More than 37 million adults in the United States suffer from some version of hearing loss with one-fourth of adults age 65 and older suffering from disabling hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) may be available for individuals with profound hearing loss. Individuals who qualify for these benefits may also qualify for medical coverage through Medicare or Medicaid.
For help with your claim, contact our Phoenix social security disability lawyers. We have years of experience helping disabled individuals pursue the benefits they deserve.
To meet the eligibility requirements for hearing loss based on the SSA's Blue Book of impairment listings, you must meet the following level of impairment if you do not have a cochlear implant:
- Audiometry – An average bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 decibels or greater in your better ear and an average of 90 decibels or greater in your better ear for air conduction.
- Word recognition test – Inability to repeat more than 40 percent of a list of words from a standardized list.
If you have a cochlear implant, the SSA will consider you as disabled for one year after the initial implant. After that point, your condition will be considered disabling if your word recognition score is 60 percent or less on the Hearing in Noise Test.
If your hearing loss is not severe enough to meet the Blue Book listing, you may be able to qualify for benefits based on your residual functional capacity (RFC). The Social Security Administration evaluates the following factors to determine your RFC.
- Educational level
- Work history
- Job skills
- Education level
This information is reviewed to determine the type of work that you can perform given your hearing loss and other limitations. If the SSA determines that your hearing loss prevents you from working any job that you are otherwise qualified for, you can be approved for disability benefits.
Proving Your Claim
You can strengthen your claim by following these steps:
Gather Medical Records
Gather medical documents that establish the severity of your hearing loss, including doctors' notes, lab reports, hearing test results and other medical records that indicate when your hearing loss began and how profound it is. Notify your doctor that you are applying for benefits and ask the doctor to review the hearing loss Blue Book listing to ensure all of the appropriate diagnostic tests are provided in your medical records.
Get Additional Tests
If you are missing necessary tests, get tested before applying for benefits. The SSA generally requires both an otologic exam and audiometric test that are done within two months of each other. The required tests include:
- Pure tone air and bone conduction tests
- Speech reception threshold test
- Word recognition test
These tests must be performed by an audiologist that is certified by the American Board of Audiology or by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association or by a licensed otolaryngologist. Additionally, the doctor must perform the hearing test while you are not wearing hearing aids. The doctor must also complete a physical and document findings related to the physical condition of your ear.
In your application and supplemental materials, provide details about how your hearing loss affects your life. Be specific about limitations it has caused in jobs in the past and how it affects your social life.
Get Legal Help with Your Hearing Loss Claim
If you have hearing loss that you believe affects your ability to work, contact an experienced Social Security disability lawyer today from Dayes Law Firm PC. We can review your claim and help you gather detailed medical records that demonstrate the severity of your condition.
We only get paid for our time if you prevail on your claim. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.