Q: I have worked in numerous mechanic shops over the years. Recently, my hearing has gotten worse. I had my hearing tested and found that I do have hearing loss. However, because all of my jobs have involved loud noises, my doctor has no idea which one caused the hearing loss. What do I do now?
A: Hearing loss claims, if not due to a singular event, such as an explosion, often occur due to repetitive trauma to the ears caused by loud noises occurring day after day. Because of this, it is often difficult to decide or determine when and where the hearing loss first began. Because of this difficulty, the Washington Supreme Court has determined that the employer to be held responsible for the hearing loss claim is the current employer when the condition first becomes disabling or requires medical treatment. This determination applies to all occupational disease claims, including repetitive stress trauma injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Learn more about workers’ compensation claims.