Do You Have A Case?

A neuroma is a growth or tumor on a nerve cell. An Acoustic Neuroma is a benign tumor found on the vestibular nerve, which connects your inner ear to your brain. Because the vestibular nerve is responsible for both hearing and balance, the tumor can cause a number of complications, which could be debilitating. The growth of the tumor puts pressure on the nerve and the surrounding area, which can cause hearing loss, balance issues, and more. Many who suffer from an acoustic neuroma may find that they are unable to work because of it. An Acoustic Neuroma is also sometimes called a Vestibular Schwannoma, or VS. Below, we will discuss tips for filing for a long-term disability insurance claim for your acoustic neuroma.

Is an Acoustic Neuroma a Disability?

young woman with acoustic neuroma holding ear in painAn acoustic neuroma can cause an assortment of chronic symptoms that can result in you being considered disabled. Overall, the physical and cognitive symptoms of the condition can make it difficult to carry out proficient work. Additionally, this condition can lead to secondary emotional symptoms. All of these symptoms can result in a disability. Generally, the insurance company will require proof of your condition and symptoms in order to consider you for disability benefits.

What are the Disabling Physical Symptoms of Acoustic Neuroma?

The physical symptoms of an acoustic neuroma can vary in severity. They may also fluctuate in frequency. For many people with this condition, symptoms may come and go, with some days or weeks being worse than others. Physical symptoms include:

  • Balance issues
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Hearing loss
  • Facial pain or numbness
  • Facial paralysis
  • Fatigue
  • Pressure in ears
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo

What are the Disabling Cognitive Symptoms of an Acoustic Neuroma?

In addition to your physical symptoms, you may suffer from some cognitive issues. Cognitive symptoms as a result of an Acoustic Neuroma are fairly common. They include:

  • Poor concentration
  • Poor conversation tracking
  • Slow processing time, especially with hearing
  • Poor memory

Disabling Secondary Emotional Symptoms of Vestibular Schwannoma

Alongside your physical and cognitive symptoms may be secondary emotional symptoms. These are mental health and social factors that you may feel as a result of your condition. The distress of your condition can often lead to the development of depression and anxiety, among other mental health issues. Overall, the emotional symptoms you may experience from this condition can vary. However, there are a number of them that are commonly associated with this condition. Below, we will list them.

  • Anxiety
  • Declining mental acuity
  • Depression
  • Lower stress tolerance
  • Panic disorders
  • Social anxiety
  • Social isolation

It is important to document any and all symptoms you experience for your condition. Be sure to mention any physical, cognitive, or emotional symptoms you have with your doctors. This will allow them to record them in their notes. It also allows them to provide a more accurate treatment plan for you.

Proving Your Acoustic Neuroma as a Disability

While your VS may be a disability to you, the insurance company will need some convincing. Your debilitation can be a major hindrance to your life, but you will still need to provide proof of that to the insurance company. They will require evidence of your diagnosis, your symptoms, and how they prevent you from working.

Proof of Diagnosis

Generally, the insurer will require proof of your diagnosis. However, an acoustic neuroma may be difficult to diagnose. In fact, most people with this condition will suffer progressively worsening symptoms before getting a solid diagnosis. Your doctor will generally look for clinical signs (symptoms) of your condition before administering diagnostic testing.

Generally, there is an array of tests to go through before getting a proper diagnosis. Because of this, the insurance company will likely want to see the results of these tests. Diagnostic tests that may be helpful in diagnosing an Acoustic Neuroma include MRIs, hearing tests, and vestibular testing. Without a positive MRI, the insurance company may question your condition.

Appropriate Treatment for your Acoustic Neuroma

Generally, your insurance company will require proof that you are actively seeking treatment for your condition in order to approve your claim. You will need to show a history of treatment for this condition, including doctor’s visits, consultations with specialists, etc. Additionally, you will need to continue your treatment while receiving benefits. Otherwise, your insurance company may terminate your benefits under “non-compliance.”

Appropriate treatment for your acoustic neuroma may vary depending on the size, severity, and growth rate of the tumor. Often, treatment requires the monitoring of the neuroma, along with therapy and radiation. Surgery may also be required. Your doctors can help you get a better idea of what your avenue of treatment should be. Monitoring your neuroma is often done to keep track of the growth rate. It is also important to do this in order to obtain clearance for more invasive treatments, like radiation or surgery.

Treatment therapies help individuals manage symptoms. These treatments may include vestibular therapy to help you adapt to the condition. Devices such as cochlear implants or hearing aids may also be an option. For secondary emotional symptoms, therapy may also help manage symptoms for your mental and emotional health.

Radiation & Surgery

There are several forms of radiation therapies for combatting acoustic neuromas. Generally, these are stereotactic radiosurgery, stereotactic radiotherapy, or proton beam therapy. Your doctor can discuss with you potential risks, and help determine which may be a better option for you and your needs.

In some cases, surgery may be an option. Surgery for an acoustic neuroma usually involves the removal of the tumor. The surgeon will usually have to approach the tumor either through the inner ear or from the skull, depending on the position of the neuroma. However, there can be significant risks to the surgery. Symptoms can worsen if there is nerve damage sustained during the procedure. Your doctor can discuss risk factors and possible complications with you.

Proving Your Inability to Work with an Acoustic Neuroma

While your inability to work because of your condition may be obvious to you, the insurance company will likely need convincing. It is essentially their job to not give you benefits unless you can prove that you cannot work with your condition. In order to boost your chances of approval, you will need to provide information on how your symptoms prevent you from performing your duties. For example, you will need to show how your hearing loss could limit your communication with clients or coworkers. Vestibular damage and balance issues can make it difficult to safely commute to work, or perform physical tasks while working. Even for sedentary jobs, vestibular issues can make simple tasks such as retrieving files or walking to the copy machine dangerous.

Symptoms such as chronic headaches and tinnitus can make it difficult to concentrate on your work. For some living with an acoustic neuroma, keeping your head up at the desk for extended periods of time can exacerbate symptoms. For jobs that require high amounts of communication, your performance can suffer greatly. Because of this, it is vital that your claim shows just how your condition impacts your ability to do your job.

Can an Attorney Help Me Get Long-Term Disability for my Acoustic Neuroma?

If you are looking to file a long-term disability claim for your Acoustic Neuroma, you should seek out an experienced attorney. At D’Agostino & Associates, we help people living with disabling conditions file long-term disability claims. We help you through the process step by step to help you build a strong case. Our law team is here for you.

At D’Agostino & Associates, our team of lawyers can help you sort through all the details, understand what you are entitled to, and fight to get what you deserve. D’Agostino & Associates P.C. has offices in New York and New Jersey. Contact us, or call us at 1-888-245-2924 to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.