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Statutes Text

Article - Labor and Employment


    (a)    (1)    Hearing loss shall be measured by audiometric instrumentation that meets the following criteria:

            (i)    ANSI 3.6-1996;

            (ii)    ANSI S3.43-1992; and

            (iii)    ANSI 3.39-1987 or any ANSI standard that supersedes the previous calibration or measurement criteria.

        (2)    Measurements shall be conducted in a sound room that meets the ANSI 3.1-1991 criteria for maximum permissible ambient noise for audiometric test rooms.

        (3)    Behavioral psychoacoustic measurements shall be obtained with instrumentation that utilizes insert earphones, as referenced in ANSI 3.6-1996.

        (4)    Electrodiagnostic measurements such as auditory evoked potentials, acoustic emittance measurements, or distortion product otoacoustic emissions may be obtained to determine the nature and extent of workplace hearing loss.

        (5)    Audiologic results shall be used in conjunction with other information to evaluate a claimant’s compensable hearing loss.

    (b)    (1)    The percentage of hearing loss for purposes of compensation for occupational deafness shall be determined by calculating the average, in decibels, of the thresholds of hearing for the frequencies of 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 hertz in accordance with paragraph (2) of this subsection.

        (2)    The average of the thresholds in hearing shall be calculated by:

            (i)    adding together the lowest measured losses in each of the 4 frequencies; and

            (ii)    dividing the total by 4.

        (3)    To allow for the average amount of hearing loss from nonoccupational causes found in the population at any given age, there shall be deducted from the total average decibel loss determined under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection one-half of a decibel for each year of the covered employee’s age over 50 at the time of the last exposure to industrial noise.

    (c)    (1)    If the average hearing loss in the 4 frequencies determined under subsection (b) of this section is 25 decibels or less, the covered employee does not have a compensable hearing loss.

        (2)    If the average hearing loss in the 4 frequencies determined under subsection (b) of this section is 91.7 decibels or more, the covered employee has a 100% compensable hearing loss.

        (3)    For every decibel that the average hearing loss exceeds 25 decibels, the covered employee shall be allowed 1.5% of the compensable hearing loss, up to a maximum of 100% compensable hearing loss at 91.7 decibels.

    (d)    The binaural percentage of hearing loss shall be determined by:

        (1)    multiplying the percentage of hearing loss in the better ear by 5;

        (2)    adding that product to the percentage of hearing loss in the poorer ear; and

        (3)    dividing that sum by 6.

    (e)    (1)    In determining the percentage of hearing loss under this section, consideration may not be given to whether the use of an amplification device improves the ability of a covered employee to understand speech or enhance behavioral hearing thresholds.

        (2)    (i)    In determining a workers’ compensation claim for noise-related hearing loss, audiologic data shall use both bone conduction and air conduction results.

            (ii)    If a conductive loss is present, the bone conduction thresholds for each ear, rather than the air conduction levels, shall be used to calculate a claimant’s average hearing loss.

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