Your Legal Rights at Work

Can You Claim Disability For A Hearing Impairment?

by Lewis Hamilton

A hearing impairment does not guarantee that you will be approved for Social Security disability benefits. In fact, the Social Security Administration, or SSA, believes that in some instances, a person can continue to still work even though they have profound hearing loss. If you have a hearing impairment and are applying for disability benefits, here is what you need to know. 

What Determines Disability?

The SSA has requirements that must be met to approve you for disability based on a hearing impairment. One of those is how profound your hearing loss is. There are several different assessments that are used to evaluate your hearing loss. Each test is performed without the assistance of hearing aids or any other devices you use to improve your hearing. 

After your hearing is evaluated, the SSA will compare the results of the assessments to determine if you qualify for benefits.  If your assessments reveal that your air conduction hearing threshold, or the softest sound you can hear, is 90 decibels or higher, you can possibly qualify for benefits. 

In this instance, the bone conduction threshold would also need to be 60 decibels or higher. The bone conduction threshold refers to the sensitivity of your inner ear. 

There are other requirements that could help determine your eligibility, such as your word recognition score. You can review those requirements online or request a copy of the standards directly from the SSA. 

What If You Do Not Qualify?

If the results of your assessments do not meet the requirement standards of the SSA, there is one other possible method of proving you are deserving of benefits. You can rely on the residual functional capacity, or RFC, to help prove you are unable to work due to a hearing impairment. 

The RFC basically measures your past work history, education, skills, and age to determine if there are other jobs within your abilities that you can perform despite the fact that you have a hearing impairment. If there are not, it is possible that you can qualify for benefits. 

It is important to note that it can sometimes be difficult to receive approval for disability when your claim is based solely on hearing loss. Hearing loss is usually not seen as an impairment that totally prevents you from working. However, if you are unable to work, you should submit a claim and follow through with the process. 

To better your chances of having a hearing impaired based claim for disability approved, work with an attorney like those at Crowley Ahlers & Roth Co LPA.