At What Level is Hearing Loss Considered a Disability?

At What Level is Hearing Loss Considered a Disability?

It’s no secret that everyone relies on their hearing from a very early age. Hearing helps people communicate with others, make sense of the world around them, and become alert to any potential dangers or hazards wherever they are in the world.

Sadly, many people experience diminished hearing, either due to the aging process or as a result of trauma. Others may end up with gradual hearing loss due to certain medical conditions.

Hearing loss is often considered a disability. But, at what level must hearing loss become experienced before it gets classed as a disability?

The answer depends on how it gets categorized and whether that categorization occurs from a medical or legal perspective – as both definitions can be different.

Why Perspective Matters

As with many things in life, there is more than one perspective to consider if you believe you are experiencing hearing loss. For example, the medical perspective concentrates on meeting specific testing criteria to confirm that your hearing has significantly diminished. The legal perspective is more about the cause of hearing loss and how it impacts a person’s personal life and career.

You Want to Know If You’re Experiencing Hearing Loss

Everyone experiences some hearing loss in their lives as it’s a natural part of the aging process. Of course, some people have diminished hearing in their middle ages or even during childhood, and they’d like confirmation their level of hearing is significantly lower than most people their age.

You’d Like to Improve Your Quality of Life

If you believe your level of hearing is low, you may want confirmation of that to help you find ways to improve your quality of life. For instance, hearing aids are undeniably a practical way to boost an individual’s hearing by amplifying the sounds around them and providing better audio clarity.

You May Want to Pursue Compensation

Have you worked somewhere and noticed a significant decline in your hearing due to your working environment? If so, and your employer failed to provide appropriate ear protection during your time at work, you may wish to pursue a compensation claim.

To do that, you’ll need to prove from a legal perspective that your job damaged your hearing, and part of your case will undoubtedly involve providing evidence from a medical perspective.

How to Prove You Experience Hearing Loss

You will know if your hearing has significantly declined over the years. But you may need to prove to other people, such as a lawyer or the government, that your hearing loss is at a level where it would generally get considered a disability. Proof of hearing loss typically falls under two perspectives: a medical perspective and a legal one.

Proving Hearing Loss from a Medical Perspective

You will need a diagnosis from an audiologist to confirm that the hearing loss you experience is at a level that can get considered a disability. Hearing loss below 40 decibels (dBs) would get considered an impairment, with anything over 80dBs a profound loss.

Proving Hearing Loss from a Legal Perspective

As you might expect, many levels of severity exist that can dictate whether someone’s hearing loss is so profound that it is disabling.

For example, severe hearing loss impacts a person’s ability to work in specific environments and maintain a standard quality of life outside of work. The legal perspective also explores whether the cause of one’s hearing loss is due to the direct result of a workplace injury or one from a public place.

Can You Improve Hearing Loss?

As any audiologist will tell you, there is no cure for permanent hearing loss. But it’s possible to make some lifestyle changes to improve a person’s quality of life, as the following examples illustrate.

Temporary Versus Permanent Hearing Loss

Any audiologist will first determine whether you are experiencing temporary or permanent hearing loss. The former might occur due to a build-up of excess earwax or a viral infection, whereas the latter might be due to the aging process or the result of a trauma and injury.

Wearing Hearing Aids

Hearing aids, such as in-the-ear (ITE), behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-canal (ITC) provide users with greater sound clarity, enabling them to feel confident in social settings and at work.

Making Lifestyle Adjustments

One final way to improve the effects of hearing loss is by making some lifestyle adjustments. An example might be avoiding social situations with crowds of people, and another is steering clear of excessively noisy environments.

The only way to be sure that any hearing loss you experience gets considered a disability, both medically and legally, is to get diagnosed by an audiologist. Contact Professional Hearing Solutions today at (386) 478-7345 to schedule a hearing check and discuss potential treatment solutions.