What Kinds Of Hearing Loss Are Covered By Workers’ Compensation
WorkSafeBC accepts two kinds of hearing loss: those caused by traumatic injury and those caused by general exposure to workplace noise.
You can claim workers’ compensation for either kind of hearing loss, as long as it is caused by an injury or exposure to noise at work. WorkSafeBC deals with these two types of hearing loss in different ways. They are explained below.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive For Hearing Loss
WorkSafeBC does not normally pay wage loss benefits for noise-induced hearing loss. You can receive other benefits such as hearing aids, vocational rehabilitation, and a permanent disability award.
The amount of disability award you receive depends on the amount of your hearing loss. However, the amount will differ from the amount that you would receive for traumatic hearing loss, and may be lower. The award is assessed according to Schedule 2 of the Workers Compensation Act.
For hearing loss in one ear only you will receive a smaller disability award. If you have hearing loss in both ears, the disability for each ear is established separately and then added together.
A loss of 28 dB in both ears would result in an award of 1.5 percent of total disability .
A loss of 40 dB in one ear, and 35 dB in the other ear would result in 0.7 percent disability for the ear most affected and 2.0 percent disability for the ear least affected , for a combined award of 2.7 percent of total disability.
Is Wearing A Hearing Aid Classified As A Disability
In the ways that matter the most, experiencing hearing loss is generally considered to be a disability. This can vary, though, depending on how severe or extreme the hearing loss is. All of this is important knowledge to have, especially when you consider it and how it relates to Social Security regulations and the ADA .
Under this act, you have certain protections granted relating to hearing impairment disabilities, as it relates to employment, for example. Not only that, but according to Social Security rules, you could be entitled to claim certain disability benefits.
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Va Ratings For Hearing Loss: The Basics
Hearing loss issues that may be service-connected, and hearing loss issues that are aggravated by military service can be found in the VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities, also known by the official title, 38 CFR Book C, Schedule for Rating Disabilities.
There are many reasons why a veteran might need to file a hearing-related VA medical claim aside from tinnitus or loss of hearing or degradation of hearing. These include the following described by the Department of Veterans Affairs as ear disabilities:
- Cancer in the ear
- Inner ear problems that cause dizziness, referred to as peripheral vestibular disorders
- The loss of one or both ears
- Perforated eardrums
- Menieres syndrome or endolymphatic hydrops
- Peripheral vestibular disorder
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
- Chronic otitis externa
- Chronic suppurative otitis media
- Chronic nonsuppurative otitis media
That is not an all-inclusive list, but it is a good example of the types of issues that face many vets. Ear-related issues can also include certain infections, it is best to consult with a doctor to learn which conditions may or may not apply to you.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes hearing loss that may be reversible through medical procedures and the kind of hearing-related medical problems that may be irreversible or managed only through hearing aids. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders maintains that one in five Americans who need hearing aids actually uses the devices.
About Hearing Loss As A Disability
Hearing loss is the total or significant loss of the ability to hear sound. There are several causes of hearing loss such as age, genetics, noise exposure and illness. When an individual beginnings to lose his or her hearing, their quality of life may become affected. He or she will no longer be able to engage in conversations the same and may start to seclude themselves from typical social engagements. The individual will also lose their ability to listen to music and hear basic everyday noises such as doorbells and alarms.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
The symptoms of hearing loss vary depending on what caused the hearing loss. Symptoms include:
- Muffled sounds and noises
- Pain within the ears
- Sensitivity to sound
- Speech delay
For many people, hearing loss occurs slowly over time and can be difficult to notice. The persons family and friends might notice the hearing problems before he or she themselves notice. It is best to go to a doctor or medical professional to get a hearing test done if the individual or their family believes he or she might have some sort of hearing loss. There potentially could be treatments available to help the hearing loss depending on the type of hearing loss.
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How To Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits With Hearing Loss
If you or someone you know experiences hearing loss, then you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The SocialSecurity Administration. gives out monthly benefits to those who can no longer work full time due to a disability. If you have hearing loss and its affecting your ability to maintain a full-time job, then there is assistance available to you. Here is how to qualify for Social Security disability benefits with hearing loss.
Medically Qualifying Using the Blue Book
The SSA uses its own guide in which they evaluate whether someones disability is approved or denied Social Security benefits. It is colloquially referred to as the BlueBook and it also lists what medical evidence is needed to qualify for Social Security benefits. If you have hearing loss, you can qualify via theBlue Book in two ways if youre treated without a cochlear implant and if you are treated with a cochlear implant.
Qualifying Without a Cochlear Implant
If you do not have a cochlear implant there are two ways in which you can qualify:
- If the average air conduction hearing threshold of 90 decibels orgreater in the better ear and an average bone conduction hearing threshold of60 decibels or greater in the better ear
- If your word recognition score of 40% or less in the better ear determined using a standardized list of phonetically balanced monosyllabic words
Qualifying with a Cochlear Implant
Things to Consider Before Applying
How to Start Your Application
Symptoms Of Hearing Loss
Chronic exposure to loud noises and aging both contribute to hearing loss which is common in most adults 65 or older.
There are other factors that can contribute to temporary hearing loss such as excessive earwax.
If you are having problems with your ears and hearing, you should schedule an appointment with a medical professional or ear specialist.
There are several signs and symptoms attributed to hearing loss:
- Muffling of speech/sounds
- Frequently asking others to speak louder or more slowly.
- Needing to turn the volume up high on electronic devices.
Hearing loss is detrimental enough that it can cause victims to want to withdraw from social settings and conversations to avoid the inconvenience.
As a result, hearing loss can start to negatively alter other functions of your lifestyle which makes finding treatment important.
Once again, you should speak with a medical professional if you are having issues with your hearing.
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Can You Claim Pip For Hearing Loss
If you need help to communicate because you are deaf or have hearing loss, you may be able to get Personal Independence Payment to help cover the cost of the support you need. PIP is a benefit for people of working age who need help with the extra costs arising from a long-term health condition or disability.
What If I Disagree With A Decision
If you do not agree with the WorkSafeBC decision, you have the right to request a review. You must request a review within 90 days. If you disagree with the Review Division decision you have 30 days to file an appeal to the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal.
This factsheet has been prepared for general information purposes. It is not a legal document. Please refer to the Workers Compensation Actand the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual Volume I and Volume II for purposes of interpretation and application of the law.
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Va Hearing Loss Claim Rating
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs official site, hearing loss and/or hearing damage affects nearly 30 million people in America alone. Hearing problems such as tinnitus are described by the VA as among the most prevalent service-connected disability among American Veterans. More than half of people over 75 will experience some form of hearing loss or hearing-connected issues.
What is the maximum VA rating for hearing loss? This question and others related to it are very important for veterans filing VA medical claims for service-connected hearing damage. And, as the above suggests, since hearing loss or damage is one of the most common VA medical claims, it is a very good idea to understand how the VA approaches such claims.
An Attorney Could Help You Pursue Veterans Hearing Loss And Tinnitus Claims
A condition that leaves you with a reduced ability to hear or a ringing in your ears may be the result of a head injury, a single exposure to loud noise, or persistent exposure to moderate noise. If this exposure occurred while you were on active duty and has a negative effect on your current quality of life, you might qualify for VA disability compensation benefits.
An experienced lawyer could help you gather the necessary evidence to pursue a claim and assist you with filing the case. If you have already filed a claim and received a denial, our team of attorneys could also help you file an appeal based on your hearing loss or tinnitus. Call VetLaw today to learn more about veterans hearing loss and tinnitus claims.
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Hearing Loss Affecting Your Functional Capacity
If you don’t qualify under one of the above official SSA impairment listings for hearing loss, as the next part of the disability determination process, the SSA is required to consider the effect of your hearing loss on your capacity to do daily activities and work, and will then determine whether there is any kind of work you could do.
If your hearing loss is significant , you may have difficulty talking to other people and following direction, which is a significant work-related impairment, yet you wouldn’t meet the SSA’s listing for hearing loss.
To decide if your hearing impairment rises to the level of a disability that prevents you from working, the SSA will give you a rating of the type of work it thinks you can do . This is called your residual functional capacity . The lower your RFC, the fewer types of jobs you can do. If your pure tone average is worse than 40 dB in your better ear, the SSA is likely to give you some type of RFC.
The SSA may also include specific restrictions on the type of job you can do in your RFC. For hearing loss, the key question for your RFC is whether you can do work that requires good hearing and good word recognition. If you have moderate to marked hearing loss, and/or poor word recognition, you probably can’t.
Veterans Hearing Loss Compensation Act Of 2002
The Veterans Hearing Loss Compensation Act of 2002, was a proposed Senate bill that was passed as part of the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2002. The Act eliminated the requirement of total deafness for a veteran to receive service-connected disability benefits. The Act also required the VA to partner with the National Academy of Sciences to study the relationship between military service and later loss of hearing. The Act requires the VA to consider the outcomes of the study in determining what types of occupational specialties within the armed forces should qualify for VA disability benefits for acoustic trauma.
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Can I Qualify For Social Security Disability Or Ssi Due To My Hearing Loss
Disability rules regarding hearing loss are complex
Am I likely to get my disability claim approved based on my hearing loss?
How does SSA determine if my hearing loss qualifies for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
Step 1: Non-Medical CriteriaStep 2: Severe ImpairmentStep 3: Medical ListingsStep 4: Past WorkStep 5: Other Work
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Hearing Loss With Cochlear Implants
When a person receives a cochlear implant, they will be considered disabled for one year after the procedure was performed. After that period, a person may still be considered disabled based on word recognition testing. A hearing in noise test will be performed to determine whether the person can recognize sentences that are presented at 60 decibels. If the person scores 60 percent or less on a word recognition test, their hearing loss will be recognized as a disability.
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How To Qualify With Deafness Or Hearing Loss
To qualify for Social Security disability benefits for deafness or hearing loss , you must have an otologic exam and have both audiometry and word recognition tests performed by an otolaryngologist , a licensed physician, or an audiologist working under the supervision of an ENT or physician. The tests must be performed with any prescribed hearing aids. Test results must show that you meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Audiometry Test: An audiometry test must show average threshold sensitivity for air conduction of 90 decibels or more in your better ear. You must also have a bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 decibels or more in your better ear. Hearing loss is calculated by averaging your hearing at the sound frequencies of 500 hertz , 1,000 Hz, and 2,000 Hz.
- Speech Discrimination Test: You must be able to correctly repeat no more than 40% of a list of standardized words in a spoken word recognition test.
The SSA may also send you to an audiologist for further testing. They may order auditory evoked response testing, a test which measures brainwave responses to tones, in order to determine your level of hearing loss.
Va Disability Claim For Hearing Loss Or Tinnitus
Tinnitus is one of the most claimed disabilities when it comes to applying for disability compensation. Hearing loss comes in at a close second. This statistic comes from the 2015 Annual Benefits Report. The report shows that 9.6 percent of veterans claimed tinnitus and about 5.2 percent of veterans claimed hearing loss. Yet, these two disabilities will be denied time and time again to former service members and their family members.
The bottom line is that it is very important to have the three components mentioned earlier to establish service connection for hearing loss and/or tinnitus: a current diagnosis, evidence of an event that caused the condition, and a medical opinion linking the current hearing condition to the event in service or nexus. Any veteran struggling with tinnitus is hard of hearing, and/or is experiencing hearing loss, should not give up or become discouraged if they are denied the first time or even the second time around. This is a real issue for many veterans and can require real solutions such as Cochlear implants , sign language classes, or even inner ear/middle ear surgery. Hopefully, this information will help in the initial process when trying to establish a service connection for tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
How Is The Va Disability Rate For Hearing Loss Currently Decided
To understand whether you are getting the correct VA Disability rate for hearing loss, we need to first take a step back and understand what the whole point of an impairment rating is in the first place.
As I teach in my 5+ hour training video, How to Prove the 4 Pillars of your VA Service Connection Claim, the Impairment Rating is the 3rd Pillar. It is how the VA takes the frequency, chronicity and severity of your disability, considers how it affects you in your daily life with special focus on its impact on your ability to work, and converts that to a percentage for disability compensation purposes.
Over the years, I have noticed that a lot of Veterans put so a lot of energy into proving the 2nd Pillar proving that their current disability is related to service but lie exhausted on the field of battle and dont fight as hard when it comes to the ratings.
And VA disability ratings for hearing loss are no exception to this observation. I teach, in great detail, how to maximize your VA Disability Rating for any condition by using the right evidence to prove the right facts in the 4 Pillars Training Course, and wont repeat them all here.
The first thing I teach, though, is to look at the VA rating tables to determine what symptoms or manifestations of your disability that you need to prove for that condition.
If you go to the VA hearing loss rating table, you would find that the VA focuses in the rating table on 2 very mechanical criteria.
Qualifying For Disability Without Meeting A Listing In The Blue Book
Under certain conditions, people can get disability benefits without meeting or matching a disability listing. When applicants qualify in this manner, they are granted a medical vocational allowance after the SSA conducts a residual functional capacity or RFC evaluation.
In an RFC, the SSA looks at your age, education level, job skills, work history, training, and other factors to determine the kinds of work for which youre qualified. They then compare the usual job duties in your qualified work areas with your physical, mental, and/or emotional limitations. They use your medical records and information you and your doctor provide on functional report forms to complete this comparison.
Functional reports document your daily limitations in performing normal tasks, like buying groceries, cleaning your home, taking care of your pets, or preparing food. From this information and from all the other details on your application and in your medical records, the SSA can determine if your hearing loss keeps you from working in any job for which you are otherwise qualified.
For example, a person who has always worked direct customer service positions and has minimal transferable skills may qualify because their hearing loss prevents them from effectively communicating. In a case like this, an RFC may be sufficient for getting disability.
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