Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Hearing Loss
August 29, 2017
- The hearing loss must be more than a 10% loss in both ears. The percentage of loss is measured by an audiogram conducted by a medical professional.
- The hearing loss must be work-related. Workers can recover benefits if they can show the hearing loss happened over time, normally years or even decades, and that the noise level at work was hazardous to their hearing. This is a general exception to the rule that injuries must be due to a specific accident. Most hearing loss is due to hazardous noise levels at work – such as when construction workers use jackhammers all day long
- The amount of benefits depends on the percentage loss of hearing. For a full loss of hearing, the benefits are 260 weeks of the worker’s average weekly wage (times 2/3). Any loss of hearing measured at more than 75% is presumed to be a full loss. The employer can try to rebut that presumption.
Damages for work-related hearing loss
Workers who can show their hearing loss was due to a specific trauma, such as an explosion, a vehicle accident, or a fall, can recover for the loss of hearing in either ear. For this type of work-related hearing loss, workers can receive up to 60 weeks average weekly wages (times 2/3) for permanent hearing loss in one ear and up to 260 weeks for hearing loss in both ears. In addition to wage loss benefits, any employee who loses his/her hearing is entitled to have the employer or the employer’s insurance company pay for reasonable medical bills to analyze and try to improve your hearing. Payment for hearing aids is also the employer’s responsibility.
Employers and insurance carriers will try to argue that your hearing loss pre-existed the date you started working for the employer. For example, they may argue that your hearing loss is hereditary. They can also argue that non-work factors caused your hearing loss. Many employers are required by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) to test their employee’s hearing on a yearly basis. Employees who refuse to take an audiogram paid for by the employer, at regular intervals, can lose their right to workers’ compensation hearing loss benefits. A few signs of work-related hearing loss are when co-workers need to yell at you more than normal or your ears ring. Employees should be given equipment that can reduce the amount of hazardous noise.
If you suspect you may have hearing loss, please contact us right away. There are time limits for when you can bring a hearing loss claim. At Larry Pitt & Associates, our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers understand what is needed to prove your hearing loss was due to hazardous conditions or due to a specific work event. To review your case now, please call us at 888.PITT.LAW or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent workers who were injured in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, or Berks County.