One of the most common causes of hearing loss is exposure to excessive noise in the workplace. This is sometimes known as industrial deafness.
Hearing loss does not become apparent overnight and often the person suffering the loss is the last to realise or accept that something is not quite right with their hearing. If you find that you need the television volume on high to hear, have trouble hearing in crowded rooms, or difficulty hearing young children or having to ask people to repeat themselves, you may have hearing loss.
What To Do
If you have ever worked around noise we recommend the following course of action:
- Contact Duncan Basheer Hannon by free calling 1800 324 324 or send us a message and we will put you in contact with qualified audiologists. The audiologist will carry out a free, quick and non-invasive test called an audiogram. This test will identify, with a high degree of accuracy, if you have noise induced hearing loss or industrial deafness.
- If your test results reveal a noise induced hearing loss we will have you complete a short questionnaire to provide us with some additional information, along with a brief employment history. We can assist you with completing this questionnaire.
- We will then assess the information and determine if a compensation claim for industrial deafness is likely to succeed.
- If we think a claim will succeed and you would like to bring a claim, we will prepare all necessary documentation to gather the information we require in support of your claim.
- Once we have all of the information we will submit your claim.
Frequently Asked Questions
The two basic things to prove a case are:
- an audiogram confirming hearing loss consistent with industrial deafness; and
- a history of working in noisy environments.
Your entitlements under the current legislation are:
- State-of-the-art hearing aids paid for by ReturnToWorkSA for the rest of your life including servicing and batteries. Currently, quality hearing aids retail for approximately $8,000.00 or more, with ongoing costs of $110 per year for batteries and servicing.
- A lump sum for your loss in addition to payment of hearing aids, if your hearing loss is over the required threshold of 5% Whole Person Impairment. The percentages take into account age related hearing loss and any other probable causes. The minimum payment is $10,0000 if you meet the threshold.
- In limited cases of severe hearing loss, if you are not able to work and are under retirement age, you may be entitled to weekly payments.
- The Return to Work Act 2014 (SA) and the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1986 require claims for noise induced hearing loss be submitted to the last noisy employer. Whilst it may seem more appropriate or fair to direct the claim to the employer where you believe the hearing loss was originally caused, or where most of the loss occurred, the law in South Australia requires the claim to be presented to the last noisy employer.
- It does not matter if your employer has closed down. The claim will be dealt with by ReturnToWorkSA (formerly WorkCover) who will take on liability for any entitlement.
- No, if we can obtain an audiogram to show noise induced hearing loss and we can prove your employment (we can do this through obtaining tax records, superannuation records, Centrelink records or documents you might have including photos at work, a reference, certificate of commendation etc, then you will have a claim.
- Most claims are finalised in three to six months.
- You will only have to pay legal fees if we are successful in obtaining a lump sum payment for you in addition to having your claim accepted for payment of medical expenses (including hearing aids, batteries and servicing etc). If you do not qualify for a lump sum payment, we do not get paid – this is sometimes called no win, no fee, and it means what it says.
- We do not require payment of any money up front and if your claim is not successful you will not be responsible for payment of any fees to anybody.
- We will still endeavor to have your claim accepted by ReturnToWorkSA. There is no charge for this service.
- Upon receipt of your claim, ReturnToWorkSA (or a self-insured employer) may require you to attend an appointment with a ReturnToWorkSA approved Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist for an Independent Medical Assessment to obtain a report about your hearing loss. We will provide you with all details and directions. You will not be required to pay for the assessment or the report.
- You will be responsible for the cost of getting to and from the appointment, although if your claim is accepted, we will be able to seek reimbursement for these travel expenses.
- Once your claim is accepted, you will be required to undergo a Permanent Impairment Assessment with a ReturnToWork approved assessor of your choice in order to determine what percentage of your hearing loss is due to exposure to noise. Any entitlements you may have to a lump sum payment will then be determined on the basis of the assessment.
- The assessments will each take around an hour and will seem very similar to you. However, report provided by the ENT Specialist for the Permanent Impairment Assessment will be more detailed and must comply with strict guidelines.
Why should I contact Duncan Basheer Hannon?
If you require help filling out the questionnaire or would like a copy mailed to you, please contact Duncan Basheer Hannon.
Please contact Hayley Gagin by telephone on (08) 8216 3378 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.