You can be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits if you are unable to hold employment. However, the average hearing loss that people experience with age may not qualify for the benefits. Furthermore, temporary hearing loss may also not qualify for the benefits because your hearing loss disorder must last for at least 12 months. 

However, if your hearing loss does not meet the specific criteria, you may still be eligible for benefits through a Residual Functional Capacity assessment, which considers the functional limitations caused by your hearing loss and how it affects your ability to work. In some cases, it may also lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, anxiety, and depression. 

Is Hearing Loss A Disability?

Yes, hearing loss can be considered a disability. It is the partial or total inability to hear sounds in one or both ears. The impact of hearing loss on an individual’s daily life can vary depending on the severity and type of hearing loss. It can significantly affect communication, social interactions, and the ability to perform certain tasks. 

To determine eligibility for hearing impairment, an applicant can apply for SSDI or SSI benefits provided by the Social Security Administration. The SSA evaluates for social security disability for hearing loss based on specific criteria outlined in their Listing of Impairments in Blue Book. Meeting the eligibility criteria in the Listing of Impairments and submitting the medical evidence can help prove your disability. 

There is a standard of proof that determines that your disabling condition is the reason for reducing your ability to perform work. This is known as a medical-vocational allowance (MVA), which determines the severity of your condition. It may depend on several factors, such as age, education, and experience. In such circumstances, a claimant may be awarded Social Security disability benefits. The mild to moderate hearing impairment will not qualify the claimant for disability benefits.  

How Does The SSA Define Hearing Loss Impairment?

Hearing loss impairment is mentioned in the SSA blue Book under the section name of Special Senses and Speech impairments. Along with hearing loss impairment, SSA also looks for other symptoms such as tinnitus, vertigo, difficulty in balancing, and difficulty in recognizing words. In older people who are experiencing diabetes can lead to hearing loss problems. 

How Much Hearing Loss Is Considered Disabled?

Hearing loss greater than 35 decibels in the better-hearing ear is considered disabled. The determination of disability due to hearing loss is typically based on various factors, including the severity of the hearing loss, the impact it has on an individual’s ability to communicate and function in daily life, and the specific criteria set by the SSA.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hearing Loss?

The symptoms of hearing loss can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Some of them include:

  • Difficulty in understanding speech: You may have difficulty understanding conversations, especially in noisy environments or when multiple people are speaking.
  • Muffled or distorted sounds: Sounds may seem muffled, unclear, or distorted, making it challenging to distinguish between different sounds or words.
  • Trouble following conversations: You may find it hard to follow conversations, particularly when they involve multiple participants or occur in fast-paced situations.
  • Withdrawal from social situations: Hearing loss can lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, and fatigue during social interactions, causing some individuals to withdraw from social activities.
  • Tinnitus: Some people with hearing loss experience tinnitus, which is a ringing, buzzing, or hissing sound in the ears.

How To Apply For Hearing Loss Disability?

The next step after meeting the eligibility criteria is to apply for hearing disability benefits. You need to follow these general steps:

  • Collect medical documentation: Collect relevant medical records, including audiograms, diagnostic tests, and evaluations from healthcare professionals that confirm the severity and impact of your hearing loss.
  • Complete the application: Fill out the necessary disability application forms, providing accurate and detailed information about your medical condition, work history, and daily functional limitations related to hearing loss. 
  • Follow up and cooperate: Stay in touch with the disability program and SSA who are handling your application. Respond promptly to any requests for additional information or medical examinations to ensure the smooth processing of your claim.

What Hearing Tests Does the SSA Require?

The Social Security Administration requires audiometric testing for hearing loss claims as part of the evaluation process. The specific hearing tests the SSA may request include:

  • Pure-tone audiometry: This test measures your ability to hear different pitches (frequencies) and volumes (intensities) of sound. You will wear headphones and respond when you hear a tone, indicating the softest sound you can hear at each frequency.
  • Speech audiometry: This test assesses your ability to understand and repeat words at various volume levels. You will listen to recorded speech through headphones and repeat the words you hear.
  • Tympanometry: This test examines the movement of your eardrum in response to changes in air pressure. It helps assess the health and function of your middle ear.

These tests help determine the severity and extent of your hearing loss, which is vital for the SSA to evaluate your eligibility for disability benefits. 

What If Your Hearing Loss Meets The SSA’s Eligibility Criteria?

If your hearing loss meets the SSA’s criteria, you can further apply for the benefits. However, you must know when you are eligible to apply and when you must wait. 

An applicant can apply if hearing loss has been diagnosed by a licensed healthcare professional and your symptoms prevent you from working. You must wait and apply later if your symptoms are moderate and you are able to work and perform day-to-day activities. 

You must not apply if your earnings are more than $1,550 per month and your hearing loss is manageable with your work. 

What If Your Hearing Loss Doesn’t Meet The SSA’s Eligibility Criteria?

When you analyze SSA’s eligibility criteria and you realize that you do not meet them, you may still move ahead with your disability application for hearing loss. However, you must be truthful in filling out your application form. You need to collect evidence from your medical records that prove that your hearing loss prevents you from doing work.

The application form for the SSA is also challenging as only 20% of the applicants get approved for the benefits in their first instance. Rest can appeal and submit all the additional evidence that may strengthen their hearing loss disability claim.

How Much Is a Disability Check For Hearing Loss?

The average disability benefits for hearing loss impairment are $1,361.97 monthly. However, the maximum possible monthly for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is $3,822 and for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is $943 in 2024.

Was The Disability Claim Denied? Contact a Disability Lawyer

It can be helpful to consult with a Social Security disability lawyer experienced in disability claims. They can guide you through the application process, ensure all necessary documentation is included, and represent your interests if your claim is denied and you need to appeal. (Learn more on reasons for denial by the SSA)

Disability Conditions That May Qualify For Benefits

Blindness Brain Tumor AFIB Autism
BPD Cancer Narcolepsy PTSD
Vertigo Schizophrenia Seizure Dyslexia
Celiac Disease Anxiety Depression ADHD
Agoraphobia Alopecia Asthma Bipolar
Breast Cancer Dementia Dysautonomia Epilepsy
Fibromyalgia Hearing Loss lupus POTS
Scoliosis Sleep Apnea Diabetes