Until recent times, the damage caused by working in noisy environments was not fully appreciated by many companies.
The state government provide a scheme for employees who have incurred occupational hearing loss with access to compensation, which includes hearing aids and rehabilitation. This scheme is administered by WorkCover SA.
What is noise-induced hearing loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss is an irreversible condition that can have a significant impact on a worker’s life. The majority of work-related hearing loss injuries occur over an extended period of time, sometimes many years, as a result of exposure to industrial noise. We refer to this type of hearing loss as a gradual onset injury. This type of hearing loss can present during employment, or not be identified by the worker until many years after exposure.
Hearing loss can also result from exposure to sudden loud noises, such as explosions, gunshots or heavy hammering. These types of noises are commonly referred to as ‘impact’ noises and, if loud enough, can cause immediate, permanent damage.
Claiming for noise-induced hearing loss
Importantly, there is no age limit and it doesn’t matter if you have resigned from the position or retired. The claim is lodged against the relevant employer who will either be self insured or represented by a compensating authority, such as Employers Mutual Limited or Comcare.
What can be claimed?
If a claim is submitted under the state-based workers compensation scheme, claims can be for the following:
- Reimbursement of any hearing aids already purchased
- Approval for a future hearing aids purchase
- Potential lump sum