Hearing impairment

Hearing impairment is the result of sound signals not reaching the brain. There are two main types of hearing loss, depending on where the problem lies: sensorineural hearing loss, caused by damage to the sensitive hair cells inside the inner ear or damage to the auditory nerve; and conductive hearing loss, when sounds are unable to pass from the outer ear to the inner ear.

Note: Although disablement must be caused by a physical or mental health condition, it is the needs and difficulties that result which will determine entitlement rather than the condition itself. As a result, whilst the case law below may be of assistance, it will be important to also look at the case law relating to the activities and issues that affect you too.

Case law

Commentary:​ In [2020] UKUT 252 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal found that, where a person has to remove their hearing aids in order to have a bath or shower and that means they cannot hear or identify a typical alarm, then they should score 2 points under Activity 4 - washing and bathing - either for needing an applicance such as a flashing light in the bathroom, or for supervision so that another person can ensure they are safe. Judge Perez also found that the assessment of risk was not subjective and that First-tier Tribunals should not be able to make different decisions in this respect. These conclusions are binding unlike those made in [2018] UKUT 251 (AAC) which suggested that First-tier Tribunals may come to different conclusions.| Add commentary or suggest an edit.