Not all workplace injuries cause visible damage to your body. There are plenty of conditions that you cannot see that result from exposure in the work environment to hazards or other situations. Even though these conditions may be more difficult to diagnose, they still qualify as workplace injuries under workers' compensation. One such condition is tinnitus, which Medline Plus defines as a continuous noise in the ear.
The condition varies from person to person, so describing it clearly is tough. Some people may have a soft sound that just exists in the background. Others may have a loud sound that interferes with their ability to hear clearly and to function. The noise may sound like buzzing, ringing or hissing. It is any type of noise that is not present in the environment and only heard by you on a continuous basis. It is steady and never-ending. You may have the condition in just one ear or both ears.
Tinnitus affects your hearing. The effect may be subtle or severe. Often, if you have this condition, you will also have some level of hearing loss. It also may lead to psychological issues, such as anxiety and depression. It can affect your ability to do your job and may also prevent you from sleeping soundly.
Anyone can get this condition. Exposure to loud noise is a common cause for workplace-related tinnitus. A head injury or injuries to the ear may also cause the condition. There is no cure and limited treatment options. This information is for education and is not legal advice.