Losing your ability to hear can not only be stressful in your everyday life, but you might not be able to stay at your current job. Interacting with other workers may prove difficult, plus your job could become dangerous if you cannot listen to hazardous situations in your work environment. Given your condition, you may wonder if you qualify for Social Security Disability.
Just losing some of your hearing will probably not be an automatic qualifier for benefits. The Social Security Administration has criteria that you must meet in order for the agency to determine that your condition impairs your ability to make a living.
A look at hearing loss standards
The SSA lists two different criteria that could qualify you for benefits. First, your better ear should reach the average air conduction hearing threshold of no less than 90 decibels. You should also have an average bone conduction hearing threshold of no less than 60 decibels in your best ear.
As an alternate qualification, your better ear should give you a word recognition score of no higher than 40%. You will arrive at this result by testing through a list of phonetically balanced monosyllable words.
Standards for people with cochlear implants
The SSA has different standards if you have received cochlear implant surgery. SSA considers cochlear implantation a disability for a full year following your surgery. Afterward, you may test to see if your word recognition score reaches no higher than 60% through a Hearing in Noise Test. If so, you may qualify for disability even though you have a cochlear implant.
The variety of standards established by Social Security shows that people with hearing problems might qualify for disability in different ways. You might find this encouraging as you seek to better your situation.