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.
Commentary: In  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  UKUT 251 (AAC) which suggested that First-tier Tribunals may come to different conclusions.| Add commentary or suggest an edit.
Need for supervision where a person has to remove their hearing aids or cochlear implants while washing and consequently cannot hear a typical alarm
-  UKUT 252 (AAC)
Secretary of State’s lip reading ‘concession’ is not overly-generous but is in fact the correct legal interpretation
-  UKUT 376 (AAC)
- Assessing risk of harm to a claimant with hearing loss while washing and bathing
-  UKUT 251 (AAC)
Assistance with listening exercises can amount to ‘therapy’ / activity 7 and the Secretary of State’s lip-reading concession
-  UKUT 193 (AAC)
Reading and understanding written information when BSL is the claimant’s primary means of communication
-  UKUT 95 (AAC)
Policy intent to ignore lip reading in PIP activity 7 needs to be publicly acknowledged pending any regulation change
-  UKUT 429 (AAC)
Risk of harm need not be ‘more likely than not’ when assessing safety under regulation 4 and need for supervision
-  UKUT 105 (AAC)
Ability to communicate by text is not relevant to PIP activity 7 / disability should be assessed in the context of normal daily life and not a self-imposed sheltered version
-  UKUT 101 (AAC)
‘Communication support’ in connection with hearing loss can be provided by family and friends and is not limited to help from sign language interpreters
-  UKUT 550 (AAC)
- Overlap between ‘communication support’ (descriptor 7(c)) and ‘social support’ (descriptor 9(c))
-  UKUT 160 (AAC)