Otolaryngology is the technical term for hearing loss. Symptoms of Otolaryngology include difficulty hearing voices in conversation, especially the presence of background noise, the muffling of other sounds and the need to turn up devices such as the radio or television.
Otolaryngology mostly results from the aging process, but can also be caused by other factors such as genetic birth defects, periods of illness, injuries, certain drugs, continued exposure or sudden exposure to loud noises, and cancer.
Which of the three types of Otolaryngology you have will most likely determine your eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance or Social Security Income, the two main SSA programs for the disabled. The simplest type is conductive hearing loss. It consists in problems with the function of the outer ear and eardrum; caused by either obstructions, injuries, or improperly formed ears. It is almost always curable by simple medical treatments or surgery, thus eliminating your need for Social Security Disability benefits.
The second type of Otolaryngology is sensorineural. It affects the function of the inner ear, the part of the ear that transmits the signals received from the other ear directly to the brain to be interpreted. It is incurable, but sometimes improved with the use of special hearing aids. People with sensorineural Otolaryngology will not simply have trouble hearing sounds; they will not be able to understand speech. This significantly hinders a person’s ability to interact with the outside world, making it difficult to get and keep a job. If you have this type of hearing loss, you are more likely to qualify for Social Security Disability programs.
The third type of Otolaryngology is a combination of the other two. In this case, your likelihood of receiving Social Security Disability will depend on the severity of each type of hearing loss.
Otolaryngology is a tremendous obstacle to both finding and keeping a job, as employers do not want to spend the extra time and expense necessary to accommodate you, making you a prime candidate for Social Security Disability.
Otolaryngology and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work
Physical tasks may be easier to perform with hearing loss than with other disabilities, as the body’s ability to move and lift is not hindered. In this case, those reviewing your case for Social Security Disability will determine if the communication barrier created by your hearing loss is great enough to supersede your ability to perform non-communicative job functions. The use of doctor’s reports will most likely be used in your Social Security Disability determination. Otolaryngology is determinable by most physicians to a limited degree, but more precise measurements are performed by audiologists. The exact level of hearing loss necessary to qualify you for Social Security Disability is laid out in the section of the SSA’s Blue Book that deals with hearing loss.
Otolaryngology and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work
Sedentary work can pose an even greater challenge to the hearing impaired than physical work. The types of jobs classified as sedentary often require more communication and the ability to use phones, intercoms, and other hearing-dependent devices. Sometimes you may be able to perform the required job functions with the use of special equipment and therefore become ineligible for Social Security Disability. However, employers are often not willing to make allowances for your unique circumstance when there are others to choose from.
On top of the common feelings of social alienation that Otolaryngology creates, you will also face discrimination. Discrimination against those with Otolaryngology is prevalent in the work field, even though it is technically illegal, as is the case with other handicaps or perceived disadvantages. However small a consolation, it often works to your advantage when it comes to a positive Social Security Disability review. You should keep in mind, however, that denials are quite common in the process for applying for benefits. Therefore, you should consider hiring the services of a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate to help you with your claim.