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Established in 1985, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) is the final level of appeal to which workers and employers may bring disputes concerning workplace safety and insurance matters in Ontario. WSIAT has always been separate from and independent of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

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  Decision 396 14
6/6/2014
B. Alexander

  • Board Directives and Guidelines (hearing loss) (presbycusis factor)
  • Hearing loss

In 2010, the worker claimed entitlement for hearing loss. In 2011, the Board granted the worker entitlement, based on an audiogram in 2010. The Board limited entitlement to health care benefits. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying a NEL award for permanent impairment.
The worker had retired in 2000. In accordance with Board policy, the Board applied the presbycusis factor of 0.5 decibels of hearing loss for every year the worker is over the age of 60. That resulted in a reduction of the worker's hearing loss by 4.5 decibels bilaterally to 26.75 decibels in one ear and 24.25 decibels in the other ear. This was sufficient hearing loss for health care benefits but not for a NEL award.
The worker submitted that his hearing loss was the same now as it was when he retired in 2000. However, the Vice-Chair noted that the Board policy states that hearing loss is to be calculated based on the earliest of the date of the claim or the date of the documented evidence of hearing loss which, in this case, was the date of the audiogram in 2010. The policy requires deduction of the presbycusis factor. The policy is directive and provides for no exceptions.
The Board properly calculated the hearing loss and correctly determined that the worker was not entitled to a NEL award. The appeal was dismissed.