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Disability benefits for your hearing loss aren't guaranteed

If you suffer from a disabling physical or mental injury that prevents you from working, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to cover food, housing and medical costs. In order to qualify for such benefits, your injury must extend beyond a certain threshold. Hearing loss can result in your receiving SSDI.

In Section 2.10 of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Blue Book, it details what criteria you must meet if you experience a hearing loss that cannot be resolved via the use of a cochlear implant. It describes how an individual who receives a 40 percent or lower monsyllable word recognition test score may qualify as having a disability.

It also chronicles how an individual who completes bone conduction testing and receives an average score of 60 decibels (dB) or higher in their more dominant ears may also qualify for SSDI. So, too, many someone who undergoes air conduction testing and receives a 90 dB or higher score in their better-functioning ear.

Section 2.11 covers hearing loss in individuals who have cochlear implants. It describes how all individuals who have these implants are eligible to claim disability for an entire year after their surgeries. Individuals who continue to score 60 percent or lower on word recognition may continue receiving disability benefits thereafter.

The first step to determining whether you may qualify as having disabling hearing loss is to undergo a hearing test at a audiologist's office.

Even if the test indicates losses on par with the above guidelines, it doesn't mean that you'll automatically qualify for SSDI benefits. Instead, the SSA will evaluate whether your job requires you to have good hearing abilities. If it does, your employer may be able to make modifications to your role to make it possible for you to continue working with your loss.

Also important is how much you earn on the job. If you are able to bring in at least $1,190 monthly without receiving disability benefits, you won't be approved for SSDI. While hearing loss may be relatively minor in comparison to more serious impairments like cancer or degenerative arthritis, a St. Louis Social Security disability attorney can help you navigate the process of applying for and receiving benefits.

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