Case Studies » Sickness » 2014/03 - Specified Disability: Bilateral Hearing Loss
Specified Disability: Bilateral Hearing Loss
Background: The appellant is 16 years of age and applied for Disability Allowance in 2014. He had completed a Transition Year programme in the secondary school he was attending and was in fifth year at the time of the oral hearing.
Oral hearing: The appellant was accompanied by his father. The Appeals Officer explained his role, and outlined the oral hearing procedure and the question at issue. He asked the appellant if he had any difficulty in hearing or understanding him and he replied that he had not.
The Appeals Officer asked the appellant about his current situation. He advised that he had completed the Junior Certificate last year and would sit the Leaving Certificate examination in 2015. He said he would like to pursue third level studies after that. The Appeals Officer asked if he had ever taken a summer job and he replied that he had worked for three days stacking shelves at a local supermarket as part of a work experience placement in Transition Year.
In response to the question as to how his hearing loss was affecting him at school, the appellant advised that he did not always hear what was said but would ask the teacher to repeat it. He said that he felt that his level of hearing was stable at present and that he was managing reasonably well. He stated that his biggest difficulty was being outdoors as he cannot hear what is happening behind him and needs to be careful.
The appellant’s father made a request to speak with the Appeals Officer alone. The Appeals Officer asked the appellant’s consent and he gave it. His father stated that the appellant fantasises and is very childish for his age. He said that he has to be watched constantly and he referred to an occasion when he had taken the family car without permission and had crashed it and broken the windscreen. He stated that the appellant was struggling at school and that he did not socialise much with his peers. He said it was a full-time job watching him when he was not at school and that there was constant friction regarding homework and staying up late at night. He went on to express concern that the appellant could get up at night and go outside to play football if he could not sleep.
Comment/Conclusion: The Appeals Officer took into consideration the available medical evidence and the appellant’s own account of his condition. He was satisfied that his loss of hearing would place certain restrictions on the type of work that he might undertake but he did not consider that it was such as to substantially restrict his progression through education or training and into suitable employment. He indicated that he had also had regard to his father’s concerns, outlined at the oral hearing, although he noted that there was no medical evidence submitted which would indicate that the appellant was experiencing any mental health or behavioural difficulties. Having considered all of the available evidence, the Appeals Officer concluded that it had not been established that the appellant was substantially restricted in undertaking suitable employment.
Decision of the Appeals Officer: The appeal is disallowed. I decide that the appellant is not entitled to payment of Disability Allowance because he is not substantially restricted in undertaking suitable employment.
Decision reason(s): I have taken into consideration the available medical evidence and the appellant’s own account of his condition. I am satisfied that his loss of hearing will place certain restrictions on the type of work that he may undertake, but I do not consider that it is substantially restricting his progression through education/training and into suitable employment.
Having considered all of the available evidence, including the statement of the appellant’s father, I do not consider that it has been established that the appellant is, at present, substantially restricted in undertaking suitable employment. Regrettably, therefore, his appeal is disallowed.