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hearing handicap unilateral loss

David Lloyd lloyd_dr at ix.netcom.com
Wed Jan 10 12:04:51 EST 1996

 Dear Mary,

Nice to see someone else has piggybacked on a husband's net-name!

I have a wonderful set of tables for calculating unilateral hearing
loss (each ear), then deriving binaural hearing loss, then whole body
impairment (assuming no other handicapping conditions). The text states
it is adapted from the American Academny of Otolaryngology-Head and
Neck Surgery. If you can't get a copy from a local ENT, try the state
or county risk management folks. Or e-mail me a street address and I'll
make you a copy.

Meanwhile, let's assume your client has 25dB thresholds in his good ear
(that's as low as the tables go), and no response at 110 dB in the
other. Using these charts, his good ear is impaired 0% and the bad one
100%. (They use the total of .5, 1, 2, and 3 kHz. For every dB over 25
dB total, the impairment increases 1.9%).  The formula for binaural
impairment is 5 x % impairment in the better ear plus % impairment in
worse ear, then divide the total by 6. That gives a binaural impairment
of about 16%. (That table says that 16% binaural impairment translates
to 6% whole person impairment, but that's not an impressive number for
your argument.)

Looking at other combinations that produce a 16% impairment, you can
argue that the impact of client's loss would be similar to someone with
a flat 34-40 db loss in both ears. You also have to define that
handicapping condition in terms of that client's employment setting, ie
does he have to localize or is he just doing data entry in a missle
silo in the middle of nowhere. Also what type of assistance is he
asking for: a CROS aid might be appropriate, but does he expect housing
assistance, transportation allowances, etc.

Good luck and let me know if you want a copy. (Maybe someone will
recognize this info and cite the original reference?)

Susan Lloyd

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