How Severe Does My Hearing Loss Have To Be To Get Disability?

If you have severe hearing loss or if you’ve had a cochlear implant, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. If your hearing loss makes it impossible for you to do your job, but you’ve worked in the past and earned work credits, you can apply for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. The money from disability benefits can be used to pay for any of your medical or living expenses while you can’t work.

Blue Book Listing For Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is considered to be a disabling condition by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is important to note that you don’t have to have total hearing loss to qualify for disability benefits. Hearing loss that impacts your ability to do your job can be enough to get approval for benefits so long as it’s severe enough that you won’t be able to work for at least a year.

If you have a cochlear implant for hearing loss, you will automatically be approved for 12 months of disability benefits. The 12 months starts on the day of your implant surgery and lasts for one full year. If you still can’t work a year after the implant surgery, you can reapply for disability benefits.

Proving Your Hearing Loss Is Severe Enough for SSD

If you are applying for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits because of hearing loss but you don’t have a cochlear implant, then you will need to submit medical evidence showing that you meet the listing requirements for hearing loss in the SSA’s Blue Book. The Blue Book listing for hearing loss states that you must have:

  • An average hearing threshold of 60 to 90 decibels or greater in the better ear, dependent upon the testing method


  • A word recognition score of 40 percent or lower in the better ear

You will need to submit medical evidence for disability, which includes hearing tests, X-rays of your ears, MRIs, and other medical proof showing that you have profound hearing loss that impacts your ability to work. You can also submit a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form that is filled out by your doctor and explains, in detail, how much hearing loss you have and how it affects your ability to work. An RFC form can help prove to the SSA that you are unable to work with the limitations caused by your hearing loss.

Applying for Disability Benefits

When you apply for disability benefits, it is very important that you make sure that your application is filled out correctly and that you have submitted enough medical evidence to show the SSA that you can’t work. Approximately 2/3 of initial disability benefits applications are denied by the SSA—either because of problems with the way the application was filled out or there was a lack of medical evidence. This is why working with a qualified Social Security disability attorney can help you avoid an initial denial.

According to data collected by the SSA, disability applicants who work with attorneys when completing and submitting their applications are more likely to get their applications approved compared to those who do not work with an attorney. This is why consulting with a disability lawyer is strongly encouraged.

Get Help With Your Disability Claim

A qualified disability attorney can go over your disability benefits application with you and help you understand what medical evidence you should be submitting in order to help you prove to the SSA that you can’t work. To get connected and speak with a Social Security disability attorney about getting you the disability benefits you may need, fill out the Free Case Evaluation on this page now—at zero cost to you.

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