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Social Security Disability and Hearing Loss

Social Security Disability and Hearing Loss

Am I eligible for SSD benefits if I am partially deaf?

An estimated 48 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss, as reported by the Hearing Loss Association of America. After the age of 65, one in every three people have hearing loss. Hearing loss is a condition that could potentially impact one’s ability to work. As such, those with hearing loss are potentially eligible for financial assistance through the Social Security Administration. Our NYC Social Security Disability claims lawyer explores the ability of those with hearing loss to receive SSD benefits below.

Hearing Loss and Blue Book Eligibility

Hearing loss is not a condition that will automatically entitle you to SSD benefits. Rather, someone with hearing loss will need to meet certain other criteria set out in the Blue Book in order to receive benefits. The Blue Book is a medical guide developed by the Social Security Administration. Its listings will in part determine who will receive disability benefits.

To receive SSD benefits based on hearing loss, you will need to meet the eligibility criteria set out in Section 2.10 or 2.11 of the Blue Book. Per this standard, you must have a hearing test performed by a hearing care professional. If you are not being treated for your hearing loss with a cochlear implant, then you must meet at least one of the following:

  • You have a word recognition score of 40 percent or less in your better ear, assessed by using a standardized list of monosyllabic words; or
  • You have an average air conduction hearing threshold of 90 decibels or more in the better ear and a bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 decibels or better in the better ear.

For those who have had a cochlear implant put in, you will be considered disabled for one year after your surgery. After this year, you can still qualify for SSD benefits if you can show a word recognition score of 60 percent or less. Those with hearing loss in just one ear are unlikely to qualify

In addition to meeting these medical requirements, you must also conform to the financial requirements. You must earn under a certain amount, as defined regularly by the SSA. Contact an SSD attorney for more assistance with applying for benefits or appealing your denial of benefits today.

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