Single-sided deafness: How does if affect speech recognition?

Posted by golden418 @golden418, Mar 25 11:50am

Hi all,

Hope all are healthy & safe !!

I am wondering if anyone has a publication, research article, etc. on single sided deafness, with significant loss in good ear and poor speech recognition (unaided in the 44% to 60% range)?

Specifically, I am looking for the obstacles faced, how it effects Social Security Disability and related items.

Thank you,

Tim

Hi Tim, I'd like to bring @julieo4 @editored @joyces and @tonyinmi into this discussion. They are great with finding articles and research about hearing loss and more.

Tim, have you faced specific obstacles when applying for social security disability?

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Thank you.

Yes I have. I am currently on long term disability (age 63) from my employer's LTD plan. Part of that plan criteria is that I apply for SSDI, which I have done. I live in New York and had to go through the state system first (SSDI contracts it out to NYS) – they denied me and now it is at the federal level and they are questioning the degree of the disability. I am totally deaf in my right ear and have moderate to severe loss in my left. On the last two Speech Recognition Test (SRT) I scored (2019) 44% in my left ear and retook it in 2020 and scored 60%. This may seem like a big difference but, it is really not (even my ENT shrugged it off as normal variation). The test consist of 25 words – the 44% represents 11 words out of 25. 60% equals 15 out of 25. I am being told that it needs to be below 50%. That would mean 12.5 words (obviously there are no half words). As I tried to explain to the lawyer (assigned to me by the LTD provider) that this test, at least to me, is quite meaningless in the real world – you do not have "soundproof silence". An Azi Bio test I took in 2018 showed 29% correct in a noise background, I have been telling him that is the test to use as a "medical equivalency" – hence, I am looking for literature / research to support that.

There is no doubt in my mind that if the audiologist who performed the 44% test was to test me I would score in that range again The 60% tester (two different individuals) has a voice depth / tone (whatever it is) that I just can hear better. The 60% performed the AZI Bio in 2018.

I am trying to get my Audiologist (a Dr. that works for a hearing aid center – very reputable one at that) to look at it and write up a letter to that effect. However, her practice is shut down due to the virus and I cannot get a hold of her (as yet).

Thank you

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@golden418

Thank you.

Yes I have. I am currently on long term disability (age 63) from my employer's LTD plan. Part of that plan criteria is that I apply for SSDI, which I have done. I live in New York and had to go through the state system first (SSDI contracts it out to NYS) – they denied me and now it is at the federal level and they are questioning the degree of the disability. I am totally deaf in my right ear and have moderate to severe loss in my left. On the last two Speech Recognition Test (SRT) I scored (2019) 44% in my left ear and retook it in 2020 and scored 60%. This may seem like a big difference but, it is really not (even my ENT shrugged it off as normal variation). The test consist of 25 words – the 44% represents 11 words out of 25. 60% equals 15 out of 25. I am being told that it needs to be below 50%. That would mean 12.5 words (obviously there are no half words). As I tried to explain to the lawyer (assigned to me by the LTD provider) that this test, at least to me, is quite meaningless in the real world – you do not have "soundproof silence". An Azi Bio test I took in 2018 showed 29% correct in a noise background, I have been telling him that is the test to use as a "medical equivalency" – hence, I am looking for literature / research to support that.

There is no doubt in my mind that if the audiologist who performed the 44% test was to test me I would score in that range again The 60% tester (two different individuals) has a voice depth / tone (whatever it is) that I just can hear better. The 60% performed the AZI Bio in 2018.

I am trying to get my Audiologist (a Dr. that works for a hearing aid center – very reputable one at that) to look at it and write up a letter to that effect. However, her practice is shut down due to the virus and I cannot get a hold of her (as yet).

Thank you

Jump to this post

I'm not sure why you are unable to work. Many of us with hearing loss more severe or profound that yours have held jobs. I was a teacher. I decided to get a master's degree when I was in my mid 50s and worked in a human service agency as a case manager after graduating. My clients did not have hearing loss. I did. I used all the assistive technology available to me on my jobs. When I was 64 I got a cochlear implant, and continued to work for 4 more years. Technology is great, and the American's with Disabilities Act requires most employers to provide it. BUT, the person who needs it has to know what they need to succeed. Unless you have other disabilities, you may have a difficult time qualifying for disability benefits. You should meet with your area vocational rehabilitation office to be sure.

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Depends on type of hearing loss- I would not be able to teach even with moderate to severe loss – born with mine. And with my back issues- ( won by myself trying for SSI by a witness for the judge stating I could not be a file clerk again – overturned by SS) Never could get SSI. Retired at 62 for SS. Do dog walks which is getting harder due to injuries- still no SSI Might tried again because it’s more than SS

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@julieo4

I'm not sure why you are unable to work. Many of us with hearing loss more severe or profound that yours have held jobs. I was a teacher. I decided to get a master's degree when I was in my mid 50s and worked in a human service agency as a case manager after graduating. My clients did not have hearing loss. I did. I used all the assistive technology available to me on my jobs. When I was 64 I got a cochlear implant, and continued to work for 4 more years. Technology is great, and the American's with Disabilities Act requires most employers to provide it. BUT, the person who needs it has to know what they need to succeed. Unless you have other disabilities, you may have a difficult time qualifying for disability benefits. You should meet with your area vocational rehabilitation office to be sure.

Jump to this post

I agree with Julie – I worked with my hearing loss right up until I retired. I had applied for SS Disability when the last job fired me for multiple reasons. By that time, I was eligible for regular Social Security. Every job I worked for – I was given the minimum accommodations through vocational rehab. It was difficult but I worked as a nurse in the insurance industry. I also helped to advocate, educate and provide information during those years as the technology slowly improved for myself as well as for others. This is the time to continue to do that since you all have much more than Julie or I had 10, 20 years ago. I wish I had what I have now when I was working then – it would have made things so much easier then and my brain wouldn't have been so over worked as it was then… You have many tools available now, a voice that can speak up, and many Hearing Loss organizations advocating for you. Join them and be a part of this exciting journey because this is real and it's including you and me right now.

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golden418, I have to agree with julie04. Hearing loss alone will not qualify you for disability benefits. At least that's the way it is in Michigan. FDA approval was granted for Cochlear Implants for single sided deafness. I'm not certain if all of the CI manufacturers have such a product.
Tony in Michigan

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