. Older people are less likely to be able to use such things as American Sign Language in order to aid communication. The EEOC stresses that, although employers may believe that hearing-impaired workers pose workplace safety issues, that is simply not the case. The EEOC indicates that hearing-impaired workers work just as hard as do others, and the agency requires them to be be provided with reasonable accommodations at their places of employment pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
People who face workplace discrimination due to a hearing impairment may be able to file a complaint about the treatment they receive. Employers are required by the ADA to provide disabled workers with reasonable accommodations in order to assist them with being able to continue in their jobs, and hearing-impaired people are covered under that statute. Those workers who believe that their employers have discriminated against them due to their hearing losses may want to meet with an employment law attorney to discuss the procedures for filing a claim for damages.