It is something that every individual will experience differently, and the level of hearing loss they experience may be unique to them. Regardless of the type of hearing loss a person is experiencing, it can change the way that individual lives their life.

For some, hearing loss can be mild, whereas for others, hearing loss can be labeled more severe and therefore, considered a disability. This level of hearing loss would define a person as legally deaf. Due to hearing loss being so individual, it can be difficult to create one definition for it to be considered a disability. Instead, it depends on a variety of different factors.

If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, it can be helpful to learn more about the standards of hearing loss and what is considered to be a disability or define a person as legally deaf. However, it is not mandatory to find out if you are legally deaf. This is a personal choice, as for some people, it might help them with their needs. Here is some more information that can help.

Type of Hearing Loss

Everyone experiences their own type of hearing loss and will measure it in different ways. For example, some might measure their hearing loss on how high they need to have the television to be able to hear it comfortably. While this can help the individual experiencing hearing loss, it is a very individual way to measure it.

There are medical and legal frameworks that can be used to define a person’s experience with hearing loss and measure it in a standardized way to be able to categorize it accordingly. It is this categorization that would determine whether a person’s experience with hearing loss is considered a disability. The legal and medical frameworks have different ways of categorizing an individual as legally deaf.

Legal Rules on Hearing Loss as a Disability

The legislation provides a threshold for categorizing hearing loss as a disability. This is typically defined at the state level and can vary by state, and even country. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines hearing loss as an impairment if it limits a person’s ability to engage in life events or their professional career. If a person meets this threshold, they may be considered to have a disability and may be entitled to protections and rights under the law.

This threshold is often used when an individual wants to claim in court. If this is the case, there will be a variety of other factors incorporated in making the legal decision. In addition to the impact it has on a person’s life, this may also include whether hearing aids help the condition and whether the hearing loss is a result of an injury.

Medical Rules on Hearing Loss as a Disability

The medical industry uses a more robust framework to define hearing loss as a disability, as it considers the biological function of the ears, as well as its physical capabilities and anything that is hindering a normal level of hearing. This framework is typically used when a person wants an official diagnosis so the appropriate treatment plan can be created.

This framework considers the decibels (dBs) at which a person can hear. Decibels are used to measure sound. The higher the decibel, the louder the noise. This measurement is helpful because if someone is experiencing hearing loss, they may still be able to hear sounds, but not as well as normal.

Hearing loss can be experienced on a scale. Mild hearing loss is considered anything between 20-40dBs, moderate hearing loss between 41-60dBs, severe hearing loss between 61-80dBs and profound hearing loss is anything more than 81dBs.

The experience of hearing loss up to 20dBs is considered normal hearing in the medical industry. However, any hearing loss above 40dBs is observed as a hearing impairment.

Hearing loss is different for everyone. It can be helpful for some people to understand whether hearing loss is considered a disability. Different factors are considered when defining hearing loss to a medical or legal standard. To learn more about hearing loss, contact Pacific Audiology Clinic at 503-719-4208.

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