The Social Security Disability
Experts Since 1984

Social Security Disability for Hearing Impaired Individuals

At Peña & Bromberg, we understand the profound impact hearing loss can have on every aspect of your life. Living with a hearing impairment is not only challenging on a personal level, it can also hinder your employment opportunities and financial stability.

While hearing loss does not always prevent an individual from working, it can limit them to certain fields. It may also affect their ability to communicate effectively in a work environment. Additionally, potential employers may fail to see their value compared to other applicants.

Hearing loss can transform simple daily tasks into difficult challenges, especially in the workplace. For those working with significant or progressive hearing loss, it can be a struggle to maintain gainful employment.

Our disability attorneys at Peña & Bromberg help individuals obtain Social Security Disability (SSD) for hearing loss. These benefits offer crucial financial support to those who are unable to earn a living wage because of their disability.

If you’re struggling with a hearing impairment, continue reading to learn more about the disability claims process.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Hearing Disabilities

SSD benefits include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These two programs provide financial assistance to individuals who are unable to perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) due to a disability.

SSDI is available to those who have paid into the Social Security system throughout their lifetime through payroll taxes. SSI is a needs-based program for individuals with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or aged. Claimants who apply for SSI do not need a substantial work history to receive benefits.

Qualifying for these benefits with a hearing impairment can be difficult. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a stringent application process. Grasping the complex eligibility criteria can easily leave claimants feeling overwhelmed.

A skilled disability lawyer can improve your chances of disability claim approval. At Peña & Bromberg, our attorneys are familiar with the SSA’s rules and regulations. We also know how to decipher the complicated legal and medical language surrounding disability applications.

To learn how we can help assess your eligibility for disability benefits, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Is Hearing Loss A Disability?

Hearing loss is listed as a qualifying impairment in the Blue Book under Section 2.00, which includes Special Senses and Speech disabilities. Hearing loss is defined as a condition that significantly restricts one’s ability to recognize spoken words or understand communication, despite the use of hearing aids or other assistive devices.

Types of hearing loss are categorized based on which part of the ear is affected. These include:

  • Conductive Hearing Loss: This occurs when sound cannot effectively pass through the outer or middle ear.
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss: This results from issues within the inner ear or nerve pathways to the brain that affect sound processing.
  • Mixed Hearing Loss: A combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder: Sound enters the ear normally, but damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve disrupts transmission to the brain. This makes it difficult to correctly interpret sounds.

The SSA acknowledges that people with hearing loss may have other symptoms in addition to their hearing impairment. This can include things like vertigo or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

Qualifying for Disability

To qualify for disability benefits with hearing loss, individuals must meet specific eligibility criteria. Claimants must provide comprehensive medical evidence demonstrating the severity of their hearing loss and its impact on their ability to work.

Temporary hearing impairments are usually ineligible. This is because claimants must have a medical condition that is expected to last at least 1 year to receive benefits.

Individuals with cochlear implants automatically qualify for disability benefits. Although, a reevaluation is required 1 year following the implantation. This is to confirm that the severity of hearing loss still necessitates ongoing financial support.

To qualify for disability for hearing loss without cochlear implants, you must provide medical documentation pointing to the cause and severity of your hearing loss. This should include detailed findings from an otologic exam.

You must also undergo specific tests as outlined by the SSA’s Blue Book. This includes audiometric testing with an otoscopic exam. The SSA generally requires the following:

  • Pure tone air conduction testing (Requires an average hearing threshold sensitivity of 90 decibels or worse in the better ear.)
  • Bone conduction testing (Requires an average hearing threshold of 60 decibels or worse in the better ear.)
  • Speech reception threshold (SRT) testing
  • Word recognition testing, or word discrimination testing (You must be able to repeat only 40% or less of monosyllabic words provided from a standardized list.)

Having an additional medical condition alongside hearing loss can enhance your eligibility for disability benefits. For example, in older adults, conditions like diabetes can exacerbate hearing loss. Additionally, the presence of Meniere’s disease, a disorder affecting the inner ear, can be a contributing factor.

Contact Peña & Bromberg for SSI or SSDI for Hearing Loss

Navigating the intricacies of Social Security Disability for hearing loss requires a thorough understanding of the law. At Peña & Bromberg, our team is dedicated to guiding you through every step of the disability application process.

Our attorneys recognize the challenges faced by those with hearing impairments. We believe that everyone deserves the chance to live with dignity. We aim to protect your rights so you can obtain the benefits you need.

If you or a loved one is unable to work due to hearing loss and considering applying for Social Security Disability, Peña & Bromberg is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We can help support you in securing crucial financial assistance.

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