Author Topic: Hearing can't change in decades?  (Read 395 times)

Sunny Clouds

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Hearing can't change in decades?
« on: January 26, 2018, 11:54:59 AM »
I'm trying to draft my PIP appeal and it's totally surreal.

I say I  need aids to hear, the DWP says I don't.

I sent:-

An NHS hearing aid issue book.
A letter showing a fairly recent HA adjustment appointment.
A picture of my hearing aids (i.e. that what I actually have matched what the NHS says they've issued).
An audiogram.

The DWP says I don't need hearing aids because there's mention in my GP medical history printout of mild deafness in [date during childhood] but that I joined the army so I must have had good hearing.

Um, can anyone tell me the logic in saying that I had good hearing just after I left school as a reason why I don't need hearing aids now?

I'm totally nonplussed at what to say.  It just seems so utterly barmy that I almost feel inclined to put in an appeal that just says "You what???!"   I daresay I shall think of something more cogent and measured but right now I am oscillating so sharply between a sense of the absurd and a sense of betrayal that I'm struggling.  I feel I want to turn up at the tribunal and say "I don't care about whether I get PIP, whether you say I get no other points at all, but for the sake of all the many, many thousands of veterans of my age and older, to whom nobody could be bothered to issue ear defenders, at least issue a judgement saying that having reasonably good hearing when you start your military career isn't evidence you still have hearing that good when you finish it."

I've an appointment in a few days with a local charity who, hopefully, can take a red pen to whatever I draft.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 12:14:59 PM by Sunny Clouds »
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: It couldn't have got worse...
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2018, 12:14:43 PM »
I'm unable to offer any guidance or advice on your dilemma Sunny purely due to ignorance in its literal meaning.

But I may well be wrong, and probably am, but I'd believed what the DWP need to know is what you can do with aids, rather than whether someone needs to use aids in life or not. For example a person whose eyesight is extremely poor naturally, can when wearing glasses see enough to be safe to travel alone on a journey that is not familiar then the person will be noted by the assessor that the person can make an unfamiliar journey on their own. Albeit needing aids to do so. So I'd assumed they'd be looking at what you can or cannot do while using your hearing aid and that's what you'd be scoring points for, rather than whether or not you use an aid.

But as I say I'm not an expert and my knowledge of PIP is low but I'm just sharing the probably wrong assumptions that I've made.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2018, 12:24:32 PM »
This relates to points you can get simply for needing to use aids to hear.  "b. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to speak or hear.  2 points."

It doesn't say that you have to be able to do anything else as a result of being able to hear, e.g. make sense cognitively of what you hear or act on it.  It's separate from criteria relating to things like mobility.

The only overlap that I can find between this and other criteria is with social engagement, where hearing difficulties coupled with the limitations of hearing aids can mean that hearing impairments can lead to both a need for aids and a need for social support to engage with others, although I've only found one upper tribunal decision confirming that you can get points for both arising out of the same hearing impairment.

It's no criticism of you that you weren't aware of this specific criterion, because if you don't have a significant hearing impairment, it's reasonable to suppose you'd 'scroll on by' that part of the criteria for any benefit.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2018, 01:22:55 PM »
I'm always at a loss as to how to answer questions even if they might apply to me. For instance on my good days I can walk a mile into town albeit wearing two opioid patches and having taken two other different opioids orally 45 minute before such activity and despite that I'm in severe pain and can never carry anything. Those are my rare good days. Mostly I'm indoors in too much pain to walk outside. So when it says "able to walk 50 metres but no more than 200" I don't think I can say I can't because I am able, albeit in excruciating pain. I can't walk as far as 50 metres without severe pain even on my good days. But because the form "is able to" I say I can. I have absolutely no idea how to fill the forms in for my physical needs. It's easier for my mental health because it's clear cut what I can and cannot do.

But yes, on that question you should definitely get those two points. Would that make a difference to the award or are there other parts the assessor has assessed you incorrectly meaning the award is wrong? Apologies if you've said this already. I'm an airhead. I hate PIP

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2018, 01:56:33 PM »
The original decision was 2 points short of an enhanced care award.  However, I've just realised I haven't checked what I actually did get points for on the revised decision, i.e. whether I still got points for all they gave me points for the first time around.  Bums.  More to make sense of.

(General distressed rant follows.)

I can go online and post things, although if Ouchers had seen what I've been posting elsewhere this last couple of days, you'd realise I'm struggling horribly because when I go into general meltdown, I really, really struggle to be brief, whereas a stranger might just think I can think and reason and explain so I'm ok.

However, when I stop distracting myself and try to focus on this, I go into either a zombied state or floods of tears.

The government knows its doing this.  What none of us knows is which politicians try to kid themselves it isn't happening, which knew it would and don't care, which knew it was and maliciously enjoy it, and which didn't think it would happen but are now pretending to themselves it's not happening and it's not their fault or whatever.

I have a sense of abuse and betrayal like I've never had before.  I think it's all just pressing so many buttons.  Which of us here hasn't had bad experiences, abuse by others whether related to our impairments, causing some of our impairments, or unrelated to our impairments?  Which of us here doesn't find that the modern benefits system stirs up lots of feelings that make it harder to deal with impairments not easier?

At least I feel safe to post here about how I feel.  For all I know there may be someone here who'd think "Sixty decibels loss?  I coped just fine at that level with no hearing aids."  But I don't believe that any regular poster here (or probably most of the lurkers) would think that whether they could cope or not was the key factor in whether I can, just that it might give them a handle on what the difficulties are.

My biggest fear, going back to very early years and only a bit eased for a few years as a young adult, is the fear of not being believed.  It is coupled with a parent for whom nothing was ever good enough, a parent who always moved the goalposts, even if it meant being blatantly dishonest in doing so.  I also have a background in  law and accounting and I'm obsessive compulsive (previously diagnosed OCPD).

So if I see a bit of law that says that if I need hearing aids, I get two points, and I show that a qualified NHS audiologist has seen fit to issue me with hearing aids, and I show that I have a level of hearing loss that's greater than everyday speech as opposed to shouting, then it presses so many buttons I just don't know what to do. 

I don't actually want to appeal.  I want to ignore it and pretend it never happened.  But I'll only cope with all this if I fight it because I need to at least be able to hold my  head high and say I stood up alongside my fellow disabled people and said "This is wrong."

When I first got the decision, I felt a sense of betrayal.  I have never felt it so strongly before.  Part of the reason for it is that my current hearing aids have caused me problems with tinnitus and hyperacusis because they're a supposedly clever bit of technology that messes with the pitch of what you hear, which apparently works for some, but my brain can't map the lower pitch sounds it is getting onto the higher pitch ones it is expecting, so with or without the aids, I'm straining so much to hear 's' sounds that all sorts of sounds that wouldn't usually bother me are driving me bonkers.  Well, ok, I was bonkers anyway, so more bonkers.

So my country damaged my hearing before they changed the law so soldiers could sue the MoD.  My country no longer issues me with hearing aids I can use, but on the contrary has issued aids that have given me tinnitus and hyperacusis.  And now my country denies I have a problem anyway.

And you can tell me a million times that MoD =/= NHS =/= DWP but it doesn't compute.  I built my life round a sense of duty and feel disgusted with myself for having trusted anyone.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2018, 05:53:57 PM »
(((Sunny))) I totally get where you're coming from over the injustice of not being awarded points for something so blatantly obvious and true. This is where personally I think the whole assessment is wrong. For me being given points for needing a hearing aid is bizarre instead they should be asking whether you have problems hearing a person talking to you. I have no problems with hearing but my mother used hearing aids so I know for her that if she were with one other person with no background noise her hearing aids enabled to hear the other person fully and be able to respond appropriately but if there was any background noise or other conversations around her, she really struggled to be part of even a one to one conversation, let alone a group conversation. So that's where the points should lie in my opinion. Your ability to hear, understand and communicate.

The only point that I might disagree on Sunny, is you say the government knows it's doing this etc but to an extent I personally feel that due to their very privileged lives they've not experienced adversity or discrimination and most just don't understand it. When I'm unwell I use self harm as a way of releasing anger towards myself, self hatred or maybe distress but when I'm well I wonder why the hell would anyone self harm? If I struggle to understand why someone would do something when it's something I have often done myself when unwell how the heck can a very privileged person who's never experienced disability/adversity/discrimination/hardship have the tiniest clue what it feels like? I think a lot of, but not all, the current government are clueless as to the affects their policies and assessments are having on us.

But I totally understand what this appeal means to you, you understandably want justice. I didn't score as highly on points that I know I should have but the end award was what I felt I fitted so I left it. But my assessor certainly gave me less points than was correct on certain points.

ally

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2018, 09:10:02 PM »
Sunny, hearing aids are of no use to me.  I don't wear any, so, scored nothing for hearing aids.  However,  I did get points for communication.  I don't think wearing hearing aids will automatically score you points.  Fiz is completely right,  You need to tackle the pip Using your hearing issues, and, audiologist chart,  to argue why you struggle to communicate effectively.  Have you explained about your HA giving you the problems you have with them?  Argue why the tinnitus and hyperacusis affects your hearing so much. Use whatever evidence you have to back that up. Give every day examples as to why you struggle with the above

For example, Do you find it difficult to cope with groups of people?   Do you lip read?  If so, you can't be expected to  lip read everyone easily.  Do you need to be in a certain light to lip read.  Night time can render lip reading impossible.   Different mouth patterns etc makes it difficult to lip read.  Again tackle your form using examples of day to day living with your hearing impairment,  and how it effects you.  I didn't score any points on mixing with others despite being profoundly deaf, and needing BSL to communicate.  Therefore, you may struggle there, unless you score on  additional disabilities.  Please don't over focus on hearing aids, try the above approach. Good Luck



Monic1511

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2018, 09:18:50 PM »
Hi Sunny

I'll fess up now, I haven't read every word of the thread (cos I'm a bit wasted today  >headbang<)
If you are drafting an appeal you need to say why you agree with the points awarded already but that you believe they have "failed to consider the severity of your hearing impairment and that without the hearing aids you are deaf, you have been deaf since X or your hearing has deteriorated to the extent that without the aid you cannot communicate in a reliable way."

You know that they can take away points as well as award then which is why I always make sure I have evidence supporting the existing points before proceeding.

 >hugs<
Monic

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2018, 09:43:35 PM »
Ally -  there are, as your answer touches on, points for lots of different aspects of hearing problems.  I do need aids to hear.  If the NHS had been in a position simply to replace my previous ones like-for-like after one stopped working, I'd still be using them.  It's just these particular ones I can't get used to.  I found others on Deaf/deaf forums discussing them.  They're phonak and they're complete rubbish causing harm to people.

I've got all the other points I need.  I just need two more.  They've awarded most of the points on the basis of a stereotypical concept of bipolar disorder, so some rather misses the point, but I don't care about it.  If they want to focus on my needing prompting to cook rather than needing help because my attentional memory (working memory) is appalling, then so be it.

Monic - I'll try and dig out some old audiograms or whatever, or even see if the hospital would confirm in writing when they first issued hearing aids. 

I'm not sure what other evidence to submit on everything else.  I have so far submitted nearly a hundred pages of information and a couple of dozen pages of evidence.  That's just for application and review.

Fiz - I agree with your proposition that the ministers are for the most part too privileged to understand.  However, they have repeatedly been told by the UN what they're doing, so I don't believe any of them don't have at least a fair idea of what's going on by now.  They may not understand the details, and I shouldn't be surprised if most having read any of the UN reports, but they'll have seen the headlines.  They know that benefits are being cut to such an extent that people are suffering and dying.  So if they don't know or don't understand, it's because they choose not to try.  I have no sympathy with that, and that's unusual for me not to give people the benefit of the doubt.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

huhn

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2018, 02:31:14 PM »
hi sunny, it is not about hearing the problem, I have the same with my eyes, it is that when you get independent as a young person and do your way without support they can not understand that you  can have your own life without support, but when your job is gone or you are older,  that you are back in  the system , they can not understand, and even  job discription  changed over the time and jobs that where once  for people who have hearing problems or poor eye sight are now jobs for people who are 100%.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2018, 04:00:54 PM »
Very true, Huhn.

Forgive me thinking slightly at a tangent...

I often think how when people get the impression that somehow there are lots more people claiming to be disabled than used to be, it's because they're people of an age where when they were younger, the disabled people were very often in institutions or died young, whereas now we're out there to be seen.

But even so, our impairments aren't visible.  I come across people saying they don't want to be seen wearing hearing aids and I say "But you're wearing thick, very visible glasses frames.  Why not be out and proud with  hearing aids?  I don't get anyone sneering at me for them."  I've yet to come across anyone who didn't see my point. 

I remember my mother saying one day "In my day, we couldn't afford to be mentally ill."  I was so stunned it was quite some time (years) before I told her what my esprit d'escalier had been.  "Was that why you needed so many thousands of beds in asylums - to care for all the mentally ill people who couldn't afford to  be mentally ill?"  Because of course, she had thought mentally ill people just got on with it, when actually they didn't but were hidden out of sight.  The ridiculous aspect of it is that my maternal grandmother was in and out of asylums for years.  But that was, for my mother, somehow different.  Her mother-in-law fitted into the mental pigeon-hole of 'mad' not 'mentally ill'.  My mother herself later became depressed and was surprised that it had happened to her, but not ashamed.

Meanwhile, with young people, there's often bravado.  People pretending they're not disabled when they are.  There's a lot in the way of disability you can hide or play down.  And why tell your neighbour you're on benefits when you can say you're a student or working from home?  (I often think that this is one of the reasons there are so many false reports of supposed cheating - the lies people tell to cover up their disabilities that people then believe when they find out the person's claiming.)
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Monic1511

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2018, 08:06:33 PM »
Sunny
at this stage you don't need to submit any additional information if you have already had your mandatory reconsideration result and are now completing the SSCS1 form.
You just need to write on the SSCS1 form - I wear hearing aids and yet you have failed to give points for this.  I believe you have not considered the full scope of my hearing impairment.

When you get an appeal date and are going in front of the appeal panel you can dig out old reports but now just send off the SSCS1.
 >hugs<

huhn

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2018, 09:24:38 PM »
sunny not only this, the other thing with my   problems or small  handy cap, I had normal school,  supported technical school and normal study I, got a normal job with good income,  the  same was  with friends, now, we are unemployed or  in  special work places for handy capped and from a good life we went to poor and  out of  society.  and all job opportunities what  we had 30 years ago we have  nothing left. now we have more medical treatment possibilities but  our independent life is gone. and  it looks only  handicapped related jobs are left. as a technical person it is impossible to find  something but  over the time there was  coming up more  handy capped support workers but the in the middle of society life is gone. and  I find in the media only  people  having  jobs in the social  field.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Hearing can't change in decades?
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2018, 10:24:17 PM »
Monic - thanks.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)