What Are the Disability Benefits for Hearing Loss?
Loss of hearing may affect your ability to complete everyday tasks or perform tasks within your job. If you have suffered severe hearing loss, you may qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Social
Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book listing describes severe (but not moderate or mild) hearing impairment as a disability.
Do I Qualify for Social Security Benefits for Deafness?
There are two main ways you may qualify for disability benefits for hearing loss:
- Getting cochlear implants
- Completing hearing testing showing a severe level of impairment in hearing
Once you get cochlear implants, you may get hearing loss disability benefits for twelve months after the procedure. After that year, you may be able to extend the benefits by taking the “Hearing in Noise Test” (HINT) with a word recognition score of 60% or less.
Tests for Hearing Loss Social Security Disability Benefits
The most common way to secure social security disability benefits for hearing loss is to take tests to show that your hearing loss meets specific minimums. There are two types of tests you may take:
- Audiometric testing — This type of testing may involve pure-tone air conduction testing and pure-tone bone conduction testing. Both tests are conducted while you’re not wearing hearing aids. Pure-tone air conduction testing involves listening to a series of sounds through headphones and indicating when you can hear the sounds. With pure-tone bone conduction testing, gentle electrical vibrations are sent to the back of the head via headphones and you indicate when you feel the vibrations. If the pure-tone bone conduction shows a threshold of 60 dB (decibels) or poorer in the less-affected ear — or a pure-tone bone conduction test shows a threshold of 90 dB or worse — you may qualify for SSA benefits for hearing loss.
- Speech recognition testing — In this test, you’ll listen to a list of standardized words and will be asked to recognize them. You may qualify for social security benefits for deafness if you cannot repeat more than 40% of the words.
These tests must be performed by a professional – often a doctor or otolaryngologist (ENT). The SSA may also request further testing from specialists if they decide it’s necessary.
Qualifying for Benefits
If your hearing impairment is serious enough to affect your job, you may qualify for social security benefits. To qualify, you may need to apply for a physical hearing loss residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment to determine whether your disability meets the requirements for deafness social security disability benefits.