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Some people—but not everyone—with hearing difficulties will qualify for Social Security disability. In order to qualify for Social Security disability your hearing loss or deafness must be serious. People with mild or moderate hearing loss will not qualify for benefits.

Do You Have Profound Hearing Loss?

According to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Listing of Impairments, you may qualify for Social Security disability if you meet one of the following:

  • People Without Cochlear Implants Must meet one of the following two tests. They must either have an average air conduction hearing threshold of 90 decibels or greater and an average bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 decibels or greater in their better ear, pursuant to Section 2.10 (A) of the Listing of Impairments. Alternatively, they may qualify pursuant to Section 2.10 (B) of the Listing of Impairments if they have a word recognition score of 40 percent or less in the better ear determined using a standardized list of phonetically balanced monosyllabic words.
  • People With Cochlear Implants Must meet the requirements of Section 2.11 of the Listing of Impairments. They may be considered disabled for one year after initial implantation or longer if they have a word recognition score of 60 percent or less on a Hearing in Noise Test (HINT).

As with other types of disabilities, the burden of proving Social Security disability eligibility is on the person applying for Social Security disability benefits. If you do not meet the specific requirements described above then you may still be able to qualify for Social Security disability if you can prove that there are no jobs that you can do because of your specific level of hearing loss.

If you believe that your profound hearing loss prevents you from working, it is important to learn more about Social Security eligibility. Please contact us directly via this website to get your questions answered so that you can make an educated decision about whether or not to pursue Social Security disability benefits.

Morgan & Weisbrod LLP

by Paul B. Burkhalter
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.


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