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Low frequency loss counts 20 WCMS 4

Shone v Country Energy [2007] NSW WCC MA18. Lancken Arb, Drs Brian Williams & Kenneth Howison. 10.08.07.

In this further hearing loss claim, AMS Dr Joseph Scoppa issued MAC of binaural loss of 17% warranting additional 3% WPI.

The worker qualified Dr Finlay Jones reported 42.7% loss with 21% WPI. The insurer qualified Dr Carroll found 17.7% loss with 9% WPI.

The panel said [19]: "...Dr Scoppa states that only the losses at 2000, 3000 and 4000 Hz should be taken into account when assessing industrial deafness. The panel's view is that this depends on the facts in each individual matter including the nature and duration of occupational noise exposure and the extent of all the hearing losses including those at the lower frequencies below 2000 Hz.

"However where a claimant has been exposed to the nature of occupational noise as in this matter, and for 49 years as in this matter, and has hearing loss to the extent as in this matter the panel is satisfied all the hearing loss including the losses at the lower frequencies below 2000 Hz are caused by occupational noise exposure."

Later [24]: "Neither AMA 5 or the Workcover Guidelines require that hearing losses at low frequencies (500, 1000, and 1,500Hz) not be considered for the purpose of assessing binaural hearing loss."

The panel declared studies, such as by Sataloff & Sataloff, supported the contention lengthy noisy exposure might occasion lower frequency loss. Audiometric testing was "relatively consistent", and the panel relied on Dr Scoppa's.

New certificate 43.8% binaural loss, less 2% prebycusis, nil pre-existing non-related loss, no addition for severe tinnitus, 21% WPI less prior 6%, yielding 15% additional WPI.

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