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Discussion:
Is Tinnitus a disability?
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I know the military considers tinnitus to be a 10% disability for veterans but what about the rest of us? Is tinnitus considered a disability? Do we have any protections or rights? What if we need a masker or are using a Neuromonics system at work and our employer wont allow it?

I'm going to a disability conference next week and I hope there is someone there that might have answers.
Posted on 10/06/10, 11:34 pm
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Reply #1 - 10/06/10  11:40pm
" I'v been asking myself that same thing the last couple of months, can't find anything on the net about it. Let us know what you find out. "
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Reply #2 - 10/06/10  11:52pm
" I really want to know. I don't know about the rest of you but my work productivity goes in the toilet on a bad day. Sometimes I just need a noise break or some headphones or sometimes I need some drugs which make me drowsy. I need to be a critical thinker in my job and since T I haven't been able to do a good job. "
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Reply #3 - 10/07/10  1:08am
" I certainly feel like my productivity and quality of work has dropped, but I don't know if it's considered a disability. I have an office job and I need to focus and concentrate. It can be really hard to sit in a fairly quite office, and even worse to be in meeting rooms.

Luckily for me, I can sometimes work from home. At home I can have music on louder etc. which helps.

My doctor did talk about possible doing a medical leave for up to 12 weeks (I think it was). I don't remember the details on how that works. "
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Reply #4 - 10/07/10  4:52am
" I've heard of people in companies that got early retirement due to tinnitus. As for social security disability it is a long uphill battle. The word isn't even in their manual as a disorder. From what I have read you will have to have at least a long established psychiatric record of distress, depression and anxiety that is exacerbated by tinnitus to prove your claim. More than likely it will be denied and you will have to go through the appeals process, but that depends on the examiner and your medical records. I have heard of at least one person who did win their case.

For the first few years I thought I would not work again. Now that I am back in the workplace I realize that I can still be productive with this condition, thankfully. Distraction and being productive is the key. Sitting idle at home is not for me. "
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Reply #5 - 10/07/10  7:39am
" I think it can be depending more on the personality type than the severity of the tinnitus but fighting the gov for disability for tinnitus would likely be worse than tinnitus itself. I adapted with time as others mentioned above. I'd keep working, keep busy, keep moving forward and forget disability; just my two cents. "
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Reply #6 - 10/07/10  12:20pm
" I was a rural mail carrier for the Postal Service and in late 2005 filed the paperwork for disability retirement. I needed a statement from my doctor and postmaster. The paperwork part was not that bad. I got a letter on Feb 6th of 2006 saying my request was approved. So I have been on disability retirement since Feb 6th. "
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Reply #7 - 10/07/10  12:24pm
" I was able to get a workers comp. award for noise related hearing loss. Tinnitus is related to this condition and is therefore covered under the award. I was able to get reimbursed for Neuromonics. "
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Reply #8 - 10/07/10  12:26pm
" Bob if you have the type of instruments I wear - I don't know if you have any hearing impairment - you will be able to work just fine with white noise being piped into your ears and no one else will know - and it will not interfere with the telephone or your work and they will not even know if you let your hair grow out to cover them - but they look just like hearing aids - you control volume, etc. and they do not block your ability to hear - now if you have a hearing impairment and you wear the maskers - you will be at a greater disadvantage - you can compensate for that. I outline what I went through in my public journal - I think you have a great chance at responding to Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and work will be more bearable. "
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Reply #9 - 11/02/10  12:46pm
" This was written 14 years ago in an article posted on the American Tinnitus Association website. 14 years is a long time so it would be interesting to know if there have been any changes.

"The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA is designed to ensure non-discriminatory hiring practices for disabled people, and to protect
and provide for the needs of disabled workers while they are on the job. (The injury need not have occurred in
the workplace.) A person with tinnitus can, for instance, petition his or her employer to accommodate a need for
a quiet work place or a less stressful job if the present work environment contributes to a worsening of the
disability. As of July 1994, employers with 15 or more employees are required to make "reasonable
accommodations" for their disabled workers.
The width and breadth of this five-year-old law are being tested on a case by case (and disability by
disability) basis. According to the Bureau of National Affairs, no case mentioning tinnitus as a primary
complaint has yet gone to court under this law. Although no current precedent under the ADA exists that
recognizes tinnitus as a disability, its omission suggests the possibility that no one has had to pursue a lawsuit
because of an employer’s failure to accommodate for it." "
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Reply #10 - 11/02/10  12:49pm
" This is the important part. Again this is 14 years old.

"no current precedent under the ADA exists that recognizes tinnitus as a disability" "

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