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SSDI for Claimants With Hearing Loss

SSDI for Claimants With Hearing Loss

Approximately 4 million Americans have experience hearing loss at some point in their lives. Being the third most common condition in the Unites States, getting SSDI benefits for loss of hearing ability is more crucial than any other condition.

The Social Security Administration has a special section for claimants with a disability in hearing senses {Section 2.10 – 2.11}in the Blue Book of SSA's Impairment Conditions.

In order to qualify for disability benefits, you must establish the 'severity' of your profound hearing loss and its ability to impact your daily functioning levels. The SSA also requires that your hearing loss be extended for a period of 12 months or more. There are three types of hearing losses that could be eligible to qualify for disability:

  • A) Conductive: Hearing loss involving middle or outer ear
  • B) Sensorineural: hearing loss involving the inner ear
  • C) Mixed: hearing loss with a combination of both conductive and sensorineural

The SSA has special requirements that must be met in order for a claimant to be eligible for security benefits for hearing loss. Hence, you must meet either or both of the following:

  • I) An average air conduction hearing threshold of 90 decibels or greater in the better ear and an average bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 decibels or greater in the better ear;
  • II) A word recognition score of 40 percent or less in the better ear determined using a standardized list of phonetically balanced monosyllabic words;

If you have had your hearing loss treated with cochlear implantation, then you may qualify for disability if you have had a recurrence of hearing loss more than 1 year after initial implantation, a word recognition score of 60 percent or less determined using the HINT (national testing for hearing loss).

SSDI and Disability Determination (DDS) for Claimants with Hearing Loss

If you are deaf or experience significant hearing loss impacting your daily functioning, you may be able to qualify either for SSDI benefits or medical vocational allowance.

In addition to meeting the above medical requirements to qualify, you must also be able to prove the 'severity' of your hearing loss. Once you file for SSDI for deafness, you will be assigned a disability examiner (DE) who may work with your doctor or vocational expert (VE) to establish whether your hearing impairment prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Your DE may assign one of the four categories depending on the severity of your hearing loss:

  • - Mild Hearing Loss: easy to catch normal sounds and one-on-one conversations but inability to hear correctly each word being uttered with background noise
  • - Moderate Hearing Loss: A need for asking for pardon times and again with people repeating themselves during conversations in person and on the phone
  • - Severe Hearing Loss: Inability to follow a conversation without a hearing aid
  • - Profound Hearing Loss: Inability to hear other people speaking unless they are extremely loud. The person is unable to catch the words without a hearing aid or a cochlear implant.

Remember, if your DE considers that your hearing loss is not significant enough to prevent you from taking up skilled or semi-skilled or even unskilled work, then you may be denied disability. Only exception is that you are able to prove to the SSA that your hearing impairment has sufficient residual functional limitations (RFC) that make you unable to take up previous jobs and an inability to learn new skills. On the other, the fourth category, i.e., profound hearing loss is almost always automatically eligible to win SSDI benefits.

Seek Help from Professionals

Navigating around the labyrinth of SSDI process is tiresome and time consuming. It must not be left to last minute document arrangements, loopholes in the application, etc. You must seek help for a disability attorney who knows all about the process to help you win SSDI benefits for your hearing impairment.

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Saturday, 18 September 2021