Hearing loss can have an impact on every aspect of your life, including your ability to work. Depending on several factors, including the severity of your impairment, it might be possible to collect Social Security disability benefits. If you are suffering from hearing loss and are unable to work, here is what you need to know.
What Are the Requirements to Receive Disability Benefits?
Even though you might suffer from significant hearing loss, there is no guarantee that the Social Security Administration, or SSA, will approve your application for disability benefits. If the depth of your loss does not meet the requirements set by the SSA, it is unlikely that your application for benefits will be approved.
To qualify for benefits, your air conduction hearing threshold must be 90 decibels or greater in your better ear and 60 decibels or greater for the bone conduction hearing threshold. The thresholds refer to the sensitivity of the ear and how it distinguishes between sounds.
You can also qualify if you score 40 percent or less on a word recognition test. During the test, you are asked to repeat words that are read from a standardized list.
If you have had cochlear implants, you can receive benefits after a year of having them.
What Can You Do?
Before applying for benefits, you need to ensure that you meet the requirements. Although the SSA can have you undergo testing, it is important that you are screened by an audiologist prior to submitting an application. If you meet the requirements, it is possible that you do not have to undergo additional testing when you apply.
Part of the application process is completing a residual functional capacity form. The form takes an assessment of the duties that you performed in your last full-time position and measures them against your impairment. The SSA needs to determine if your hearing loss is hindering your ability to work.
You have to convince the agency that you are unable to continue working in your condition. You can obtain witness statements from co-workers, family, and friends who can attest to how your hearing loss has affected your life.
If you are required to submit to additional testing, be sure the administrator of the exam notes the problems that you have due to your hearing. Take a friend or family member who is familiar with you to the testing to ensure that the audiologist notes your condition correctly.
Getting approval for disability benefits for hearing loss can be challenging, but an experienced attorney can help improve the odds. To get started by having a hearing exam, contact a clinic such as Desert Knolls Hearing Center.