Wednesday, April 17, 2024

When Does Hearing Loss Become A Disability

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Hearing Loss Is Classified By Its Intensity And By Age

How Does Veterans Affairs Test for Tinnitus? | VA Disability for Tinnitus | theSITREP

Two persons with the same intensity of hearing loss will experience it quite differently if it occurs early or late in life. Furthermore, a loss can occur on only one side or on both .

Hearing loss may be as mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe or profound:


  • for adults: between 26 and 40 dB HL
  • for children: between 20 and 40 dB HL

Moderate: between 41 and 54 dB HL

Moderately severe: between 55 and 70 dB HL

Severe: between 71 and 90 dB HL

Profound: 91 dB HL or greater.

Totally Deaf: Have no hearing at all.

Mild hearing loss You may hear the conversation or the speech. But soft sounds are hard to hear such as the voice of baby

Moderate hearing loss You can hear the speech or talks from another person. But you will have difficulty in comprehending what is said.

Severe hearing loss You cannot a normal conversation or talks. Very loud sounds, such as a car horn, seems normal hearing to you.

Profound hearing loss You cannot hear the sounds with normal volume. The only volume you can hear the loudest volume. Without hearing aids you cannot hear the normal sound.

How Is Hearing Loss Defined

Hearing loss is defined as any degree of hearing impairment of the ability to comprehend sound. If you are diagnosed with both hearing loss and tinnitus, you may be entitled to one separate rating for hearing loss and another separate rating for tinnitus.

The following is needed to establish service connection for VA disability:

  • A current diagnosis of a hearing condition,
  • Evidence of an event that caused the condition, and
  • A medical opinion linking the current hearing condition to the event in service or nexus.
  • Along with the list above, two types of hearing tests are needed to prove a claim for hearing loss. These tests will include a controlled speech discrimination test and a pure tone audiometry test. The Maryland CNC test is a particular word list that is used to test your ability to hear spoken words. A pure tone audiometry test is different tones that must be detected at varying frequencies . Even if you only claim hearing loss in one ear, both ears should be tested. Examinations will be conducted without the use of hearing aids. This will prevent any biased results. These tests should be performed by a state licensed audiologist.

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    Hearing Handicap And Compensation

    For many years, it has been recognized that engaging in certain noisy occupations for extended periods of time without adequate hearing protection can result in permanent changes in hearing function. Since the 1950s, the federal and state courts have maintained the liability of employers to compensate employees financially for hearing handicaps incurred as a result of job related conditions . The orderly and equitable payment of compensation for hearing handicap requires a means for determining not only the existence but also the extent of hearing handicap. Over the years, a number of pure tone and speech audiometric methods have been used for making this determination, including:

    Cognizant of the deficiencies that plagued the 1959 AAOO formula, the American Academy of Otolaryngology recently revised its method for evaluating hearing handicap by incorporating hearing threshold data obtained at 3000 Hz as well as data from 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz . Percent hearing handicap for each ear is predicted by averaging hearing thresholds at the four frequencies, subtracting 25 from the average, and multiplying the result by 11/2.

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    Veterans Tinnitus Vs Hearing Loss

    Tinnitus is a noise that you hear in your ears, such as a buzzing or ringing that happens again and again, or consistently. The only disability rating available for tinnitus is 10% disability/eligibility rating. A 10% disability rating will be assigned whether you have ringing in one ear or in both ears, you cannot receive a 20% rating due to tinnitus in both ears. However, there can be a higher percentage available for those whose condition is so severe that it is debilitating or prevents you from working. You may be able to seek an extra schedular rating for your tinnitus in excess of the 10 percent limit in the Schedule of Impairment Ratings.

    Factors We Looked At When Compiling Our List Of Hearing Aids

    Disability for Deafness or Hearing Loss: Do You Qualify?

    The Reputation of the Manufacturer:

    This is the first thing we looked at when we compiled our list of hearing aids. The company must have been in operation for a long enough period of time for them to have gathered a reputation among customers and reviewers.

    The Programmability of the Devices:

    The best devices available today and the ones we have mentioned are all programmable. This is very important as not everyone will have the same needs from their hearing aid device. The device needs to be customizable according to the needs of the user.

    After Sales Service:

    The next thing that we factored in a while recommending the devices is the service provided by the Manufacturer. This is very important as patients will often need to get their device programmed by a specialist a few times after buying the device. This is important because it can take some time for people to figure out their devices and try out different settings to see what works best for them. So, as you can see, service is an essential part of the whole hearing aid experience, and you can rest assured that the ones listed in this article will give you good service.


    The last factor that we considered when compiling our list is the price of the devices. Hearing aids can be expensive, but that is not the only thing that should inform your decision. However, we have still looked at what the market has to offer regarding price relative to quality.

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    Effective Communication In Different Settings

    People have different needs for communication in different settings. For example, in brief or simple face-to-face exchanges, written notes may be effective when a person with significant hearing loss asks for a copy of a form to fill out. Using a smart phone might work fine to write and exchange messages with a pharmacist when requesting a prescription. However, complex or lengthy exchanges may require more sophisticated strategies involving auxiliary aids and services.

    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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    Tests For Measuring Hearing Loss

    There are several different ways to measure hearing loss: pure-tone air conduction testing, pure-tone bone conduction testing, and speech recognition testing. All tests are performed without the use of a hearing aid. Pure-tone air conduction testing is the most common and is generally considered the best indicator of a person’s ability to hear. This test, which transmits a series of beeps through the subject’s headphones to elicit a response, is designed to measure a person’s hearing threshold. The hearing threshold is the minimum decibel level required for you to hear a sound.

    Pure-tone air conduction testing is often performed in tandem with bone conduction testing. A bone conduction test measures cochlear hearing by sending gentle electrical signals to the back of the skull through a headset. Despite the use of electrical vibrations, this test is completely painless.

    Speech recognition testing is not often a part of routine audiology testing, but it can be extraordinary helpful in a disability case. That’s because it’s generally much harder for an individual to distinguish a word than it is to simply hear a tone at the same decibel level. A failure to accurately recognize speech can prevent you from performing a wide range of jobs, particularly those that require you to interact with co-workers or the general public.

    An Alternate Method For Predicting Hearing Handicap

    Can You Win Social Security Disability if You have Hearing Loss

    As stated earlier, the point at which a hearing impairment becomes a hearing handicap will depend on several factors that go beyond a simple statement of the degree of hearing loss . Ideally, a method for describing degree of hearing handicap should be based on a comprehensive consideration of all these factors. To be useful as a means for determining hearing disability, however, the definition of hearing handicap should be straightforward and unambiguous, and hearing handicap judgments based on this definition should be consistent from one examiner to another. Unfortunately, there currently is no method of interrelating the variables that contribute to hearing handicap to produce uniformly consistent judgments regarding degree of hearing handicap across examiners.

    Claims for workers’ compensation are made primarily by persons with occupational histories of prolonged exposure to high levels of noise. Noise-induced damage to peripheral auditory structures can result in fairly predictable patterns of threshold sensitivity loss, but delineating a method for predicting hearing handicap solely on the basis of pure tone threshold data must be done with caution. Such an approach is reasonable only if those who use it are fully aware of its shortcomings.

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    Other Considerations For Hearing Loss Eligibility

    There are a few more things to keep in mind before applying. If you meet the above qualifying criteria but still earn more than $1,190 per month, you will not qualify for disability benefits. For example, if your employer is able to modify your job to accommodate your hearing loss, or if youve always worked at a job that didnt require good hearing, you wont be approved to receive benefits.

    You also will not be approved if you only have hearing loss in one ear, even if the other ear is completely deaf since all hearing loss is evaluated using your best ear by the SSA.

    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.

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    What Are The Eligibility Requirements For Va Hearing Benefits

    Now that you know why getting help for hearing loss is so important, how can you get help? Many veterans could be eligible for low cost or even free audiology services and hearing aids from the VA. However, you must meet these VA eligibility requirements:

    As you can see, the eligibility requirements are difficult to understand and there may or may not be situations where you wont qualify for hearing related services or hearing aids through the VA, or where you could be denied and have to appeal, but need help for your hearing loss or another hearing impairment now.

    Hearing Impairment And The Americans With Disabilities Act

    Disability for Deafness or Hearing Loss: Do You Qualify?

    The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act .

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    General Information About Hearing Impairments

    In 2011, a study led by researchers from Johns Hopkins reported that nearly 20% of Americans 12 and older have hearing loss so severe that it may make communication difficult. The study also found that 30 million Americans had hearing loss in both ears while 48 million Americans had hearing loss in one ear. According to 2010 data from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders , approximately 17% of American adults report some degree of hearing loss. Of this group, 18% of American adults between the ages of 45 and 64 have experienced some degree of hearing loss. NIDCD estimates that approximately 15% of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds or noise at work or in leisure activities.

    A hearing impairment can be caused by many physical conditions , and result in varying degrees of hearing loss. Generally, hearing impairments are categorized as mild, moderate, severe, or profound. An individual with a moderate hearing impairment may be able to hear sound, but have difficulty distinguishing specific speech patterns in a conversation. Individuals with a profound hearing impairment may not be able to hear sounds at all. Hearing impairments that occur in both ears are described as “bilateral,” and those that occur in one ear are referred to as “unilateral.”

    1. When does someone with a hearing impairment have a disability within the meaning of the ADA?

    The Impact Of Hearing Loss At A Restaurant

    Restaurants are places with a lot of ambient noise .

    Normally, this background chatter is what gives eateries a bit of character, and its no great problem. However, when you cant hear properly, ambient noise can make it very difficult to converse with your fellow diners or hear the waiting staff.

    All-too-often, people with hearing loss will inquire about the house specials, only to nod their heads as if they understood everything, before returning to the printed menu to settle for something they might not want.

    And its a problem that may be getting worse. One UK-based charity, Action On Hearing Loss, reports that 81 percent of those surveyed had experienced difficulties sustaining conversations in places to eat.

    Most restaurants arent designed with acoustics in mind, which only makes the problem worse, although some have thought about the issue, adding things like cork wood ceilings to absorb sound waves so help is at hand.

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    Qualifying Without A Cochlear Implant

    If you havent received a cochlear implant, you have two ways of qualifying. The first is if you have an average air conduction hearing threshold of 90 decibels or greater in the better ear as well as an average bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 decibels or greater in the better ear.You can also qualify if you have a word recognition score of 40 percent or less in the better ear, which will be determined by using a standardized list of phonetically balanced, single-syllable words.

    Hearing Loss In The Work Environment

    How Does Hearing Loss Impact Health and Wellness?

    The same issues arise at work as in restaurants. For example, it can become progressively harder to follow discussions and presentations in meeting rooms when hearing loss develops. And if your work relies on communicating with clients, poor comprehension can often come across as rudeness.

    In some workplaces, hearing loss can be extremely hazardous. Take construction sites, for example, where verbal instructions can be the difference between life and death.

    Studies have backed this up, finding that in noisy work environments, employees with hearing loss are 3.6 times more likely to be hospitalized by an injury sustained at work.

    Other implications of undiagnosed hearing loss in the workplace can be less dangerous, but still very disheartening. Not only can your performance deteriorate relative to the past and co-workers, but dismissal becomes more likely too.

    Stress is another inevitable consequence of allowing hearing loss problems to go untreated in work settings, and this can lead to all kinds of secondary health issues.

    Hearing loss is an issue in almost every working environment in the USA. From kitchens to classrooms, when our hearing starts to fade, our jobs become harder, so take action if it happens to you, and sooner rather than later. Employers and co-workers will understand but will only be confused if you continue to battle against your auditory problems.

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    Tdiu For Hearing Loss

    If your service-connected conditions prevent you from working, you may be entitled to total disability based on individual unemployability . For example, if you need full range of hearing for your job , and your hearing loss impacts your ability to work, you can explain that issue to VA. It is important to note that you can also have multiple service-connected conditions where hearing loss is only one of them, but the effects of hearing loss can be positive evidence in favor of entitlement to TDIU.

    How To Apply For Disability Benefits With Hearing Loss

    The disability application process varies, dependent upon the program for which you apply.

    • For SSI, you must be interviewed by an SSA representative. An interview may be held at the local office or may be done over the phone in some cases. If you use TTY/TDD, call 1-800-325-0778 to communicate with an SSA representative. Or, if you have a hearing individual assisting you, they can call 1-800-772-1213.
    • For SSDI, you can apply in person at the local office, over the phone , or online.

    For both of these programs, youll need your work history, current employment information, details of your finances, and the contact information for all of your doctors or other healthcare providers. The SSA will also need detailed medical information from you and will request copies of all your medical records.

    The specific records they need to see in order to approve you for disability benefits may include:

    • Calcoric or other vestibular tests
    • Audiometry results

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