Have you heard about the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) policy change? It has a lot of people upset, especially hearing health-care professionals. They’re saying the change is not fair for workers and that it can negatively impact their hearing and their lives.
Not Fair for Workers with Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)
Since 2009, there have been significant cuts to WSIB’s hearing loss program. The latest cuts, in January, have reduced the number of hearing aid products available for injured workers to those from just three manufacturers. That’s down from 10.
If you’re a worker with a NIHL, this is bad news. Hundreds of models of hearing aids are produced because the needs of people with NIHL vary widely. There are many types and degrees of hearing loss. Everybody’s different. Access to a variety of choices means hearing health-care providers can provide the best product to meet an individual’s unique needs.
Inadequate options can severely limit people’s quality of life. And since so many choices have been taken away, injured workers will be suffering—in silence.
“With so many studies showing links between hearing loss and overall health (links to dementia, increased rates of falls, decreased quality of life, less time spent socializing, etc) these changes are not in the best interest of the workers,” according to a website set up to fight the WSIB changes.
The website, fair4workers.com, is aiming to help workers get the benefits they deserve. “The implemented restrictions to hearing aid prescription are severely limiting. In some cases, they may actually constitute harm. It is short sighted and not in the best interest of workers,” according to audiologist Carol Boychuk.
In addition, fair4workers.com reports, injured workers’ claims are also being denied because of inaccurate calculations for NIHL benefits.
What can you do about it? Here’s what:
– Get details at fair4workers.com.
– Please sign the online petition on Change.org.
– Send a letter to WSIB and your MPP expressing your concerns with the new program. There’s a sample letter on the website that you can use and sign.
– The final way to help is to share the information with friends and colleagues, asking them to join in the campaign.