Tinnitus, accompanied by noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), in workers continuously exposed to hazardous noise is an occupational disease (under s.2(1) and s.15 of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act) which is peculiar to and characteristic of a process, trade or occupation involving exposure to hazardous noise in Ontario.
Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sound (such as a ringing or hissing) in the absence of an acoustic stimulus.
Claims for tinnitus are eligible for compensation under the following circumstances
- there is an accepted claim for occupational noise-induced hearing loss,
- there is a clear and adequate history of 2 or more years of continuous and severe tinnitus,
- the condition has been confirmed by a specialist with facilities for testing tinnitus.
Permanent impairment from tinnitus is assessed using the rating schedule prescribed in section 18(1), O.Reg 175/98. According to the prescribed rating schedule, tinnitus is not measurable, and therefore, the physician "should assign a degree of impairment that is based on severity and importance, and is consistent with established values." A permanent impairment of 2% for tinnitus is judged to be consistent with established values. Permanent impairment ratings for NIHL and tinnitus are added using the AMA combined values chart.
This policy applies to all claims with an accident date of January 2, 1990, or after. The accident date for tinnitus is the date of first documented evidence for severe, continuous tinnitus.
For Tinnitus, Pre-January, 1990, see 16-01-07, Tinnitus, pre-January 2, 1990.
This document replaces 04-03-11.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, as amended
Sections 2(1), 15(1), 15(2), 119(1)
O.Reg 175/98, section 18
Board of Directors
#8(XV), June 10, 2004, Page 6619