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What You Need To Know About Hearing Loss And Disability Benefits

If your hearing loss is severe and you no longer can do your job because of it, it would be in your best interest to apply for Social Security Disability benefits to help you pay your living expenses.

The Social Security Administration uses its medical guide, called the Blue Book, when it reviews an applicant’s eligibility criteria. The Blue Book outlines when a person with hearing loss can become eligible for benefits.

It all starts with a hearing test conducted by a qualified professional in Indiana. To qualify for benefits, the results must meet the requirements detailed in the Blue Book. Your hearing examiner can explain these complex requirements to you. They are:

  • An average air conduction hearing threshold of 90 decibels (dB) or greater in the better ear and an average bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 dB or greater in the better ear, OR
  • A word recognition score of 40 percent or less in the better ear determined by using a standardized list of phonetically balanced monosyllable words.

People who have cochlear implants are considered disabled for a year after surgery. Once the year is over, they still may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits with a word recognition score of 60 percent or below.

If you meet the criteria but have an income of more than $1,190 per month, you won’t qualify for benefits. If your workplace can modify your job, you have a job that isn’t dependent on your hearing, or your hearing loss is in just one ear, then you won’t get the authorization for benefits, either.

The disability application process can be complex, and there typically is a long wait for approval. If you have hearing loss and intend to apply for disability benefits, it would be helpful to engage the assistance of an attorney with experience in such filings. Your attorney will know exactly what needs to be included in your application to maximize its chances of approval.