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Hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise is very common in Australia among people who work with heavy machinery and power tools in industries like construction, manufacturing, and mining.

If you are suffering from partial or complete hearing loss as a result of your work, you may be eligible to make an industrial hearing loss claim for industrial deafness compensation.

What is industrial deafness?

Industrial deafness refers to hearing loss that is caused by exposure to loud noise at work. The condition can develop from working in a noisy environment for a long period of time without adequate hearing protection, as well as from a one-off exposure to extremely high levels of noise.

The symptoms of industrial deafness vary from person to person, but some common symptoms that you may have include:

  • Temporary or permanently reduced hearing in one or both ears
  • Difficulty understanding other people in environments with high levels of background noise
  • A constant ringing or buzzing in one or both ears
  • Not being able to follow parts of the conversation despite trying to pay attention

What industries are most commonly associated with industrial deafness?

Industrial deafness can affect those working at many different industries, but some that pose a higher risk than others include:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Transport
  • Entertainment (such as music venues and events)

What are my legal rights regarding industrial deafness compensation claims?

Reasonable cost of medical services and hearing aids

WorkSafe can cover the reasonable costs for your hearing services and devices. The different medical services that are covered include medical consultations regarding your hearing needs, as well as hearing devices to help you adjust to your work-related hearing loss.

Weekly payments for time lost from work

If you are unable to perform the work that you were performing before your hearing injury, you can make a workplace hearing loss compensation claim for weekly expenses to cover part of your lost income.

Your weekly payments will be based on your pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE) for the last 52-weeks. If you have been with your employer for less than 1-year (52-weeks), your PIAWE will be calculated based on the amount of time you have been employed there.

The compensation rates will differ based on whether you are able to do some work or if you cannot work at all:

Duration of Claim Work Capacity Compensation Details
First 13-weeks No current work capacity 95% of pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE), capped at double the Victorian average weekly earnings (currently $2,660* per week).
  Some current work capacity 95% of PIAWE, minus current earnings, capped at double the Victorian average weekly earnings (currently $2,660* per week).
Week 14 to 130 No current work capacity 80% of PIAWE, with the same cap. Overtime and shift allowances are excluded from PIAWE after 52 weeks.
  Some current work capacity 80% of PIAWE, subject to the statutory maximum of double the Victorian average weekly earnings (currently $2,660* per week).
After 130 weeks No current work capacity (and indefinite) 80% of PIAWE, subject to the statutory maximum of double the Victorian average weekly earnings (currently $2,660* per week).
  Some current work capacity Weekly payments may continue if: working at least 15 hours per week and earning at least $228** per week; and unlikely to increase work capacity in the future due to injury or illness.

Lump sum payment for permanent impairment

You may also be eligible to make an impairment benefits claim and obtain a lump sum payment. As part of this process, you will have to undergo a medical examination by a WorkSafe approved doctor who will calculate your degree of impairment. The lump sum payment that you receive will correspond to the degree of your hearing loss.

Our expert workplace compensation lawyers can help you determine your specific entitlements and assist you in making your industrial deafness claim.

Contact us on 03 9603 3000 to get in touch with our hearing loss team.

How long do I have to make a work-related hearing loss claim?

There is no time limit in which you have to make a claim for industrial deafness in Victoria. However, you should file your hearing loss claim as soon as you recognise the hearing loss and its connection to your workplace noise exposure to get the help you need.

You should note that if you wish to bring a common law claim against your employer for your hearing loss, there are strict time limits that apply. Get in touch with our industrial deafness legal specialists on 03 9603 3000  to obtain advice on your specific entitlements.

What is the process of filing an industrial deafness claim?

At Gordon Legal, we have developed a simple claims process to help you obtain the help you need:

  1. First, we will arrange an initial consultation with one of our industrial deafness experts and arrange a hearing test wish an audiologist.
  2. After an audiologist has conducted a hearing test, an ENT specialist will review the results and provide a detailed report.
  3. We will help you gather all the required documentation and submit the claim to the relevant insurer.
  4. Depending on your circumstances, the insurer may require you to undergo a medical assessment to confirm the extent of your hearing loss.
  5. You will receive your entitlements.

Navigating an industrial deafness lawsuit or any industry injury claim can be challenging. Get in touch with our industrial deafness solicitors who specialise in workplace deafness claims on 03 9603 3000  to ensure that your claim is handled properly, and your rights are protected.

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