The Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia has updated its policy related to occupational hearing loss.
With the help of a stakeholder working group, the WCB Nova Scotia has made changes to the adjudication of hearing loss claims, in force on Jan. 1, to address consistency issues that have caused concern for stakeholders.
The board calls noise induced hearing loss a complicated issue, and says claims are often difficult to adjudicate because it can be difficult to figure out the exact cause. Hearing loss happens over time, and can make attributing its cause a challenge. This issue has caused lack of clarity and consistency between policy and practice, which has contributed to stakeholder concerns over the years.
The new policy will no longer have a deduction for natural age-related hearing loss, along with other administrative improvements. It also states new rules for entitlement to medical aid benefits such as hearing aids, requiring applicants to confirm a permanent medical impairment and get a hearing test done within five years of leaving a noisy workplace.
The hope is the changes will provide clarity and improveme the claims process. The changes are not expected to cause significant changes to claims costs.