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BABCOCK & WILCOX AND PACIFIC EMPLOYERS INSURANCE COMPANY v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (ROLLINS) (11/09/87)

decided: November 9, 1987.

BABCOCK & WILCOX AND PACIFIC EMPLOYERS INSURANCE COMPANY, PETITIONERS
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (ROLLINS), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in case of Robert Rollins v. Babcock & Wilcox, No. A-90128.

COUNSEL

Ronald Ganassi, Will, Keisling, Ganassi & McCloskey, for petitioners.

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

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

Author: Narick

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 42]

Babcock & Wilcox (Employer) and the Pacific Employers Insurance Company appeal from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) granting workmen's compensation to Robert Rollins (Claimant) for the specific loss of his hearing.

The referee found that Claimant was employed by Employer from August 31, 1956 through March 30, 1984 as a millwright welder and subsequently as a millwright welder leader. During the course of his employment, Claimant was exposed to loud noises of varying intensity. The referee awarded specific loss compensation on the basis of Claimant's expert medical testimony, which the referee specifically found to be convincing, competent and credible.

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 43]

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 McGovern v. State Employees' Retirement Board, 512 Pa. 377, 517 A.2d 523 (1986).

This Court has 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. See, e.g., Pare v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Fred S. James & Co. of Pennsylvania), 97 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 435, 509 A.2d 1361 (1986).

The referee specifically found that as a result of his exposure to loud noises in the course of his employment, the Claimant sustained injuries to both ears and, as a result of said injuries, he could no longer utilize his sense of hearing in the manner in which nature intended, and that he has lost the use of hearing in both ears for all practical intents and purposes. These findings are amply supported by the testimony of Claimant's physician, Dr. Forman, who specifically stated that Claimant's hearing had been lost for all practical intents and purposes.

Employer argues that the referee applied an incorrect standard in determining that Claimant had lost the use of his hearing because he found that the Claimant could not use his hearing in the manner nature intended. We did specifically reject that test in Babcock & Wilcox v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Marshall), 97 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 45, 508 A.2d 1303 (1986). However, in Marshall, we remanded for additional findings because the referee and Board determined that a "complete loss of hearing [could] be established by evidence sufficient ...


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