Is Tinnitus a Disability? Can You Get Long-Term Disability Benefits for It?
Is Tinnitus a disability? Yes. Tinnitus can be a long-term, debilitating condition even with treatment. It may take some effort to get past the barriers some insurance companies place in your path, but an Ocala FL LTD attorney can help you improve your chances of receiving long-term disability benefits for tinnitus. Here's what to know before applying.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition characterized by noises in one or both ears and may be a ringing, buzzing, clicking, or hissing sound. The noise can be low or high pitch and the symptoms can be severe. Inability to concentrate or to follow conversations, poor memory, loss of sleep, extreme fatigue, anxiety, and depression can result from tinnitus. In addition to noise, tinnitus may be accompanied by hearing loss and/or other ear, nose, and throat problems.
What Type of Tinnitus Do I Have?
It's important that you know the difference between the two types of tinnitus as well as be familiar with which type you have.
- If you have objective tinnitus your doctor will be able to hear noise in your ear(s) or will be able to detect a pulsating motion from the surrounding structure of the ear.
- If your doctor is unable to hear any sound, you have subjective tinnitus, which is the most common type.
Your insurance company will want objective proof of your condition, which will be easier for those with objective tinnitus. Unfortunately, subjective tinnitus is more common and yet it is more difficult to prove your diagnosis. Tests which will help you provide proof are hearing and/or audiological testing, sleep studies, cognitive testing, and statements of confirmation from your physician.
If your symptoms are subjective, you should check your insurance policy. It may limit your long-term disability benefits for any condition diagnosed mainly by subjective symptoms.
How Will the Insurance Company Treat My Claim?
It's very likely that your insurance company will be concerned primarily with whether or not you suffer from hearing loss. It's a very common misconception among insurance companies and may also be the reason many people are denied benefits. In fact, the most common causes of disability are due to an inability to concentrate or focus, sleep, or may be caused by depression.
If you're unable to correct your insurance company's perceptions about disabilities caused by tinnitus, consider hiring a long-term disability attorney. They may recommend you undergo additional neuropsychological testing, as well as ask your physician to provide a written narrative about your condition.
How Can I Prove My Condition?
Receive Appropriate Treatment
In addition to the testing listed above, the treatment that you receive will be important when you submit a claim for long-term disability benefits. Many long-term disability policies require proof that you are receiving treatment and that your treatment is appropriate. Because the symptoms of tinnitus vary greatly from person to person, determining what "appropriate" treatment means can be tricky.
The treatment you receive could be to relieve symptoms or it could be to resolve any underlying conditions such as high blood pressures, cardiovascular disease, TMJ, inner ear problems, or even Lyme disease. If the underlying condition cannot be identified, your physician will very likely focus on symptom management.
Some of the symptom management strategies physicians use are cognitive behavior therapy, white noise machine therapy, and neuromonic device therapy. Avoidance of certain food, physical therapy, annual hearing testing, and use of hearing aids are other treatments which may help.
Make Sure You Continue Treatment
No matter what treatment your physician recommends, it's very important that you stay in compliance by continuing treatment. If you fail to follow your physician's treatment plan, the insurance company may consider that as being out of compliance. If you already have benefits, they might be terminated. And if you are in the application process, it may result in denial of your long-term benefits.
The insurance company will want periodic proof of an ongoing disability. It is possible that your tinnitus may improve with treatment. It is also possible that you may adapt to the tinnitus and will be able to function well in time.
Insurance companies are aware that symptoms may improve which is one reason they require periodic updates, typically twice per year, although the frequency of reporting will depend on your individual case. If you fail to submit an update, your long-term disability benefits may subsequently be terminated. The assistance of a long-term disability lawyer may keep you from losing valuable long-term disability benefits.
Is Tinnitus a Disability? We Can Help You Find the Answers
At CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC, our experience and expertise can make an important difference when applying for long-term disability benefits. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.