Slepian Smith, PLLC

Are you at risk for preventable hearing loss?

Loss of hearing is a common - and troubling - type of disabling condition that drastically affects a person's life. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that "hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the U.S."

Hearing loss can be caused by many factors, including certain illnesses and genetic conditions. However, several factors that can lead to or exacerbate hearing loss are often preventable.

What are the risk factors?

Preventable risk factors for hearing loss include:

  • Working in loud occupations like construction without hearing protection
  • Mowing the lawn or using other landscaping machines without hearing protection
  • Going to loud concerts or clubs
  • Being too close to an explosion, like fireworks or a gunshot
  • Consistently listening to podcasts, music or movies with earphones and having the sound turned up to full volume

Often, being diligent about wearing ear protection in loud spaces can protect hearing. Still, there are factors that contribute to hearing loss that individuals typically cannot control, including environmental noise and age.

Dealing with hearing loss

Unfortunately, no matter the cause, hearing loss is irreparable. And while sophisticated hearing aids and cochlear implants can help a person hear, these are often expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

As such, many people with hearing loss must try to adapt to their surroundings without the ability to hear. Understandably, this is an enormous challenge. They may not be able to understand other people or communicate; they may have issues affecting their balance; they may suffer from depression and loneliness.

Further, hearing loss can make it unsafe or impossible to work, which jeopardizes a person's income and benefits they need to get medical attention. When a person can no longer hear well enough to perform essential job functions, he or she may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

However, applying for these benefits is complicated, and applicants must meet specific eligibility requirements to qualify. Rather than risk making costly missteps trying to navigate the application system alone, people can work with an attorney who understands the process of pursuing disability benefits for hearing loss.

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