Work-related noise-induced hearing loss can happen when a person has had long-term exposure to hazardous noise levels in the workplace and is considered an occupational disease under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA).
If you are a current or past employer of someone submitting a claim for noise-induced hearing loss benefits related to hazardous noise exposure in their workplace, you must report the details to us to meet your reporting obligations under the WSIA.
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational diseases, and one of the most preventable. Learn more about noise hazards in the workplace and find health and safety resources for Ontario workplaces.
When do I make a noise-induced hearing loss claim?
You should file a claim when you become aware that a current or former employee has been diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss that they are claiming is related to noise exposure at your workplace.
If your current or former employee has already submitted a claim, we will send you an Employer’s Report of Occupational Noise Induced Hearing Loss (PDF). You must complete it and return the form to us within 30 days. The form can be completed online, and then mailed or faxed.
What happens when you receive a noise-induced hearing loss claim?
We have a specially trained team of noise-induced hearing loss adjudicators, audiologists and occupational hygienists who have experience with noise-induced hearing loss. Our priority is to provide you and your current or former employee with quality service and to get decisions to you quickly.
Once we receive information about the claim, we will assign a claim number and a noise-induced hearing loss adjudicator. The noise-induced hearing loss adjudicator on the claim will contact you to provide you with the claim number and collect any additional information they need to make a decision in the claim. We will then review information from you, your employee, and their health-care provider to decide if your employee is entitled to WSIB benefits.
What information do I need to provide for a noise-induced hearing loss claim?
Once you, or a former or current employee, has submitted a claim for noise-induced hearing loss, we may ask you to provide information on the person’s employment and noise exposure information related to your workplace.
It is helpful if you can:
- Confirm the employee’s employment history with your business, including positions, dates of employment and job description(s) or work duties for all jobs held.
- Confirm the average hours the employee worked per week.
- Describe the types of equipment, tools or machinery used: when, how often and for how long.
- Provide noise exposure information on your workplace, including:
- Documentation regarding any noise controls in place, including hearing protection or hearing conservation programs.
- Any sound surveys, noise exposure assessments or equipment specific noise data you may have that is relevant to any jobs the employee had.
- Audiometric testing for the employee, including pre and post-employment audiograms, if available.
What happens when there is more than one employer involved in a noise-induced hearing claim?
Noise-induced hearing loss is cumulative and can happen when someone is exposed to continued and excessive noise over time. When we look at a noise-induced hearing claim, we consider a person’s work history with employers who are covered under Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. As a result, a claim can involve more than one employer.
While there may be multiple workplaces contributing to a person’s overall noise exposure and hearing loss, there is only one employer of record on the claim. In allowed claims, the employer of record is the last employer to expose the person to hazardous noise. This means the claim will appear on that employer’s WSIB cost statement.
Are noise-induced hearing loss claims included in the New Experimental Experience Rating Plan?
How do I provide accommodations for an employee with noise-induced hearing loss?
Making sure work is safe and productive for your employee with hearing loss means you may have to make accommodations, including:
- protecting your employee from residual hearing loss if your workplace is in a noise-exposed environment;
- making changes to allow your employee to hear warning signals or to monitor equipment; and
- changing or adapting the communication requirements of the job.
The resources below can help you to accommodate an employee who has hearing loss:
- Working With Hearing Loss – A guide for Employees, Employers and Entrepreneurs (Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, CHHA) (PDF)
- Ontario’s Health and Safety Associations
When making a decision on noise-induced hearing loss claims, we are guided by the following policies:
- 16-01-03 Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
- 16-01-04 Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, On/After January 2, 1990
For more information, you can call us at 416-344-1000 (TTY: 1-800-387-0050) or 1-800-387-0750 with any questions, Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.