Sensorineural deafness, the most common type of hearing loss, occurs either from damage to the inner ear, the auditory nerve that runs from the ear to the brain, or the brain. Leading causes are loud noises, diseases, aging, trauma, and genetics. Symptoms include imbalance, tinnitus, difficulty following conversations and higher pitched sounds.
When the labyrinthine-vestibular impairment causes loss of balance and tinnitus that is accompanied by severe hearing loss, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) deems the condition to be disabling. To meet the applicable listing, caloric or other vestibular testing is needed to show the vestibular labyrinth disturbance, while audiometry is needed to show the hearing loss.
I represent a 50 year old carpenter with Meniere's Disease, who had to stop working because of his balance and hearing loss. He treated at the Veterans Administration (“VA”), which conducted the requisite testing to meet the listing. The VA physician wrote a narrative report explaining why the claimant met the listing, which was the basis for the SSA approval. Notably, there is a directive for the VA to help complete forms to obtain SSD benefits.