Unbeknownst to many, workers compensation goes beyond simple injury in the workplace. In this blog, we illustrate a relatively unknown means by which workers compensation can be achieved: workplace-related hearing impairment. Considering the number of trades and vocations that involve significant and consistent noise levels, hearing loss due to work conditions occur to a far greater degree than is acknowledged.
Hearing Impairment Claims
Hearing impairment claims arise out of permanent hearing loss due to damaging working conditions. It is easier than many people recognise to develop permanent hearing loss – it only takes prolonged exposure to sound volumes 85db (decibels) and higher to cause reduced functionality. For reference, a regular conversation occurs at 60db and city traffic typically occurs at 80db.
Although it takes approximately 8 hours for damage to occur at 85db, it only takes 15 minutes for permanent hearing loss to occur at 100db. There are a wide variety of professions that deal with noise levels that have the potential to cause damage.
Heavy machinery and loud crowds are the main contributors to unhealthy sound levels in the workplace. Professions that can involve consistent excessive noise include dentists, bartenders, construction workercarpenters and those involved in the mining sector, ambulance drivers, flight crews and factory workers, and manufacturers.
There are many more industries that are affected, though – if your workplace has consistent noise levels that could be dangerous, there is a chance you might have suffered hearing loss.
What happens next?
If you suspect hearing loss due to a noisy workplace, it is advised that you make an appointment with a permanent hearing assessor, who can then conduct tests to judge whether you have hearing loss. To qualify for permanent impairment lump sum compensation, injured parties must have a 20.5 percent binaural hearing loss (hearing levels in both ears are combined when assessed). If workers are found to have hearing loss of this degree, you can supply us with your report and we can pursue matters on your behalf.
Because noise in the workplace is so consistent, hearing loss can be very gradual, with very small amounts of hearing loss occurring over the course of a long period of time. For this reason, workers may not realise they have suffered hearing loss until they are tested.
Do You qualify for workers compensation?
If you’ve experienced any injury in the workplace, on a work trip or if you’ve potentially suffered hearing loss due to a work-related noise, we at Marocchi Law would be very happy to walk you through the next steps. We have extensive experience with workplace claims, and you can be assured that we will be able to service you in the best way possible.
The initial steps in the workers compensation process involve first informing your employer within 30 days of the issue, and then filling in a workers compensation form. For more information regarding evaluation of permanent hearing impairmentin New South Wales, read through this brochure. If you live in another state and suffering from hearing loss, make sure to check your specific state regulations regarding hearing impairment.