In a 2014 study of adults aged >18 years, the US Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 19% of 40- to 69-year-olds reported hearing trouble and 43% of 79-year-olds reported the same. Almost 50% of workers in the fields of carpentry, plumbing, and mining have hearing impairment. Hearing impairment rating determination, described in the AMA Guides, Sixth Edition, Section 11.2a, Criteria for Rating Impairment Due to Hearing Loss (6th ed, 247–260), remains quite simple.

A hearing impairment evaluation is derived from a pure-tone audiogram, and it is always based on the functioning of both ears, even though the hearing loss may be present in only 1 ear. This method is used only in adults who have acquired language skills. If the patient uses a hearing aid or other prosthetic devise,...

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