Covid-19 long-haulers often have to live with unexpected health conditions. Many Covid survivors deal with brain fog, cardiac issues, lung problems, mental health conditions, and other serious ailments. Now, researchers have identified tinnitus as another potential problem after a Covid-19 infection, and so far, no one knows how long any of these conditions will last or how long people may be unable to work.
What We Know About the Tinnitus – Covid-19 Connection, So Far
It is getting increasingly difficult to remember a pre-Covid world, but Covid is still a new disease, and the long-term effects are still being studied.
Right now, we know that approximately 15% of Covid survivors experience tinnitus. Tinnitus results in sufferers hearing a ringing sound despite the absence of an external ringing noise. Currently, the exact connection between Covid and tinnitus is unknown. However, experts believe that it may be caused by:
- An inflammatory response to the virus
- Stress caused by the virus and illness
- Sleep deprivation caused by the illness
Researchers also found that approximately 7% of Covid survivors suffer hearing loss. Additional studies are ongoing to learn about why some Covid survivors have ongoing hearing issues.
Social Security Disability Eligibility for Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
Tinnitus is a significant medical condition that may impact your ability to work. The constant ringing in your ears may interfere with your hearing, affect your concentration, or keep you from sleeping at night. While the Blue Book Listing of Impairments does not currently include tinnitus as its own listing, it may be relevant to other conditions. Additionally, you may qualify for benefits if you can prove that your tinnitus results in your total disability, is expected to last at least 12 months, and is:
- Equal in severity to a Blue Book listing. If tinnitus has the same effect on your life and ability to work as a condition that is included in the Listing of Impairments, then you should be eligible for disability benefits.
- Keeping you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. Tinnitus, together with all of your other medical conditions, must keep you from working. The Social Security Administration will consider your past work experience and education to determine your residual functional capacity and eligibility for disability benefits.
Hearing loss is treated differently than tinnitus for Social Security disability eligibility purposes. The Blue Book contains two separate listings for people with hearing impairments. You may qualify if you:
- Have hearing loss but don’t have cochlear implants. Your disability eligibility depends on the results of your ear exam, audiometry test, and word recognition test. You will wear any prescribed hearing aids for the tests which qualified medical providers must complete.
- Have hearing loss and have cochlear implants. You may automatically qualify for benefits for one year after surgery. After that, you may continue to qualify for disability benefits if you score 60% or lower on a Hearing in Noise Test (HINT).
When to Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyers
The Social Security Administration may find you eligible for disability benefits based on tinnitus or hearing loss. However, even if you don’t qualify based on your hearing issues, you may still qualify for benefits when all of your Covid-related medical conditions are considered together.
Our experienced Boston-area Social Security disability attorneys can make sure that you submit a complete and convincing Social Security disability application. We represent clients in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. While Social Security is a federal program, we will provide you with the local and individualized attention that you deserve throughout the process.
We want to help you get the benefits that you’ve earned with as little stress and uncertainty as possible. Accordingly, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible for a free initial consultation. To get started, please start a live chat with us, call us, or complete our contact form to have us contact you. We are happy to meet with you over the phone or in our conveniently located Natick office.