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Received Noise Induced Hearing Loss (ONIHL) Notice, Now What?

Received Noise Induced Hearing Loss (ONIHL) Notice, Now What?

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Employers are responsible to provide adequate hearing protection to employees they expose to loud noises, level that is greater than 85 decibels (dBA) for eight or more hours. The Time Weighted Average (TWA) is reduced by 50% for every 5 dBA and increased in noise levels. US Labor Law   29 CFR 1910.95(c)(1)  https://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/noise/hcp/

The New York Labor Code § 49-EE holds the last employer responsible for all ONIHL unless that New York State Employer gives notice to the prior employer(s) putting them on alert that if the employee files a hearing loss claim after permanently retired, they may be in part liable for the loss.


Occupational Health Expert WitnessAn NY 49-EE letter of notification must be sent to all previous employers with the test results within 90 days of hire. It is recommended employers in other states do the same thing to prevent responsibility for hearing losses that were not caused by that employer.


The best time to prepare for defense is when you first receive an ONIHL notification. It may not be needed for many decades, but having all the necessary information together will make the future defense much easier and defendable. Before filing such this letter in the employee’s (who no longer works for you) health file.

Items to collect and attach to the 49-EE notice of pre-existing hearing loss

  • Copy of all hearing tests performed during employment (if tests were performed)
  • Dates of employment
  • Verify where the employee worked in your company
  • Copy of Noise Levels / surveillance of those work areas (was the employee working in areas where his/her exposure to noise was greater than 85 dBA for eight or more hours a day at work or > 90 dBA for 4 hours, etc.…)
  • Attach all 49-EE  letters received from other employers
  • Attached a copy of any 49-EE letters you sent to previous employers
  • Attached any relevant employee health records, such as records of prescribed ototoxic medications


Med League Legal Nurse consulting provides Occupational Health expert witness to review and opine on these types of cases.  Contact us today to review your next case!

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