Determining Eligibility for Social Security Benefits
Robert A. Dobie and Susan B. Van Hemel, Editors
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Contract No. 0600-02-60012 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Social Security Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hearing loss : determining eligibility for Social Security benefits / Committee on Disability Determination for Individuals with Hearing Impairments, Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education ; Robert A. Dobie and Susan Van Hemel, editors.
p. ; cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0-309-09296-5 (pbk.)
1. Deafness—Diagnosis—United States. 2. Disability evaluation—United States. 3. Insurance, Disability—United States. 4. Social security—United States.
[DNLM: 1. Hearing Loss—diagnosis—United States. 2. Disability Evaluation—United States. 3. Eligibility Determination—United States. 4. Hearing Tests—United States. 5. Social Security—United States. WV 270 H4348 2004] I. Dobie, Robert A. II. Van Hemel, Susan B. III. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Disability Determination for Individuals with Hearing Impairments.
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Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2005). Hearing Loss: Determining Eligibility for Social Security Benefits. Committee on Disability Determination for Individuals with Hearing Impairments. Robert A. Dobie and Susan B. Van Hemel, editors. Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
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COMMITTEE ON DISABILITY DETERMINATION FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENTS
ROBERT A. DOBIE (Chair),
Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis
Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Memphis
ROBERT R. DAVILA,
National Technical Institute for the Deaf (retired) and National Council on Disability, Washington, DC
MARILYN E. DEMOREST,
Office of the Provost, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
BRUCE J. GANTZ,
Department of Otolaryngology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park
SUSAN W. JERGER,
School of Human Development and Communication Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas
WILLIAM G. JOHNSON,
School of Health Administration and Policy, Arizona State University
KAREN ILER KIRK,
Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, Indiana University
IRENE W. LEIGH,
Department of Psychology, Gallaudet University
YVONNE S. SININGER,
Division of Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
WILLIAM A. YOST,
Parmly Hearing Institute and the Graduate School, Loyola University of Chicago
SUSAN B. VAN HEMEL, Study Director
JESSICA G. MARTINEZ, Senior Program Assistant
BOARD ON BEHAVIORAL, COGNITIVE, AND SENSORY SCIENCES
ANNE PETERSEN (Chair),
W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, Michigan
STEPHEN J. CECI,
Department of Human Development, Cornell University
EUGENE K. EMORY,
Department of Psychology, Emory University
ANTHONY W. JACKSON,
Asia Society, Los Angeles
ELISSA L. NEWPORT,
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester
MICHAEL L. RUTTER,
Institute of Psychiatry, University of London
JAMES W. STIGLER,
Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
CHRISTINE R. HARTEL, Board Director
This report is the product of over two years’ work by a committee of 12 diverse experts in hearing and other subjects, convened by the National Research Council (NRC) in response to a request from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The committee was tasked to review the tests and criteria used to determine hearing disability for purposes of eligibility for Social Security benefits. The committee evaluated the tests currently used to determine disability for people with hearing loss and examined other possible ways to assess such disability, including new tests of hearing function. Special attention was given to finding ways to improve the reliability and validity of tests of hearing and to reviewing evidence bearing on the ability of such tests to predict job performance capabilities.
On behalf of the committee, I would like to acknowledge the contributions of a number of people who helped us to complete the work reported here. First, we are grateful to Sigfrid Soli and Carren Stika, who prepared reviews and analyses for the committee. We also wish to thank Sandra Salan, the project sponsor at the SSA’s Office of Disability. She and her associate, Michelle Hungerman, provided much useful information on SSA disability programs and procedures. Also at SSA, Susan David and her staff prepared data analyses from SSA statistical files in response to our queries.
In the service and advocacy community, we are grateful to the organizations that nominated speakers and otherwise supported the public forum the committee held on May 7, 2003. We are especially grateful to the forum participants, listed in Appendix C, who gave thoughtful and ex-
pert responses to the difficult questions we posed, providing the committee with valuable insights on the issues that are most important to people with hearing loss.
At the NRC, Susan B. Van Hemel was the study director for this project. Special thanks are due to Christine Hartel, director of the Center for the Study of Behavior and Development, for her guidance and support; to Christine McShane, for editing our manuscript with skill and insight; to Eugenia Grohman of the DBASSE Reports Office, who managed the review process; and to Jessica Gonzalez Martinez, our skilled and dedicated project assistant, whose contributions to this study were invaluable. The excellent interpreters from Sign Language Associates who supported all of our meetings, including the public forum, were vital to the success of this project as well. I would also like to recognize the committee members for their generous contributions of time and expertise and for their professionalism. Although members often had disparate opinions, they invariably expressed and discussed them with respect and grace.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the NRC. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Monroe Berkowitz, Program for Disability Research, Rutgers University; Judy R. Dubno, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina; George Gates, Hearing Research Center, University of Washington; Walt Jesteadt, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE; Gerald Kidd, Programs in Communication Disorders, Boston University; Doris Kistler, Heuser Hearing Institute, Louisville, KY, and Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Louisville; Robert Shannon, Auditory Implants and Perception Research, House Ear Institute, Los Angeles, CA; and Alice Suter, independent consultant, Ashland, OR.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Dennis McFadden of the University of Texas at Austin. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making sure that an independent examination of
this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all reviewers’ comments were considered carefully. Responsibility for the final content of this report, however, rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Robert A. Dobie, Chair
Committee on Disability Determination for Individuals with Hearing Impairments