- Board Directives and Guidelines (hearing loss)
- Hearing loss
The worker had hearing loss of 21 decibels in the right ear and 39.75 decibels in the left ear. The Board denied the worker entitlement because the worker's hearing loss was insufficient to meet the threshold of 22.5 decibels in each ear. In Decision No. 883/16, the Tribunal granted the worker initial entitlement for the hearing loss on the basis of the merits and justice. The Board then granted benefits, including hearing aids.The worker's estate now appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying a NEL award for the noise-induced hearing loss and denying entitlement for tinnitus.Entitlement to benefits for hearing loss is distinct from entitlement to a NEL award for hearing loss. Entitlement to benefits flows when a worker reaches the threshold of 22.5 decibels loss in each ear and there is persuasive evidence of work-relatedness. Decision No. 883/16 granted entitlement on the merits and justice basis, even though the worker's hearing loss in the right ear did not meet the threshold. However, the threshold for a NEL award is higher. If symmetrical, the threshold for a NEL award is 26.25 decibels loss in each ear. If asymmetrical, the threshold for a NEL award is 25 decibels loss in one ear and 32.5 decibels loss in the other ear. The worker in this case had asymmetrical hearing loss. The worker did not meet the threshold for asymmetrical hearing loss. The hearing loss of 21 decibels in the right ear was too wide a gap from the threshold of 25 decibels to grant a NEL award. The Vice-Chair concluded that the worker was not entitled to a NEL award for noise-induced hearing loss.On the evidence, the worker met the threshold for entitlement for tinnitus. He had an accepted claim for noise-induced hearing loss, the condition was confirmed by a specialist and there was a clear and adequate history of two or more years of continuous and severe tinnitus. The Vice-Chair concluded that the worker had entitlement for tinnitus.The appeal was allowed in part.