Qualifying for Disability Benefits (SSDI) with Hearing Loss in Pennsylvania

After eyesight, our sense of hearing is arguably the most important.  We rely heavily on our ears to help us communicate effectively, observe our environment, and stay out of danger. When a person’s ears are damaged by injury or illness, it can be risky or completely impossible to work safely.

Unfortunately, life still continues to make its financial demands regardless of whether or not you are earning an income.  You still have to pay your utility bills, to buy your groceries, to pay your rent, and so forth.  If you cannot work due to difficulty hearing, you may be able to qualify for monthly benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

An experienced attorney can help strengthen your claim, or represent your interests if you’ve already been denied.  To schedule a free, private legal consultation with the Pennsylvania disability lawyers of Young, Marr & Associates, call our law offices at (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania.

Does the SSA Qualify Hearing Loss as a Disability?

While social security benefits are an immensely important form of assistance for millions of Americans, qualifying to receive aid is notoriously difficult.  In Pennsylvania, the average approval rate hovers around 32%. If an applicant’s original claim is denied, successive claims have an even lower success rate. A skilled disability benefits lawyer can help you build the strongest and most convincing claim possible, and can advocate for you if your claim is going through the Reconsideration process.

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Many of the applications reviewed by claims examiners and the Bureau of Disability Determination are ultimately denied.  While some of these denials are based on a technicality, such as missing a deadline, the majority can be traced back to a medical reason.  In other words, most claims and rejected because the SSA feels that your condition is not severe enough to meet its requirements.

SSA Disability Requirements to Receive Disability Benefits

What are those requirements?  In general, your condition:

  1. Must have a duration or expected duration of 12 months minimum.
  2. Must be so severe that it prevents you from working.

In addition to these blanket requirements, the SSA also imposes a unique set of requirements which vary by health issue.  Arthritis, for example, could not be weighed by the same standards as a heart condition.

These issue-specific requirements are outlined by the SSA’s “Blue Book,” formally known as the Listing of Impairments.  If your claim can demonstrate that you meet the standards in the Listing, you are more likely to be approved for benefits.

How to Qualify for Disability with Hearing Loss in Pennsylvania

Issues related to the sense of sound are covered by Section 2.00, Special Senses and Speech. Under Section 2.00B, titled “How do we evaluate hearing loss?” the Listing states:

“We need evidence showing that you have a medically determinable impairment that causes your hearing loss and audiometric measurements of the severity of your hearing loss.  We generally require both a complete otologic examination and audiometric testing to establish that you have a medically determinable impairment that causes your hearing loss.”

The otologic examination “must be performed by a licensed physician (medical or osteopathic doctor).”  Audiometric testing “must be performed by, or under the direct supervision of, an otolaryngologist or by an audiologist qualified to perform such tests.”

The SSA divides applicants two categories:

  1. Those treated with cochlear implantation (Section 2.11).
  2. Those not treated with cochlear implantation (Section 2.10).

The former category (with implantation) may be classified as a disability for up to one year following the implant.  If more than one year has already passed, the SSA will utilize a word recognition test. You must score 60% or lower.

The latter category (without implantation) is evaluated based on how many decibels you can perceive, or by word recognition testing.  Your score must be 40% or lower, in your better ear.

You can read the unabridged, official guidelines here.

Call Our Pennsylvania Social Security Disability Attorneys Today

At Young, Marr & Associates, we are a respected team of committed and aggressive attorneys with over 25 years of experience.  We have represented thousands of clients during our many years in practice, and have claimed millions of dollars in benefits for people just like yourself.  We have decades of practical experience successfully navigating the social security system.  If you’re ready to file a claim or seek Reconsideration, we’re ready to help you on the path to approval.

To speak confidentially with an experienced disability attorney free of charge, call the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates at (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania.  You can also contact us online.