There are several sensations that are absolutely necessary to do certain types of work, and hearing loss can significantly impact a person’s ability to do many types of jobs. Whether the hearing loss is caused by a traumatic event or the person was born without hearing, it can be difficult for many people to do some types of jobs. Additionally, even if a person has partial hearing, it can still be difficult or impossible to do many types of work. Anyone who has hearing loss should understand their options, especially if they’re having difficulties completing all of their assigned tasks. Some people might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, and knowing what the criteria is will help many people get the financial help that they need.
What Is Hearing Loss?
There are three main types of hearing loss, including conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. Conductive hearing loss involves the outer and middle ear, sensorineural hearing loss involves the inner ear, and mixed involves a combination of conductive and sensorineural. Hearing loss is very common as people get older, and it’s often caused by damage from loud noises or aging. Hearing loss can’t be reversed in most cases, but there are some devices that can be used to give people with some types of hearing loss back some of their ability to hear.
Aging is one of the major factors that determine whether or not a person has hearing loss. Chronic exposure to loud noises can also lead to hearing loss. There are also times when exposure to very loud noises can cause some permanent hearing loss. There are also medications that can factor into damaging ears, and some illnesses can cause damage to the cochlea. Finally, genetic makeup can factor into whether or not a person has hearing loss.
There are several common ways that hearing loss can occur. For example, some people might begin to experience hearing loss because of a buildup of earwax. Ear infections, bone growths, and tumors can also damage the ear in ways that can cause hearing damage. Loud blasts of sound can damage the ear drum, and loud sounds can damage the nerve cells on the cochlea.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
There are many types of sounds that people with hearing loss might begin to have difficulties experiencing. For instance, some people will begin to have difficulties hearing consonants, and other people might begin to have difficulties hearing words when there’s a backdrop of other sounds. Instead, many people will begin to hear words as more of a muffled sound. People with hearing loss will often ask others to repeat what they said or speak more slowly and clearly. Additionally, some people will turn up the volume on the radio or television.
Many people with hearing loss withdraw from conversations because of their inability to hear. And other people will avoid social situations.
In addition to the immediate consequences of hearing loss, there are other types of mental, social, and emotional consequences that arise out of not being able to hear. For instance, hearing loss can impact a person’s quality of life, and they might become depressed as a result of not being able to interact the way that they used to. This is especially true for older adults who have lost the ability to hear and are no longer able to take part in conversations the way that they used to.
There’s also an association between hearing loss and cognitive decline. When hearing loss is treated, there’s also a positive association in regaining cognitive function, especially memory.
Treatment for Hearing Loss
Although there isn’t a way to completely reverse many types of hearing loss, there are a lot of treatments that can significantly improve the quality of the hearing that the person still has. The type of treatment that the person receives will depend on the reason for the hearing loss.
For instance, one of the most common reasons of hearing loss is ear wax buildup, and simply removing the ear wax is a simple way to dramatically improve the quality of the sounds that the person is able to hear. There are several methods for removing ear wax, including using a suction or another type of device.
Another reason for hearing loss is from damage to the ear drum or abnormalities in various parts of the ear bones. In cases like this, there are surgeries that can correct the damage to the ear drum and abnormalities of the bones. Additionally, people who have had problems with ear infections might need tubes that drain the ears inserted.
Hearing aids can be helpful to people with damage to the inner ear. Additionally, cochlear implants are useful to people who have damage to their ears that doesn’t respond to conventional hearing aids. This is a useful distinction because hearing aids work by amplifying and clarifying the sounds that the person can already hear to a lesser extent. Cochlear implants work by bypassing the non-working parts of the ear to directly stimulate the nerves that work.
Disability Benefits for Hearing Loss
People who are beginning to have signs of hearing loss might be concerned that they’re no longer going to be able to do their jobs, and they should look into getting Social Security disability benefits. The good news for some people is that disability benefits are automatically granted to anyone who has profound hearing loss. But even people who don’t have hearing loss that’s profound might still be able to qualify for benefits if they’re able to show that their hearing loss is significant enough that there aren’t any jobs that they can do.
To determine whether or not the hearing loss is significant enough to qualify for benefits, there are a few criteria that the applicant must meet. First of all, the applicant must take the audiometry test, which measures the sensitivity thresholds for air conduction and bone conduction. Air conduction must be 90 decibels or worse in the better ear, and bone conduction must be 60 decibels or worse in the better ear. The other option is to complete a word recognition test. The applicant has to be able to repeat back less than 40% of the words.
If a person still doesn’t meet the listing for disability benefits, they can try applying using the residual functional capacity test. This assessment determines whether or not there’s available work for the person by looking at what work they’ve done in the past and comparing the requirements of those jobs with the limitations that the applicant has. If there isn’t a type of work that the applicant can do, there’s a good chance that they will receive disability benefits.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Hearing Loss, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.