Welfare Notes - January 2003

January, 2003

Shipboard life and working conditions can be very damaging to hearing of the ships sailors. With needle guns, chipping hammers, compressors, winches, generators, on board it isn’t surprising that hearing loss strikes a large number of maritime personnel.

Most people lose their hearing slowly, over a 15 to 20 year period because regular and repeated noise exposure damages the cells of the inner ear. It is recommended that you have your hearing checked once a year along with your annual physical. Wear earplugs when you must work around loud noise, such as a needle gun or “hurdy gurdy.” To be effective, earplugs must block the ear canal, creating an airtight seal. They come in various sizes and are usually made of foam that expands to create the seal. Industrial earmuffs cover the entire outside of the ear and are also helpful.

If an active member finds the required need for a hearing aid to continue employment or to participate in normal activities and this is certified by a licensed physician, then the S.U.P Welfare Plan may help you. The Welfare Plan has a benefit allowance for active members who may need hearing aids. This benefit allowance is for $400 per ear and will be payable once in four years. For further information on this benefit, please refer to your Summary Plan Description book or contact the S.U.P. Welfare Plan.

Retired S.U.P. members on the Annual Medical Allowance may use this money for hearing related items. For more information on hearing and hearing loss, you may check the Internet. One site that may help iswww.hearinglossweb.com