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BABCOCK & WILCOX AND INSURANCE COMPANY NORTH AMERICA v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (PHILLIPS) (04/30/87)

decided: April 30, 1987.

BABCOCK & WILCOX AND INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA, PETITIONERS
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (PHILLIPS), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in the case of Stanley L. Phillips v. Babcock & Wilcox, No. A-89449.

COUNSEL

Raymond F. Keisling, Will, Keisling, Ganassi & McCloskey, for petitioners.

Samuel S. Blaufeld, with him, Pamela M. Schiller, for respondent.

Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 540]

Babcock & Wilcox, the employer, and the Insurance Company of North America appeal from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board granting workmen's compensation to Stanley Phillips, the claimant, for the specific loss of his hearing. We affirm.

According to the referee's findings of fact, Babcock & Wilcox employed the claimant as an electrician from 1968 until September 1, 1982. With the exception of the last few months of his employment, the claimant's working conditions involved continuous loud noises. On the basis of expert medical testimony concerning the claimant's hearing loss, the referee awarded specific loss compensation.

Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether the board committed an error of law and whether the findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence in the record. Estate of Francis J. McGovern v. State Employees' Retirement Board, 512 Pa. 377, 517 A.2d 523 (1986).

In Pare v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Fred S. James and Co. of Pennsylvania), 97 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 435, 509 A.2d 1361 (1986), we held that a claimant must demonstrate that he suffered a complete loss of hearing for all practical intents and purposes to establish a specific loss of hearing.

The referee's crucial findings of fact are as follows:

13. That at the present time the claimant's hearing problems have progressed to the point that he can no longer use his sense of hearing in the manner that nature intended. He cannot hear or understand conversation on the telephone, cannot hear or understand the audio portion

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 541]

    of the television without turning the amplification up to the point where it disturbs other family members and cannot hear and understand conversation at social or public gatherings. In essence he cannot carry on a conversation with another individual unless it ...


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