Although the process surrounding a claim for Noise Induced Hearing Loss appears to be straight forward, the strict processes of WorkCover WA can often be confusing and overwhelming for a worker.

In Western Australia a claim for Noise Induced Hearing Loss is not like that of a usual workers’ compensation claim. Noise Induced Hearing Loss is a gradual onset of hearing loss caused by high levels of noise exposure as opposed to a sudden loss of hearing due to a workplace accident such as an explosion or head trauma.

A worker will only be submitted to regular testing by an employer if they are employed in a prescribed noisy workplace. A workplace is considered to be noisy only when the worker receives or is likely to receive a personal noise dose of 90dB(A) or above during an eight hour shift. [1] This level of sound matches that of an idling heavy truck at a distance of one metre.

However, if a worker is exposed to noise levels above a peak exposure of 140dB(lin) at any time they will also require testing. 140dB(lin) is approximately equal to the peak noise from a mid to high calibre firearm at the user’s ear. [2]

It is important that if a worker feels they are employed in a noisy environment, they request in writing that their employer submit them to a hearing test. A WorkCover WA approved audiologist must complete this testing and calibrated equipment must also be used. If this process is not followed, any testing completed will not be registered with WorkCover WA and therefore cannot be used for the purpose of a workers’ compensation claim for Noise Induced Hearing Loss.

Importantly, a worker only has 3 months from the date they leave or retire from their employment to request an exit hearing test if their employer has not already done so.

If as a worker you join a noisy industry or work environment it is extremely important to ensure you undergo a WorkCover WA approved baseline hearing assessment when you commence your employment. Without a baseline assessment, you may compromise your entitlements.

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If you work in a noisy environment or believe your hearing has deteriorated due to your work, contact our industrial deafness lawyers for an obligation free discussion.


A guide to Noise Induced Hearing Loss, WorkCover WA.