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.
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- 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)