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Hearing Loss and Disability Benefits

By Kenton Koszdin Law Office on May 5, 2015 | In Social Security Disability

Hearing Loss and Disability Benefits

Losing your hearing can certainly affect your ability to earn gainful employment. However, mild to moderate hearing loss does not automatically qualify for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has ways to evaluate hearing loss and how hearing loss affects employment. Your level of hearing loss and your ability to prove how your hearing affects your ability to work will ultimately determine whether or not you are able to receive disability benefits.

In order to automatically qualify for disability benefits for hearing loss, you must complete one of the two hearing tests:

  • Word recognition test: You must take a pure tone word recognition test conducted by an otolaryngologist or a licensed physician, and you must take this test without your hearing aids. If you are unable to repeat more than 40 percent of the standardized words spoken during the word test, you may qualify for benefits.
  • Audiometry: A medical professional will be needed to determine your hearing threshold sensitivity to air conduction. If in your best ear your threshold is 90 decibels or worse, and your bone conduction hearing threshold is 60 decibels or worse, your hearing loss may be poor enough to qualify you for benefits.

Whether or not you have cochlear implants can affect your eligibility for benefits as well. You can receive disability benefits automatically for one year if you have cochlear implants in one or both ears. After that year has passed, your disability benefits will be extended if your Hearing In Noise Test (HINT) is 60 percent or less.

If, however, your testing shows that you do not have profound hearing loss, you still may be able to receive benefits. In order to be successful, you must show that there are no jobs that you are capable of performing with your amount of hearing loss. The SSA will review how your hearing loss affects your ability to perform various tasks, take instruction, and communicate at the workplace.

A Los Angeles disability attorney can help you prove how your hearing loss affects your ability to work. It can also prove helpful to have legal support while filing your application for benefits and while gathering evidence to bolster your claim.

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