Deaf Applicants Or Those With Profound Hearing Loss Should Be Able To Qualify For Disability Benefitseither By Meeting The Ssa’s Listing Or Through A Medical
By Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney
If you have profound hearing loss or deafness, you should be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration details how significant your hearing loss must be for it to qualify as a disability that prevents you from working, and thus makes you eligible for benefits.
If your hearing loss does not meet the SSA’s published standard for profound hearing loss, you still might be able to get disability benefits based on a medical-vocational allowance, if you can show that your hearing loss reduces your capacity to work so much that there are no jobs you can do considering your age, education, and experience. However, the SSA does not usually accept that mild and moderate hearing loss affects your capacity to work since these conditions can usually be corrected using hearing aids. In addition, if you have good hearing in one ear, you won’t qualify for disability benefits.
Hearing Loss Test Requirements
Showing that you are currently diagnosed with a qualifying hearing loss condition is the first step to receiving VA disability benefits. The VA tends to be very strict, requiring veterans to take a hearing exam by a licensed audiologist rather than a regular doctor. The audiologist is required to administer two different hearing loss tests for the VA to accept your veterans disability hearing loss diagnosis:
- The Maryland CNC Test measures military hearing loss in veterans via a 50-word test. This test scores the level at which you recognize speech. The VA then uses the Maryland CNC Test results to determine whether your hearing loss condition qualifies for disability benefits. They also use the test to establish how severe your hearing loss condition is.
- Puretone Audiometric Test. The Puretone Audiometric Test measures the faintest tones and is meant to calculate your general hearing loss level. Typically, youll wear headphones for this test and raise your hand to signal each time you hear a noise.
The VA requires these particular tests to determine your diagnosis and eligibility for VA benefits. If you have a diagnosis from your regular doctor, it wont count towards your veterans hearing loss claims.
How To Receive Va Disability Benefits For Hearing Loss
In order to receive VA disability benefits for hearing loss, veterans must prove to VA that their hearing loss is the result of their time in service. For direct service connection, they must establish the following three elements: a current diagnosis of hearing loss an in-service event that may have caused or contributed to their hearing loss and a medical opinion definitively linking the in-service event to their hearing loss.
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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.
How Hearing Loss Is Measured
So how do you know if you have hearing loss and to what degree? Dont guess or try to treat your inability to hear with over-the-counter or mail order solutions. Instead, make an appointment with a qualified hearing healthcare professional. Your family physician may be able to refer you, or you can visit our online directory and find a trusted professional in your community.
In this case, this person cannot hear high-pitched sounds unless they are fairly loud. This will make hearing speech difficult. High-frequency hearing loss is a fairly common hearing loss pattern for people with age-related hearing loss. Others may struggle to hear low-frequency sounds and other sound ranges.
The hearing healthcare professional will administer a series of hearing tests. The outcome of the evaluation is known as an audiogram, a graph of the softest sounds you heard during your test. Heres an example of an audiogram of someone with mild-to-moderately-severe high-frequency hearing loss. As you can see, hearing thresholds in each ear are not always the same.
Based on the outcome and the lifestyle information you provide, the hearing healthcare professional will be able to recommend a course of treatment, which may include the purchase of hearing aids and enrollment in auditory therapy classes. Keep in mind, untreated hearing loss puts you at risk for developing a host of other health-related problems, including depression, dementia and Alzheimers disease.
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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
Can You See A Local Provider
Thanks to the MISSION Act of 2018, veterans now have greater access to hearing care providers in their local community. VA Community Care, as its known, may be available to you if you live too far from a VA clinic, or if there is a long waiting time to get an appointment at the closest VA facility. This welcome kit provides more detailed information. Increasingly, the VA is also offering teleaudiology for veterans who canât travel far.
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What Is The Average Va Compensation For Hearing Loss
According to Veterans United, the average veteran receives $435 per month at a 30% disability rating.
Meanwhile, the same veteran at a 50% disability rating would receive nearly $900 per month.
The VA determines your disability rating after a medical review of the condition and the compensation levels are subject to change.
Moreover, the compensation rates do change based on the number of dependents.
For example, a veteran claiming a spouse only will receive less in monthly disability compared to a veteran with a spouse and other dependents.
Contact a VA representative for more information on the claims process and potential disability payouts.
The Blue Book Listings For Hearing Loss
Social Security has two different Blue Book listings for hearing loss. The first, Listing 2.10, applies to those who havenât received a cochlear implant. An individual can meet this listing if either of the following are satisfied:
- Your average air conduction hearing threshold is more than 89 decibels in the better ear, and average bone conduction hearing threshold is more than 60 decibels in the better ear, or
- Your score on a speech discrimination test is 40% or worse in the better ear.
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Hearing Aids And Disability
There are some certain hearing aid tests that you will have to undergo, as well as certain thresholds to meet, in order to qualify and prove your hearing loss. This can then qualify you for some social security disability benefits. The tests are performed without wearing hearing aids. However, the act of wearing a hearing aid in and of itself is not classed by the ADA or social security as a disability itself.
In some instances, you will want to wear hearing aids, even if you have low-level hearing loss, as it could help you in your daily life. However, the level that your hearing loss has been tested at, might be below what ADA and social security would class as a disability.
So, having a hearing aid is something that can be used to help you with your disability, especially if you are experiencing quite profound hearing loss. Just wearing hearing aids doesnt automatically mean that you have a disability, at least not according to different areas of the United States government. It is all about the level of hearing loss, rather than just wearing hearing aids.
Hearing Loss Claim Denied
Check out our VA Hearing Disability calculator here where you can easily get an estimate on your VA benefits for hearing for free! As a disclaimer, filing a disability claim is no easy task, so dont get discouraged. If you have any questions about severe hearing loss, a medical-vocational allowance, blue book listings, residual functional capacity, the ADA, or qualifying medical records, be sure to contact us. Our team of lawyers at Hill and Ponton are happy to answer any questions you may have.
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Departmental Reviews Vs First Applications For Vwa Claims
Social Security Disability And Hearing Loss
Having a medical condition that prevents you from doing your job, meeting financial obligations and caring for your family is a stressful situation to say the least. If your hearing loss is affecting your ability to work, you may be eligible for assistance through the Social Security trust fund.
If you can’t work due to hearing loss, youmay be eligible for Social Securitybenefits.
Hearing loss will not automatically qualify you for disability benefits, but if it meets certain criteria and you are no longer able to work, applying for assistance through the Social Security Administration to help pay for medical bills, housing, credit card bills, food and other daily living expenses can help provide some added peace of mind.
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Can A Veteran Claim Disability For Hip Pain
Related conditions include lower back pain and degenerative arthritis. Certain types of cancer can also cause hip pain. The VA allows its veterans to claim disability for hip pain if they developed it due to their time in the service. This condition can directly stem from extreme strain placed on the hip or due to overuse.
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Va Disability Ratings And Compensation Levels
VA rates your disability between 0 and 100 percent in increments of 10. At a rating of 0 percent, you do not receive monthly compensation, but you might be eligible for other benefits from the VA, such as health care.
As of December 1st, 2021 the VA disability rate benefit amounts are as follows:
- 0 percent disability rating: $0.00 per month
- 10 percent disability rating: $152.64 per month
- 20 percent disability rating: $301.74 per month
- 30 percent disability rating: $467.39 per month
- 40 percent disability rating: $673.28 per month
- 50 percent disability rating: $958.44 per month
- 60 percent disability rating: $1,214.03 per month
- 70 percent disability rating: $1,529.95 per month
- 80 percent disability rating: $1,778.43 per month
- 90 percent disability rating: $1,998.52 per month
- 100 percent disability rating: $3,332.06 per month
A rating of 30 percent or higher qualifies you to receive additional benefits for qualifying dependents.
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Treatments For Hearing Loss
Treatments for a hearing loss vary depending on the severity of ones symptoms. One option is to remove earwax blockage by either loosening it with oil or flushing it out in order to remove the blockage. For patients who have had a traumatic ear injury or repeated ear infections, surgical procedures may be necessary to improve their hearing. Another treatment option is wearing a hearing aid to amplify the volume of sound electronically.
This can help to strengthen sounds making it easier to hear others when conversing. Lastly, cochlear implants help patients with severe hearing loss as the implant compensates for damaged or nonworking parts of the inner ear. By treating hearing loss, individuals can regain their confidence when communicating with others.
Your Right To Ssdi Benefits If You Have Cochlear Implants
You are automatically eligible for SSDI benefits if you have cochlear implants in one or both ears for one year after they were implanted. This is true whether or not your hearing improves. After 12 months, your word recognition on a Hearing in Noise Test must be 60 percent or less for you to continue to receive benefits.
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Tips On Applying For Disability With Hearing Loss
Severe hearing loss is a qualified disability under the Social Security Disability Act, but you must prove to the Social Security Administration that you meet all eligibility requirements in order to receive Social Security Disability . The following tips may prevent you from experiencing hang-ups or common hurdles in the application process.
Is Deafness a Disability?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act , losing your hearing can qualify you for financial assistance because you suffer from a disability. However, you must prove you suffer from a total loss of hearing and that your medical condition prevents you from participating in the workforce.
Deafness develops for one of several reasons. Damage to the inner ear caused by aging or constant exposure to loud sounds can make it difficult to hear normal conversations. Higher pitched tones become difficult to discern and you might not be able to hear conversations among background noise. A simple phenomenon such as the constant buildup of ear wax can obstruct the entire ear canal and prevent the transmission of sound waves. An acute ear infection, as well as irregular bone growth in the inner ear, can constitute deafness as well.
Section 2.10 of the Blue Book covers the symptoms of hearing loss that are not treated by cochlear implants. Using a hearing assistance device can limit the amount of money you receive for a hearing loss disability.
Verify Your Hearing Loss Medically Qualifies You for Benefits
Mnires Disease And Tinnitus As Disability Conditions
- Vertigo, or a sensation of a spinning
- Hearing loss usually in one ear
- Fullness or pressure in the same ear
- Ringing in the same ear, called tinnitus
You can read our section on to learn more about this disabling condition.
Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the head when no outside sound is present. It is typically referred to as ringing in the ears. Tinnitus can be a symptom of a condition that causes hearing impairment, or it can exist without any hearing loss. We have helped numerous clients that have been disabled as a result of tinnitus. Most tinnitus claimants also complain of headaches as well.
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What Happens If Your Hearing Loss Does Not Meet The Automatic Impairment Requirements
Even if your hearing loss does not satisfy the requirements of the tests listed above, you may still be eligible for SSDI benefits. You would need to show that there are no jobs that you can perform with your hearing loss. In deciding your application, the SSA will consider your ability to communicate, follow instructions, and do various job tasks.
Do you have questions about whether you suffer from sufficient hearing loss to qualify for SSDI benefits? Call our office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team to learn about your eligibility for benefits and how we can assist you.