Work-acquired illnesses come in many forms. Some people are exposed to carcinogenic chemicals and develop cancer because of the job they do. Someone who witnesses violence at work could develop a mental health illness, while those exposed to pathogens could develop an infectious disease.
Like those who suffered traumatic injuries on the job, workers who developed an illness because of their employment often have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. However, they first have to connect their medical condition to the job that they do.
Recognizing an illness as a possible result of your employment is the first step toward getting benefits. What is the most common work-acquired illness?
The most common condition isn’t actually an illness
According to data analysis performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hearing loss is the single most common work-related medical condition that workers develop in the United States. Roughly 30 million workers have ongoing workplace exposure to hazardous noises, and the CDC recognizes that another 9 million workers are at risk of other conditions that could lead to hearing loss.
Hearing loss is so common on the job that many employers consider it a standard consequence of long-term employment. Workers in loud environments or those subjected to very high or low pitch noises may have more risk than others for hearing loss on the job.
Thankfully, workers’ compensation can cover medical care and assistive technology for those who lose some or all of their hearing because of the job they do. Getting benefits can sometimes require a bit of support, but the benefits of an approved claim could help offset the damage that hearing loss does to your life.