DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR HEARING LOSS
Disability benefits are available for those with severe hearing loss. For instance, the SSA disability insurance program offers two types of benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
SSDI benefits are awarded if a person is disabled and unable to work. One must work first a certain number of quarters, in order to be eligible for SSDI benefits. If you need help applying for SSD and SSI benefits, then learn more here.
SSI benefits are for individuals who are disabled and cannot work. Likewise, they are also for people who have no work history. Or, they are for people who may not have earned enough work quarters to be eligible for SSDI benefits.
Similarly, SSI benefits are also available for children. In order to be eligible for SSI benefits, you must meet the income and asset restrictions set by the government. Learn more about SSI benefits here.
Many people who have hearing loss qualify for disability benefits. However, many people who have hearing loss are also able to work. Hearing loss is no longer considered an automatic bar to being able to obtain a job. Due to scientific advancement, there are tools for the hearing impairment that can help you at school and the workplace.
DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR ADULT HEARING LOSS
In order to obtain disability benefits for hearing loss, you first need to apply. You can apply for benefits online at Social Security’s website. Once you apply, you will need to prove that you meet the following SSA listing found in the “blue book.”
For adults, the medical listing for hearing loss is found under Listing 2.00: Special Senses And Speech. For example, you can obtain disability benefits for Ménière’s disease. Also, as an adult you can qualify for disability benefits if you have hearing loss without cochlear implants. However, you must meet one of two tests.
- Air and bone conduction audiometry. Your average threshold for air conduction in your better ear must be 90 decibels or worse and your bone conduction hearing threshold in the same ear has to be 60 decibels or more OR
- Word recognition. You must not be able to repeat more than 40% of words spoken using a phonetically balanced list of words.
If you, as an adult, have cochlear implants, then you will automatically found disabled and receive benefits for one year after the surgery. After one year, the SSA will extend disability benefits if your word recognition score on a “Hearing in Noise Test” (HINT) is 60% or less.
DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN WITH HEARING LOSS
For children, the medical listing for hearing loss and who do not have a cochlear implant, is Listing 102.10. Under this listing, children aged 5 and younger must have an air conduction hearing test. The result of the test must show an average threshold of 50 decibels or higher in the better ear.
Additionally, children aged 5 and older must have one of the following:
- an air conduction hearing test with an average threshold of 70 decibels or higher in the better ear and a bone conduction hearing test with an average threshold of 40 decibels or higher in the better ear
- a word recognition test with a value of 40% or lower in the best ear, or
- an air conduction hearing test with an average threshold of 50 decibels or higher in the better ear and a marked limitation in the child’s speech or language. See 102.00B2c–102.00B2f.
Find out more about children’s disability benefits here.
HEARING LOSS AND COCHLEAR IMPLANTS
Listing 102.11 is for children who have hearing loss but have a cochlear implant (a device that sends signals through the auditory nerve to the brain). The SSA will find a child with a cochlear implant eligible for disability benefits for one year after implantation. Also, any child under the age of five with a cochlear implant will be found disabled.
If a child over five years old has a cochlear implant for a year, the SSA will find they have a disability if they have a word recognition test with a value of 60% or lower. The SSA uses the Hearing in Noise Test (HINT) or the Hearing in Noise Test for Children (HINT-C) to evaluate word recognition. See 102.00B3b.
WHAT IS A COCHLEAR IMPLANT?
A cochlear implant is a complex electronic device that can help provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The implant has an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that requires surgery to place it under the skin. The cochlear implant has a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and receiver, and an electrode array. Obtaining a cochlear implant is expensive.
Beyond that, an implant does not restore normal hearing. Instead, it gives a deaf person the sensation of sounds in the environment. This, along with therapy, can help a person understand spoken language. Typically, following surgery, speech-language pathologists and audiologists help you through the learning process. However, the device cannot restore the ability to hear.
HOW DOES A COCHLEAR IMPLANT WORK?
A cochlear implant is not a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds so a person who is hard of hearing may hear them. Cochlear implants bypass the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve then sends the signals to the brain and the brain recognizes the signals as sound.
Futhermore, hearing through a cochlear implant is not the same as a hearing person being able to hear normal sounds. It also takes some time for a person with a cochlear implant to learn to distinguish the sounds. However, it does allow many people to recognize some sounds of speech, hear sound over the telephone, and hear warning signals.
Children and adults who are deaf or severely hard-of-hearing can receive cochlear implants. Worldwide, there are over 740,000 people using cochlear implants. In the United States, approximately 120,000 devices have been implanted in adults and 65,000 in children.
Implantation of a cochlear device is still a surgery. Therefore, you need to talk to your doctor and make an informed decision about whether the implant is right for you. Obtaining a cochlear hearing device can also be a controversial decision if your social life revolves around sign language. A cochlear implant does not eliminate all hearing loss. Think of all of the implications for you before you have surgery.
CANNON DISABILITY LAW WORKS ON A CONTINGENCY FEE BASIS
If you have disabling hearing loss, then you may need to hire an attorney to help you with your Social Security disability case. In order to hire Cannon Disability, all you need to do is contact us online. We offer a free consultation. And, it doesn’t cost you any money to contact us.
Better yet, it also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win your SSDI or SSI case, you pay out of your back benefits. If you do not win, there is no attorney fee to pay.
If there are costs in your case, then you pay those. However, those costs are usually less than $100. Once we win, we are paid from your back benefit. Some attorneys are claiming that you don’t pay anything for their services, because the SSA sends the check. However, the check is still money from your back benefits. So, you are paying the attorney with your back benefit money if you win.
In order to hire most lawyers, you have to pay upfront fee. We don’t work like that. You don’t have a job. So, the only way to pay us, is for us to win your case. That is our goal.
CONTACT CANNON DISABILITY LAW FOR HELP WITH YOUR HEARING LOSS DISABILITY CLAIM
At Cannon Disability, we work as a team to help you win your hearing loss disability claim. Proving disability can be complex. For example, even if your doctor states you need benefits, you will need to submit medical test results to the SSA. You need to know what those tests are.
We can help you understand what elements of disability you need to prove. No matter where you live, we can help you, because we have clients throughout the West, including Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California.
We have the experience you need to help you submit the proper medical records to the SSA. For example, Dianna Cannon has been practicing disability law for over 30 years. Also, Brett Bunkall has won hundreds of cases in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Andria Summers has over 20 years of experience helping thousands of claimants win disability benefits.
Our attorneys understand the law. Additionally, we have helped thousands of people who cannot work, win benefits. If you cannot work because of a disability, then contact us today.
Hire our disability team. The SSA has attorneys, experts, and doctors on their side. You need a legal team too. We have the experience you need. Let us help you win your disability benefits for hearing loss.