Social Security Disability for Hearing Loss

Social Security Disability For Hearing Loss

The auditory sense is at the very base of fundamental human senses. Hearing almost happens automatically to some of us, as we coast through life at work, home or in social scenarios without really thinking about the functional significance of hearing. Research done by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests an estimated 30+ million Americans have profound hearing loss.

Hearing Loss

The Social Security Administration grants disability benefits to persons who have severe hearing impairment in both ears. But this isn’t the case or moderate or mild hearing loss. In the deliberation of a disability claim, the SSA will require medical evidence that shows the existence and extent of your medical impairment.

How Much Hearing Loss Costs

Hearing loss requires medical exams, tests, and hearing aids or communication assistance devices, leading to high treatment costs. 

For example, hearing aids usually average around $4,500 or more per pair. In addition, insurance companies might not cover hearing aids unless your hearing loss has a specific cause. Instead of using hearing aids, some patients need Cochlear implant procedures to regain hearing, which range from $30,000 to $50,000 without insurance.

There are other costs indirectly associated with hearing loss. Since a hearing disability affects your ability to effectively communicate, you might not be able to perform your job, potentially decreasing your work earnings. This is why the SSA considers hearing loss a disability.

How SSA Evaluates And Tests Hearing Loss

There are a variety of ways hearing loss can be measured by the SSA when determining your disability case. It’s important to note that all tests will be done without using hearing aids. Commonly used methods include:

i. Speech recognition testing: Though not part of a routine audiology test, measuring your speech reception threshold can be helpful in your disability claim. If you’re unable to recognize speech accurately, you won’t be able to perform a range of jobs, particularly those requiring interaction.

ii. Pure-tone bone conduction tests: This method is done in tandem with the pure-tone air conduction test. It involves the use of a headset that sends mild electric signal waves to the back of the skull to measure the cochlear’s hearing ability

iii. Pure-tone air conduction testing: This is the most commonly used method and is considered to be the best way of determining a person’s hearing ability. The procedure measures a person’s hearing threshold by transmitting a series of beeps via the individual’s headphones to see if it will elicit a response.

The aforementioned are some of the diagnostics the SSA will use when verifying your disability claim.

SSA’s Blue Book Listings

The SSA has a medical listing with strict and detailed guidelines as to which hearing loss impairments automatically qualify for disability benefits. You must have met certain criteria for you to be eligible for hearing loss disability. Applicants of hearing loss can qualify under Listing 2.10.

Listing 2.10

The listing states the conditions needed for one to automatically qualify for hearing loss disability and applies to those who don’t have a cochlear implant. For you to qualify, you must satisfy one or both of the following tests.

Audiometry: Your average air conduction test should have a hearing threshold sensitivity of 90 decibels or higher in your better ear or 60 decibels or more in the better ear using bone conduction. The hearing loss is calculated by averaging your hearing at 500 hertz (Hz), 1,000 Hz, and 2,000Hz sound frequencies.

Word Recognition Test: Your score on a standardized speech discrimination test should be 40% or lower in the better ear.

All medical reports and documents submitted will need to have been administered by a licensed otolaryngologist or audiologists. If you’re unable to afford an audiometric physician, you should request the SSA to arrange you with a free consultation exam before the hearing. Qualifying for hearing loss disability may additionally make you eligible for other federal and state programs that include medical cover via Medicare or Medicaid.

Need Help Getting Your Disability Claim Approved?

If you or a loved one need help getting your disability claim approved, contact a GAR Disability Advocate today for a free consultation.

What You Should Do If Your Hearing Loss Doesn’t Meet the Requirements in the Listing

Even if your hearing loss doesn’t meet the requirements in the listing above, you should still apply since you might qualify for disability under certain exceptions. If you prove that there aren’t any jobs available to you due to your hearing loss, you might still receive hearing loss social security disability benefits.

When the SSA reviews your application, they determine how much your hearing loss affects your ability to communicate effectively. During this process, they assign you a residual functional capacity (RFC) number, which rates the type of work available to you with your hearing loss.

For example, your average hearing threshold sensitivity might be 70dB, which means you cannot perform work that requires word recognition, ruling out jobs that involve media communications of operating machinery.

While the SSA might try to find other jobs you qualify for, you may still receive disability if you don’t have the skills, experience, or education necessary to do them. The SSA calls this a medical-vocational allowance and usually awards it to individuals aged 55 or older. However, even if you qualify for this allowance, the SSA still requires audiometry tests, word recognition tests, and other exams that identify hearing loss.

Need Help Applying for Hearing Loss Social Security Disability Benefits? Contact GAR Disability Advocates Today

At GAR Disability Advocates, we understand how difficult the disability claims process is for applicants. Our team serves SSDI and SSI applicants throughout the country and helps them get the disability benefits they deserve.

We offer contingency-based service and help with every step of the application process, from the initial application to appeals and hearings. Most importantly, you only pay us if we successfully get you benefits.

If you have any questions about hearing loss social security disability benefits or would like to apply for disability using an advocate, call us today at 201-561-7731 or fill out our online form for a free evaluation.

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