Can hearing loss lead to a disability?

by Aug 2, 2016

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Individuals in Tennessee every other state of the nation are bombarded by loud noises every day. For example, some people listen to their music as loud as they can with headphones on. Or, sometimes, loud noises are due to one’s occupation, such as the noise of a jackhammer on a construction site. Another source of a loud noise is the sound of a weapon firing during a service member’s military service. If a person is exposed to such loud noises for an extended period of time, it could affect their hearing, even permanently.

However, some data shows that something as ordinary as constant cell phone use could lead to hearing loss. This is because these and other electronic devices are often set at the highest volume. For example, although an ordinary conversation between two individuals measures at about 60 decibels, the highest volume for a cell phone is more than 85 decibels, which could cause long-term hearing damage, if used on a constant basis.


Although, hearing loss does not affect some people for years or even decades, there is a growing number of young adults in the United States who are suffering from tinnitus — hearing the constant sound of ringing or buzzing, a condition which will sometimes to be permanent. Moreover, another study reported that 28 percent of middle and high schoolers had constant tinnitus.


As the average lifespan increases, hearing damage in today’s youths could, in the future, lead to a serious public health crisis. Many individuals may need to use instruments to help them hear, such as a hearing aid or a cochlear implant. In addition, some data shows that if an individual suffers from serious hearing loss, the progression of certain mental diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, can become worse, leading to depression and isolating oneself from society.


As this shows, hearing loss can affect just about anyone, and could become so severe as to constitute a disability, per the Social Security Administration. If an individual has severe hearing loss that is long-lasting, rendering him or her unable to work, he or she may want to investigate whether he or she could apply for Social Security Disability benefits.

Source:, “Noise exposure can lead to hearing loss years later,” accessed on Aug. 1, 2016