Some California residents with hearing impairments may wonder if they qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. There is some information about hearing problems included in the Social Security Administration’s blue book for assessing disability eligibility, but it may indicate little about whether a particular claimant is eligible for benefits. When a claim is made for disability benefits based on hearing loss or impairment, there are several criteria that the agency may use to determine whether a particular applicant is eligible.

Audiometric testing is an important part of the disability claims process for people with hearing loss. Audiometry is used to test a person’s hearing levels as well as his or her ability to differentiate speech, sound and pitch. This is one of the most important elements used to reach a decision. A claimant may present a report from an audiologist or the disability examiner reviewing the claim will organize a consultative examination.

In general, disability examiners focus on the hearing available in a claimant’s better ear to determine eligibility for SSD benefits. If an applicant can hear very poorly in one ear but the person’s other ear has hearing quality above the limits specified in Social Security Administration guidelines, he or she may not be eligible for benefits under this section. At the same time, it may still be possible to pursue a claim based on a person’s unique circumstances as a medical vocational allowance. This is especially true when other factors can combine with hearing loss to make a person too disabled to work.

People who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits may face a long process that can involve several appeals. This is why many claimants find it advisable to have the assistance of an experienced attorney from the outset.