Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Willie Parks v. Lukens Steel Company, No. A-85963.
Terry W. Knox, with him, Mary Ann Rossi, MacElree, Harvey, Gallagher, O'Donnell & Featherman, Ltd., for petitioner.
Marc S. Jacobs, Galfand, Berger, Senesky, Lurie & March, for respondent, Willie Parks.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Rogers, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 255]
On March 6, 1985, Willie Parks, a workmen's compensation claimant, filed in this court a Petition for Review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board made February 7, 1985 affirming a referee's order made March 23, 1983 awarding the claimant compensation in the amount of $100 per week for 260 weeks for the complete loss of hearing in both ears. The case was begun in 1973 when the claimant filed a claim petition alleging loss of hearing in one ear and proceeded through three decisions of the referee and the board, culminating with the board order here under review.
The claimant was employed by Lukens from the year 1957 or 1958 until July 7, 1973 when he quit work. He worked eight-hour shifts as a ladleman at Lukens' electric furnaces which were in operation continuously during his shifts. The furnaces emitted noise so intense that a conversation could not be carried on in their presence.
The claimant testified at a hearing conducted on December 19, 1973, that about two years earlier his right ear commenced giving him trouble; that he eventually lost all hearing in his right ear; that about a year and a half before the hearing his left ear began to bother him; and that the left ear is still "going."
[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 256]
He testified that using both ears he cannot hear the telephone ring; that he can hear television only with an ear phone; that he can no longer understand his wife in conversation; and that he cannot hear automobile horns.
Dr. Maury Hoberman, an ear specialist, in a report stated that as of June 13, 1973 the claimant had a marked hearing loss, that the loss was progressive and that he had no discrimination in the right ear and very poor discrimination in the left ear. Dr. Hoberman made an audiogram which a Dr. Walter Vernon interpreted as showing that the claimant had a hearing loss of 100% in the right ear, of 51% in the left ear and a combined hearing loss of 59%. A Dr. Maurice Saltzman, who examined the claimant on July 28, 1973, found that he was totally deaf in the right ear and that he had a profound sensori-neural deafness as to pure tone in the left.
The referee found that the claimant had suffered a 59%*fn1 loss of hearing in his left ear, a total loss of hearing in the right ear and a complete loss of hearing in both ears for all practical intents and purposes as of June 13, 1973.
Mr. Parks' employer, Lukens Steel Company, states two questions: Was the referee's finding of fact that the claimant has suffered complete loss of hearing for ...