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Is hearing loss covered under workers’ comp in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

In Illinois, workers’ compensation laws generally cover hearing impairment caused by exposure to harmful noise levels in the workplace. This coverage extends to both partial and total hearing loss.

If you have a work-related hearing impairment, it’s crucial to understand your rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

Compensable under the law

The Act provides guidelines for assessing hearing loss related to work. It focuses on the frequencies of 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 cycles per second. These frequencies are typically crucial for understanding speech. When determining your eligibility, evaluators measure your hearing loss in decibels, averaging across these three frequencies.

Here are some guidelines on how the state assesses each case:

  • If your average hearing loss is 30 decibels or less, it’s considered minor. In this case, you may not be eligible for benefits.
  • If your average hearing loss is 85 decibels or more, it’s considered severe. The law views it as a total or 100% compensable hearing loss. Declaring this type of hearing impairment may make you eligible for full benefits.
  • If your hearing loss falls between 30 and 85 decibels, the Act has a formula to compute the amount you can receive based on the percentage of hearing loss.

The state does not consider any improvement a hearing aid might provide. Evaluators assess your hearing loss as it is without the aid. Any compensation awarded is based on this unaided level of hearing.

Claiming benefits for hearing difficulty

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act has a specific system for assigning compensation. For instance, if you lose hearing in one ear, the compensation equates to 54 weeks of benefits. It’s essential to understand this system, especially in cases of hearing loss. By understanding, you can take full advantage of state laws and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.