The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) recently issued a board resolution updating the conditions for compensability of deafness pursuant to its policy of upgrading the EC benefit structure for workers.

Under ECC Board Resolution No. 14-10-32 dated 08 October 2014, the revised conditions for the compensability of deafness which shall now be referred to as occupational hearing loss is categorized under three conditions namely noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), acoustic trauma, and physical trauma.

Noise-induced hearing loss, characterized as a gradual sensorineural hearing loss that usually affects both ears, permanent/irreversible, and affecting the 3000 to 6000 Hz level but commonly affects and is worst at the 4000 Hz level, results from the workers’ exposure to harmful noise levels in higher frequencies in the workplace.

The Board Resolution also identified two other contingencies or eventualities during work activity that can cause direct damage to the eardrum or inner ear.

One is acoustic trauma or the exposure of the worker to sudden burst of sound such as an explosive blast in the workplace which may result in a conductive or mixed type of hearing loss.

The other is physical trauma which is a result of,  but not limited to, motor vehicle accidents, blunt head trauma, fall, explosions, burns from caustic chemicals, and open flames or welder’s slag that enter the ear canal.

“The ECC is continuously striving to enhance and update its policies to better address the need and extend assistance to workers,” ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis said.

The resolution is a result of a series of consultation meetingsconducted with representatives of the Regional Tripartite Industrial Council-4A, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), Philippine College of Occupational Medicine (PCOM), Philippine Government Employees’ Association (PGEA), Chamber of Mines, Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP), and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC).