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Is Wearing a Hearing Aid Classified as a Disability?

an older woman being fitted for hearing aids

There are many reasons why a person might wear a hearing aid. Hearing loss affects people in different ways, and a hearing aid provides some support to improve the hearing of the wearer –  something that can be mild or severe. 

Establishing whether or not your hearing loss is classified as a disability can help ensure you receive the right support should you need it. Generally, hearing loss is considered a form of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), providing protection and some social security benefits that could be very useful to someone with hearing loss.

Find out more about wearing a hearing aid and disability to help see if you qualify.

Hearing loss and disability

To understand whether hearing loss is classed as a disability, it’s important to look at how disabilities are classified. According to the World Health Organization, disability is classified as either being:

  • Impairment of body functions or structures: Where there are problems in body function or structure as a significant deviation or loss.
  • Activity limitations and participation restriction: Where an individual experiences difficulty in executing activities or problems participating in life situations.

Hearing loss could be classed as a disability according to both of these categories, but the ADA itself has its own classifications of disability, although not everything is explicitly covered. 

As hearing loss can vary in severity, it can be difficult to determine at what point it becomes a disability. For example, to be eligible to receive social security benefits, you’ll need to meet certain conditions:

  • Hearing measured by air conduction must measure at an average of below 90dB.
  • Hearing measured by bone conduction must measure at an average of below 60dB.
  • Being unable to repeat 40% of words during a word recognition test.

As hearing loss progresses over time, you could find that at one stage, you won’t qualify for social security benefits, but could qualify after being re-assessed at another point.

Hearing aids and disability

While different levels of hearing loss can be classified as a disability, it doesn’t automatically mean that wearing a hearing aid qualifies. Neither the ADA, nor the Social Security Administration recognizes wearing a hearing aid alone as a disability. But as a hearing aid can help improve your hearing if you have hearing loss, it can improve your quality of life. 

While it can be easy to ignore the disabilities you can’t see, it’s still important to seek treatment for your hearing loss. Even at an early stage, you can receive treatment and advice that could prevent it from worsening over time, as well as make sure you’re able to receive the support that’s available to you. 

Do you need a hearing aid?

Hearing loss comes in many forms, and while some causes are treatable, you won’t know until you have a hearing assessment. An appointment with an audiologist can carry out various tests on your hearing to establish whether a condition such as tinnitus is the cause behind your hearing loss, or if there is anything else that could be behind it.

Some of the ways to determine if you need a hearing aid include having to ask people to repeat what they’re saying, feeling as though you’re straining to hear and turning up the TV much louder than before. If your hearing is having a direct impact on your daily activities, then this is something you should be concerned about, and seek advice for from an audiologist.

An appointment with an audiologist will make sure you undergo the right tests on your hearing, which can not only help establish the cause, but determine whether or not a hearing aid is right for you. With many types and styles of hearing aids available, there are some discreet options that could help you feel more comfortable with wearing one. It will also be worth notifying your employer if your situation, as they might be able to provide assistance that will help you in the workplace.

While wearing a hearing aid doesn’t qualify as a disability on its own, the hearing loss you experience can is a disability that can affect your day-to-day life. By seeking a diagnosis and treatment for your hearing loss, you can take steps to improve your hearing and your quality of life. If your hearing loss becomes severe, where it is recognized as a disability, you’ll then be able to establish which benefits you could qualify for.

Listen Hear Diagnostics can help you find the most suitable hearing aids for your needs. To learn more about Listen Hear Diagnostics, get in touch via our website, or call us today at 347-450-9872.