In Pennsylvania, a worker may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits after the worker sustains an injury in the course and scope of her employment. While the “injury” may be generally thought of in terms of a physical injury, workers’ compensation benefits extend beyond such a generality. Specifically, Section 306(c)(8), 77 P.S. Section 513(8) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act spells out the burden for an injured worker seeking recognition of her work-related hearing loss due to exposure from hazardous, long-term noise conditions.
Establishing Hearing Loss
The first hurdle to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for hazardous, long-term work-related hearing loss requires a showing of actual hearing loss in the injured worker. Specifically, Section 306(c)(8), 77 P.S. Section 513(8)(iii) notes that if the binaural hearing impairment as calculated under the AMA Impairment Guides (notably, the 4th edition) is less than 10%, no benefits are payable. Alternatively, if the binaural impairment is equal to or greater than 75%, there is a presumption of total hearing impairment.
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