This case involves a male musician and music teacher who lost his hearing. He presented to the emergency room complaining of dizziness and was sent for an MRI. The results came back normal and the patient was referred to his primary care physician. The primary care physician said there was no cause for concern. The patient continued to complain of dizziness and hearing loss for the next 2 months. He returned to the emergency room and a second MRI was ordered. This MRI revealed an advanced acoustic neuroma. The patient required surgery to remove the neuroma and lost his hearing in that ear and remains legally deaf. A vocational expert was sought to opine on the issues the patient will face for future employment in the music industry.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please briefly describe your vocational rehabilitation experience with patients who have lost hearing in any capacity.
- 2. In your experience, what are some issues patients with this injury face with regards to employment?
Expert Witness Response E-038115
I have worked with many individuals who have been born with limited or no hearing or have hearing loss due to an injury as well as with veterans who have lost some of their hearing in combat. I have reviewed several medical malpractice cases and have worked with many individuals with hearing loss. I have a good understanding of employment challenges related to hearing loss as well as accommodation requirements. In terms of the limitations that individuals with hearing loss face on the job, there can be several barriers to employment. Specifically in this case, not being able to understand the children or hear them the first time could make it difficult for this individual to establish trust. Their hearing loss could cause difficulties performing job tasks as well. There will also be difficulties when being provided instructions or taking information from parents or the patients. The individual may require accommodations such as written instructions or having her clients look directly at her when they are talking and this could be an issue when working with children with disabilities who may be uncomfortable with eye contact. There are additional barriers and accommodation requirements that the individual may face in both this and future work settings.