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Denise

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #1 

Hello,

I am a new member and have been reading the message board.  My hyperacusis started 10 yrs. ago when I had a craniotomy to remove an acoustic neuroma.  I am also deaf in the left ear and have severe tinnitus and recruitment. I have been tested and this is concluded.  I have been on long term disability from my teaching job for reasons all of you understand. 

I have applied twice and been denied for social security disability because they feel I can do another job in a quiet environment (what's that???)  My LTD states that I have to keep applying for SSD until I have a hearing which is coming up soon.  From my experience, I feel this is just a lost cause as this condition is not understood.  I am having trouble finding a lawyer to represent me at this hearing as Im sure they don't understand H either. 

Does anyone have any experience with an SSD hearing that could offer me any help?  I have a feeling that I will need to go to this hearing alone and the judge will 'laugh' me out of court thanks to this invisible and misunderstood disability.

Thanks, Denise

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Johnloudb

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Posts: 1,951
Reply with quote  #2 

Could you explain your disability more? Do you have hyperacusis in both ears or just recruitment in the left ear?

My psychologist talked me into applying for social security disability and I was denied. I have  hyperacusis, phonophobia, and  global brain sensitivity. I live with my parents and am making slow forward progress.

They usually deny even valid cases the first time. I haven't bothered to try again, and I'm just looking at different possibilities for self employment.

Are you doing anything to treat your hyperacusis? TRT?

Do some quiet sounds bother you, and hurt. If so, you might have better luck describing you condition as both hyperacusis and phonophobia (fear of sounds), which may make your case sound more valid. I've heard of people with phobias getting  disability sometimes.

John

 

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catlady2323

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Posts: 208
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Denise,

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a list of codes they use for those conditions they will recognize as a disability.  Even if you can prove you have hyperacusis,  the SSA may not recognize this as a disability and therefore may not have a code for it. In addition, even if you do have something they have coded as a disability that they recognize, you still have to prove that you cannot do any type of work AT ALL.  Nothing, period.  And that the condition you have will last at least one year, or is permanent.

The majority of people who file for disability have found that they do need a lawyer to represent them.   Fully 2/3 of all claims are automatically denied the first time they are submitted. 

I understand how disabling hyperacusis is, but if you are otherwise in good health, it is nearly impossible to prove you can do nothing in the workplace.

You can't find a lawyer because they know they can't make a strong enough case to win, if all you have is hyperacusis.

If you have been diagnosed with ANYTHING else,  any serious psychiatric conditions (ie. bipolar, or major depression) or any other medical conditions, and can show years worth of medical records unsuccessfully treating it, this might be something a lawyer could work with.

My sympathies for your struggles, hope you can find a way to successfully submit a claim with the SSA.

Sharon





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DrNagler

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Posts: 218
Reply with quote  #4 
Denise, I really think that Sharon's post above is "spot on." It might not have been what you wanted to hear, but it's true nonetheless. One of the tests they have at times applied in cases where a condition is not coded is the "night watchman test." Specifically, if you could theoretically sit in a quiet room at night in front of some monitors and hit a silent alarm button if you saw an intruder, then you would not qualify for disability under SSA standards. That's why Sharon's second-to-last paragraph is so important in your situation.

smn
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Rob

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Posts: 4,049
Reply with quote  #5 

The following is from a study entitled Hearing Loss: determining eligibility for Social Security benefits by Robert A. Dobie and Susan B. Van Hermel (National Academy of Sciences, 2005).  The study was supported by a contract between the National Academy of Sciences and the Social Security Administration.  The findings of the study represented the views of the authors and didn’t necessarily reflect the views of the organizations that provided support for the project.   

 

“… tinnitus and a related symptom, hyperacusis, may be considered by some to be ‘hearing impairments,’ although neither hyperacusis nor tinnitus is mentioned in the current SSA regulations covering hearing impairment. … most people with hyperacusis and tinnitus are not disabled (as that term is defined by SSA) and that the tests audiologists and otolaryngologists use to measure and detect abnormal function of the ear cannot separate people with tinnitus or hyperacusis who are disabled from those who are not disabled.”  

 

*******

 

In a 2008 decision from the SSA, a claimant with hyperacusis (as well as other health problems) was found to be disabled as defined under the Social Security Administration Act. 

 

http://www.iowabar.org/Industrial%20Commissioner.nsf/9a275c73f72409f4862564bb00563305/e2c364eb8df5a6c5862575a80067c3fa!OpenDocument

 

Rob

 

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DrNagler

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Posts: 218
Reply with quote  #6 
Rob wrote [in part]:

Quote:
In a 2008 decision from the SSA, a claimant with hyperacusis (as well as other health problems) was found to be disabled as defined under the Social Security Administration Act.

The "as well as other health problems" part is key here.

smn

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Denise

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #7 
Thank you all for your help regarding SSD.  I really appreciate it!  It does seem like a lost cause at this time. but I will look into the articles that you have suggested.

Thanks again
Denise
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DrNagler

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Posts: 218
Reply with quote  #8 
Denise, since you are already on long term disability from work, I suspect that the benefit you currently receive would be decreased by anything you would qualify for in the way of disability through SSD - so you would net out the same.  (Please check it out to be sure.)  The reason your current carrier wants you to apply for SSD is so your current carrier can save money in the event you qualify for SSD!  The only real advantage to you if you were to qualify under SSD is that you would become eligible for Medicare; your total monthly disability income would be unchanged.  (Again, please double check - but I think that's how it works.)

smn

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Denise

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #9 
DrNagler.........thanks for your message.  I know that the benefit would be the same, however my LTD said that I would not be able to get anymore benefits unless I had a hearing for SSD.  Do you know anything about that??

Thanks, Denise



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DrNagler

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Posts: 218
Reply with quote  #10 
Right, Denise.  Likely the only reason your LTD carrier wants you to have the hearing is that they want you to make all reasonable attempts to qualify for SSD (i.e., on the chance you might qualify and thereby save your LTD carrier some $$).  As long as you do that (go to the hearing and try to qualify), I do not believe that being rejected by SSD should affect your benefits from your LTD carrier.  (But there may remotely be something quirky about your policy in that regard, so it's probably a good idea to run it by an attorney ahead of time.)

smn

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Denise

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #11 
Yes......I guess thats what I'll do but at this point I may not even be able to find an attorney to represent me.  Im intimidated to go alone.  Was wondering if anyone had any ideas on what to expect and how long the hearing would be???  Will other people be in the room at the same time?  Do I need to take all of the dr. reports, prescriptions etc. or should I write a summary of events starting with the beginning of the disability?

Thanks, Denise
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CKTEA

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #12 
Denise,

I just became a member yesterday and was typed in acoustic neuroma and teaching.  I was diagnosed over 4 years ago and had the sterotactic radiation.  I, too, became completely deaf in my right ear.  I am still teaching but have had an impossible time just getting reasonable accommodations from my school District.  It took a year to simply get my principal to alert me to fire drill practices. 

The noise sensitivity issue have become intolerable this year and I regret I may have to find a different kind of job.  I hate this, because I truly do love teaching.  My classroom is fairly manageable (my students are very compassionate about my disability and work hard to use "room voices" during centers.  But the hallways, staff trainings, etc. have become a living nightmare.  How long did you teach before you gave up and went on LTD?

Best of luck to you.  I think our profession is one of the worst in terms of exasperating our condition.     
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DrNagler

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Posts: 218
Reply with quote  #13 
If I understand you correctly, you are totally deaf in one ear and have developed hyperacusis in the other.  What treatment(s) have you tried for your hyperacusis?

smn
http://www.tinn.com

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Denise

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #14 
Hello,

Yes I agree that teaching was exasperating with hyperacusis.  I went back to teach for only 6 weeks after a craniotomy surgery.  It was VERY difficult.  I was bothered by headaches, vertigo, overstimulation from noise and exhaustion.  I would go home everyday and hide in my bedroomfor awhile. I had 2 boys to care for at home and the balance was impossible.  I think some of the problem was that I wasn't fully recovered from the surgery but all in all it was hard.

That was 10 yrs ago and even though the headaches and vertigo had decreased, the hyperacusis has not.  It intensifies when Im around noise as Im sure you totally understand. It is hard not teaching and being out in the working world.  I sure do miss the interaction with the students and teachers.  It IS quite a bit lonelier to not be working however I was not healthy while working and it jeopardized other areas in my life.

Good Luck to you..........and please if I can help in any other way, just let me know.

Denise

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