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How to qualify for SSDI with a hearing impairment

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2022 | Social Security Disability

Hearing loss makes communication difficult and work sites hazardous for individuals. As a result, some people can not perform their jobs and may consider Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, as supplemental income.

The National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states that among working-age adults,  2% of those aged 45 to 54 have major hearing loss, while over 8% of people aged 55 to 64 experience similar loss.  This percentage is a significant portion of the pre-retirement-aged workforce who may qualify for SSDI.

Does hearing loss qualify for SSDI?

Not everyone who has some hearing loss qualifies for SSDI. The loss must be substantial enough that the individual cannot perform their job or alternate positions.

How is hearing loss determined?

Non-age-related hearing loss may result from genetic abnormalities, accidents, or work conditions. Regardless of how the loss develops, the qualifications for SSDI due to hearing impairment are the same. To determine eligibility, people must undergo hearing tests performed by a licensed doctor or audiologist. The required tests are:

  • A word discrimination test
  • An air and bone conduction test
  • Determining their speech recognition threshold

What level of hearing loss qualifies for SSDI?

Those with detrimental hearing loss might be eligible for SSDI if their test results meet these standards:

  • Scoring 40% or below on the word recognition test
  • An air conduction threshold of 90 decibels or less, or a bone conduction threshold of 60 decibels or less

Social security only uses the results from the better hearing ear to determine eligibility.

If someone experiences hearing loss, they should get a formal evaluation to see if they qualify for SSDI.


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