Anyone with hearing difficulties knows that any substantial loss of hearing can make life and work much more difficult.
And in some cases, claimants may be eligible for disability benefits due to hearing loss.
However, to qualify for such benefits, any loss of hearing must be well documented by acceptable medical sources to meet the requirements of Social Security's disability listing.
Hearing loss is covered under Section 2.00 Special Senses and Speech, specifically Listing 2.10.
There are actually two different listings. One is for hearing loss with a cochlear implant, and one is for hearing loss without a cochlear implant
Hearing loss without a cochlear implant must be documented in one of either two ways to meet the listing:
- An average air conduction hearing threshold of 90 decibels or greater in the better ear and an average bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 decibels or greater in the better ear, or
- A word recognition score of 40 percent or less in the better ear determined using a standardized list of phonetically-balanced monosyllabic words.
To meet the listing requirements for hearing loss with a cochlear implant, there must be medical document of either:
- Disability for one year after initial implantation, or
- One year after implantation, you exhibit a word recognition score of 60 percent or less, determined using the HINT test.
If you are unfamiliar with the tests required by the listing, you should consult with a physician to have these tests conducted.
Even if you have substantial hearing loss but do not quite meet the listing requirements, you may still be eligible for disability benefits.
A judge may determine that based on your residual functional capacity, your hearing loss, in combination with other impairments, may prevent you from engaging in any sort of full-time employment.
An experienced disability attorney can help you decide whether to pursue a disability claim under this theory.