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Could hearing loss qualify one for SSDI in New Jersey?

The modern world is a noisy one. From jet engines to construction equipment, traffic noise and the ability to play music directly into the ears, the number and volume of sounds we are subjected to on a daily basis is staggering. However, for some people in New Jersey, this world is eerily quiet. Whether because of a condition present since birth, a mishap at work or play or just basic aging, many people struggle to hear and understand the words being spoken to them. Unfortunately, this kind of disability may create an inability to work in certain circumstances.

Because of this, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has some guidelines as to how they will evaluate hearing loss for the purposes of application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI.) As usual, a qualified professional will have to have made a diagnosis that there is a medically determinable impairment that is causing the loss of hearing. Further, there are some thresholds that the SSA uses to determine if one's hearing loss is sufficient to meet the standards in the "blue book."

First, there should be testing of the air and bone conduction ability of the individual applicant's ears. The air conduction threshold needs to be 90 decibels or greater, and the bone conduction threshold 60 decibels or greater, both applicable to the better ear. If the application is based upon not being able to understand words, the applicant must be tested and be able to understand fewer than 40 percent of monosyllabic words in the better ear. Different criteria may apply if the applicant has a cochlear implant.

It is important to note that the regular rules regarding the length and severity of the disability

apply as well. Also, just because one doesn't meet the "blue book" criteria, doesn't mean one cannot be found to qualify for SSDI, if the disability does indeed keep one from working and other requirements are met. Those with questions may wish to consult an experienced New Jersey disability attorney.

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