Loss of hearing is common in today’s industrial world. Many loud noises are common in Houston’s overall environment. Jet liners, truck engines and many industries, such as metal fabricating, mining, drilling and construction, generate noises that can damage a person’s hearing to the point where the impairment may constitute a compensable disability under the Social Security Disability Insurance Act.
As with any application for SSDI benefits, the disability must be permanent and must be verified by prescribed medical procedures. For hearing loss, the SSA requires both an otologic examination and an audiometric examination. An otologic examination is the visual inspection of the ear and related anatomical structures by a licensed physician, osteopath or audiologist. It must include the claimant’s medical history, the claimant’s verbal description of the hearing loss and the physician’s visual description of the outer and inner structures of the ear. The audiometric examination is used to quantify the ear’s ability to transmit sounds of various frequencies. SSA regulations specify the degree of impairment that will qualify a person for benefits.
The SSA procedures for measuring hearing impairment depend upon the claimant’s ability to recognize certain words. The current SSA standards state that benefits will be awarded if the claimant is unable to recognize at least 40 percent of words on a standardized list of phonetically balanced monosyllabic words. If the claimant is not fluent in English, the SSA suggests that the claimant use a word recognition test for the language in which the person is most fluent.
Anyone considering seeking SSDI benefits for a hearing impairment may wish to consult an attorney who is experienced in handling such claims. A knowledgeable lawyer can assist in assembling necessary medical evidence and preparing and filing a proper application. If the claim should be denied, a capable SSDI attorney can handle any appeals.