Disability claims filed underneath the special senses category of the Social Security Administration Blue Book include hearing, speech and visual impairments.
Statutory blindness, hearing loss, and auditory processing disorders are just a few of the many conditions listed as examples under this category. Vertigo caused by a hearing impairment can also be considered for disability benefits.
To qualify, several tests must be performed in order to determine the extent of a claimant’s impairment and if it can be managed to allow the individual to function.
For a visual disorder a routine eye examination is required. More often than not, this eye exam will show the cause of this disorder and help solidify medical evidence for a claimant. If this exam cannot determine the obvious cause of a visual disorder, then additional medical evidence should show how it affects a person’s ability to function on a daily basis.
Hearing and Speech
Hearing disorders should be diagnosed through an otolaryngologic (head and neck) exam performed by an audiologist, or a practitioner specializing in this field. During this exam, the physician will check the eardrum and middle ear using an otoscope, a cone shaped device with a light and magnifying lens. They might also perform an audiogram to test a person’s ability to hear and a tympanogram to measure your ear’s pressure and mobility levels.
Measurements taken with an approved audiometer should also be taken within two months of a claimant’s head and neck examination. In addition to examination results, how the disorder affects a person’s ability to function will also be a key component in determining whether or not they receive benefits.
The tests mentioned above can also be performed if an individual wears hearing aids or has a cochlear implant, but the threshold to meet the SSA’s guidelines will be adjusted accordingly. It’s important to note that hearing aids should not be worn for either examination.
Those who have a cochlear implant are considered disabled until after the first year of their implantation. The Hearing in Noise Test (HINT) is performed on individuals who have had their cochlear implant for more than a year, to see if they are able to process and enunciate words to a recognizable degree. If the individual cannot hear nor respond at 60 decibels, then they should be considered impaired.
Lastly, vertigo can also be considered for disability benefits under this category, since it is often associated with hearing impairments. Medical evidence for vertigo can also be gathered by an audiologist or a head and neck specialist that performs the hearing exams listed above.
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Navigating the disability claim process on your own can be exhausting, discouraging and add a multitude of stress to your daily life. At O’Neil and Bowman Disability Group, we always put the wellbeing of our clients first. Our goal is to work as quickly and diligently as possible to get your claim approved, while you focus on your health.
Our law firm is proud to be one of the most empathetic and industrious social security disability lawyers near Chesapeake, Virginia. We can help you get the benefits you rightfully deserve. Call us and book your free consultation today.