Question: I Have Suffered a Loss of Hearing Due to My Line of Work – Am I Eligible to Make a Claim?

In order to make a claim for hearing loss a worker needs to establish that the loss arose from the worker’s “noisy employment”. That is, loss of hearing is not enough to establish a claim. A medical assessment is undertaken to determine that the hearing loss is in fact related to the employment.

If a worker believes that they may have suffered industrial hearing loss they should consult their doctor and request a hearing test to be undertaken. Various hearing centres will provide free hearing tests.

Once the hearing test has been conducted which demonstrates hearing loss and examination is thereafter arranged with an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist to undertake a full assessment to determine:

Additional changes worthy of noting are as follows:

  1. The level of binaural (on both sides) hearing loss.
  2. The extent to which the hearing loss is attributable to the worker’s employment.
  3. Any recommended treatment, for example, the provision of a hearing aid.

It is important in the making of a claim for hearing loss to determine the “date of injury”. Generally speaking the date on which notice of the injury is given is deemed to be the date of injury. If at the time of giving notice the worker is not employed at a noisy workplace or at all, then the date of injury is deemed to be the last day that the worker was employed in a noisy workplace. A workers compensation insurer can seek a contribution from any previous noisy employers in the five-year period preceding the claim.

Once hearing loss has been established as being referable to a noisy workplace then a claim for compensation may be available. For injuries which occurred after 1 January 2002 a claim for lump sum compensation is only available if the worker is assessed as having an 11% whole person impairment or more arising from the hearing loss. In order to achieve this threshold the worker must establish a binaural hearing loss of at least 20.5%

For injuries before 1 January 2002 the hearing loss is compensable if assessed at being at least 6% or more binaural hearing loss.

Again yet another example of “reform” undertaken by a State Government which serves only to reduce the level of compensation available to an injured worker and for the benefit of the insurance companies.

An entitlement to the provision of hearing aids is not dependent however on the level of permanent impairment resulting from the hearing loss. Hearing aids are regarded as medical aids and therefore the cost of same is recoverable from the workers compensation insurer as long as you are able to establish that the necessity for the hearing aids arises from compensable hearing loss.

If you have suffered hearing loss then you should undertake an assessment to determine the extent of that loss and whether same is related to your employment. If so, contact the experts at Brydens Lawyers today for the purpose of a free initial consultation to assess your entitlements to compensation.