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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-12

Disability certificate for individuals with hearing impairment – Time to rethink

Department of Audiology, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Hemanth Narayan Shetty
Department of Audiology, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-7749.199509

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Background: A retrospective research design was used to investigate the effect of degree of hearing loss on speech identification scores (SISs) and aided improvement in individuals with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD). The present criteria (PWD Act, 2001) to issue disability certificate is suitable for individuals with SNHL, as there is a good agreement between their degree of hearing loss and speech understanding. In contrast, individuals with ANSD show severe speech understanding problems irrespective of their degree of hearing loss. Despite their problem, there are denied in giving disability certificate. The study also analyzed number of clients who have received the certificate of hearing disability, in both groups. Subjects and Methods: Clinical records of 165 clients who visited the Department of Audiology, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore, India between October 2011 and October 2013 were reviewed. Results: Revealed that unlike SNHL, those with ANSD had no relation between the degree of hearing loss and SIS. In addition, aided improvement in ANSD was very limited and was not related to degree of hearing loss. All the individuals with SNHL, who had hearing loss above moderately severe degree received disability certificate. However, only 2 of the 36 clients with ANSD received disability certificate, although their hearing thresholds were above moderately severe degree. Conclusion: Pure-tone thresholds are not a deciding factor of speech understanding in ANSD. Thus, issue of disability certificate for ANSD should be based on SIS rather than pure-tone thresholds.

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