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Can victims of work-related hearing loss obtain SSDI benefits?

Many Iowa residents work in atmospheres with consistent loud noises such as construction sites, manufacturing plants and more. The decibel levels in some of these work environments could lead to debilitating hearing loss over time. When the victims of work-related hearing loss can no longer work because of it, they may want to attempt to obtain Social Security Disability Income — SSDI — benefits to help make ends meet.

Hearing loss is a condition for which individuals can receive benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance program. However, each applicant must meet certain financial and medical criteria first. The first requirement is that the patient paid Social Security taxes from working at least part time for several years.

Medically, two separate tests are used to determine whether the hearing loss qualifies as a disability. The individual must only meet one of the tests to qualify. If an individual cannot repeat more than 40% of phonetically balanced words spoken to him or her, the hearing loss may qualify. The air and bone conduction test is the other way for hearing loss to qualify as a disability. It tests decibel levels based on air or bone conduction.

Of course, if an individual has cochlear implants, the qualification is automatic. For one year, he or she will automatically qualify for benefits after surgery. Thereafter, the extension of benefits only continues if the patient scores 60% or less on the “hearing in noise test” for word recognition.

Iowa residents who suffered work-related hearing loss may be able to obtain SSDI benefits by meeting these criteria. However, it is not as simple as that statement implies. The application process can cause stress and frustration for many applicants. Understanding how to answer questions and knowing what documentation to submit in order to avoid a denial often requires the advice and assistance of an attorney experienced in handling these claims.