Is hard of hearing a disability?

Hearing Impairment

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (“Amendments Act” or “ADAAA”), is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities are those who have impairments that substantially limit a major life activity, have a record of a substantially limiting impairment, or are regarded as having a disability.[1] As a result of the changes made by the ADAAA, the ADAAA was enacted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

As a result of the changes introduced by the ADAAA, it can be readily established that individuals who are deaf have a disability within the meaning of the first part of the ADA’s definition of disability because they have substantially limiting life activity of hearing.[15] Individuals with a hearing impairment other than deafness will match the first part of the ADA’s definition of disability if they can demonstrate that they have substantially limited hearing or another major life activity (e.g, 16] The disability determination should ignore the positive effects of any mitigating measures used. For example, a mitigating measure may include the use of a hearing aid or a cochlear implant.[17] A mitigating measure may include the use of a hearing aid or a cochlear implant.[17

Hearing Impairment pdf

The otolaryngologist can perform tests to determine our level of hearing loss if we begin to notice hearing loss: depending on the diagnosis, we can request the evaluation of the degree of disability in one ear.

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Hearing impairment is a type of disability which does not present a visible physical impairment, but which limits autonomy and the performance of certain activities where hearing is of special importance.

In order to establish the percentage of disability due to hearing loss, binaural hearing loss (of both ears) is also taken into account. In other words, if there is a total loss in one ear but the other ear has normal hearing, the degree of disability obtained by the hearing-impaired person will be lower.

For a degree of disability to be granted, it is necessary to calculate the percentage of hearing impairment. It must range at least between 33% and 64%, with more than 75% being the value assigned to total deafness. In the event that the binaural loss reaches 96.2%, the patient is recognized as having a disability of 40%, the maximum granted for deafness.

Types of hearing impairment

Hearing impairment is understood as the loss or abnormality of an anatomical and/or physiological function of the auditory system, and has its immediate consequence in a hearing impairment, which implies a deficit in access to spoken language.1

Cognitive impairment in the elderly is assumed to be caused by an age-related deficit in mental faculties. However, research has shown that these effects can also be produced by untreated hearing impairment.  Deafness also has psychological repercussions as communication is a very important aspect of our lives and the loss of the ability to communicate with our environment can have serious consequences. All this leads to social distancing, decreased self-esteem, emotional instability, anxiety and even depression.3

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The use of hearing aids can prevent many of the effects described above, and can restore psychological well-being to these patients. In addition, older deaf people who wear hearing aids maintain greater auditory stimulation, as hearing aids help slow cognitive decline.

Causes of hearing impairment

The three concepts are interrelated, one depends on the other, establishing a causal relationship. The factors contributing to hearing impairment are: the age of the individual, the age of onset of the hearing impairment, the nature and extent of the hearing impairment, the effect the hearing impairment has had on the individual’s communication skills, the individual’s communication needs and the nature of his or her communication environment, the treatment and/or rehabilitation received, the individual’s feelings about his or her hearing difficulties, the reaction of the surrounding environment and the patient’s history of exposure to noise.

It is necessary not to confuse hearing impairment with the rate of impairment or disability resulting from the loss. Hearing impairment or hearing defect is a general term for the complete or partial loss of the ability to hear in one or both ears, leading to greater or lesser difficulty in communication and in the development of daily, professional or social skills.

Is hard of hearing a disability?
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