If you have served in the military and believe you have a hearing loss as a result of your service, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation. Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help you get a scholarshipVeteraneninvalidität (VA)for hearing loss. Our team of experienced experienced attorneys will review the details of your case, gather evidence to connect your hearing loss to your service, and make arguments on your behalf with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Call our office today for a free consultation:800-544-9144.
Long-term consequences of noise exposure in veterans
Due to the nature of military service, military personnel are often exposed to loud noises such as gunshots, explosions, heavy machinery and more. This frequent exposure to noise can often cause hearing loss and other hearing problems in veterans.
In 2020 was tinnitusmost frequent service-related disability among new compensation recipients. Hearing impairment was the sixth most common.
In addition, tinnitus was the most common work-related disabilityamong all those entitled to compensation. This means that tinnitus is the most common service-related illness among all veterans receiving VA disability benefits. As of 2020, approximately 2.3 million veterans were connected to the service for tinnitus.
In addition, studies have shown that veterans are30 percent more likely than non-veterans to have a severe hearing impairment. Especially veterans who served after September 2001four times more likely.
In September 2010, VA released "The Duty MOS Noise Exposure Listing": a list that can be used by VA-qualified officers to determine whether a veteran's hearing loss, tinnitus, or ear disease can be considered duty-related, even if they themselves have developed over more than a year. after discharge. Essentially, the list goes through all military occupational specialties (MOSs) and ranks them according to how likely that MOS is to be exposed to noise that could lead to long-term hearing impairment. If the rating is medium or high, it is assumed that those responsible for the rating will grant the service connection.
It is important to note that this list was merely a suggestion for rating officials to follow when making decisions and is no longer officially published by VA. However, it remains the standard used by rating officers when deciding hearing loss and hearing impairment claims based on MOS noise exposure.
How to set up a service connection for your hearing loss
To receive VA disability benefits, you must demonstrate to VA that your hearing loss is a result of your service. For a direct service connection, you must provide evidence of the following three items: a recent diagnosis of hearing loss, an on-duty event that may have caused or contributed to your hearing loss, and a medical report clearly linking the on-duty event to your hearing loss. lost.
As mentioned above, the first step in obtaining VA disability for your hearing loss is to demonstrate that you are currently diagnosed with a qualifying condition. VA is extremely strict about the type of diagnosis it accepts when it comes to hearing loss.
In general, hearing loss is diagnosed when certain decibel levels are lost at different listening frequencies. This can be determined in a normal doctor's office. However, for VA purposes, you must have a hearing exam performed by a licensed audiologist. The audiologist must perform two separate tests in order for the VA to accept your current diagnosis of hearing loss:
- Maryland-CNC-Test: This test uses a 50-word test that assesses how well you recognize speech. VA uses the results of this test to determine if your hearing loss qualifies as a disability and, if so, to rate the severity of your condition.
- Audiometric pure tone test: This test determines your overall hearing loss by measuring the faintest sounds you can hear. In other words, you usually wear headphones and raise your hand when you hear a beep.
These specific tests are also required by the VA to make a diagnosis of hearing loss for compensation purposes. You may have received a hearing loss diagnosis from your GP, but this will not count towards your claim. It's important to note that if you wear hearing aids, you should remove them before both tests to ensure the results show your unaided ability.
event on duty
The second part of establishing a direct connection to the Service involves providing evidence of an event on the Service that may have caused or contributed to your hearing loss. Common service events that cause hearing impairment include combat duty, exposure to artillery and small arms fire, and certain military occupational specialties (MOS) involving mechanical work on vehicles, aircraft, etc.
Opinion of the Medical Nexus
Obtaining a Medical Nexus report that links your service event and your current diagnosed condition is critical to establishing a direct connection to the service. In general, a positive Nexus medical report indicates that your hearing loss is "at least as likely as not" because of your length of service.
C&P exams for hearing loss
When you file a claim, the VA will likely schedule an appointment. It's important to be open and honest about how much your hearing loss is affecting you, how long it has been affecting you, and when you first became aware of it. Typically, the VA examiner will review your claims file, perform hearing tests for VA purposes, check a series of boxes that match the description of your condition, and provide an opinion as to whether your service incident is the cause of your condition. your hearing loss.
One thing to keep in mind is that the VA examiner might try to say that if you have hearing impairment, it's been too long since your hearing loss was work-related and that it's probably a natural result Causes such as aging only take place decades after service.
Please note that such trust over time does not eliminate the possibility that your hearing loss is a result of their service. If this is the case and you receive a negative opinion, you have the right to present evidence and arguments that refute the examiner's conclusions. For example, you can provide a lay statement if you are able to describe your own symptoms. Family members can tooPresent lay testimonyDescribe needing to speak loudly, repeating things over and over, or other hearing-related problems you have experienced since the service.
Evidence for claims of hearing loss
Other evidence supporting claims of hearing loss can include anything that shows the condition was chronic. For example, if you have years of treatment notes from physicians who have complaints of hearing loss shortly after duty to the present day, you may consider submitting them to the VA.
In addition, it may be beneficial to provide documentation of any accommodations needed, such as hearing aids or an amplification system for your home phone. VA must consider all of this evidence when assessing your hearing loss claim.
How VA assesses hearing loss
When assigning disability ratings for hearing conditions, VA takes the results of your pure tone threshold test and averages them for each ear. To do this, VA uses a trellis chart with different frequencies and adjusts the thresholds. This tells the VA assessor what the assessment should be based on the level of hearing loss they found you to have. Hearing loss involves a very literal application of the assessment program. Please note that VA evaluates both ears together, which only resultsaRating for listening conditions.
How much money can I get in VA Disability for my hearing problem?
The amount you receive in VA benefits depends on your disability rating. VA assigns this rating based on their opinion of the severity of your condition. The more limited your hearing loss, the higher the disability rating the VA assigns you. The higher your degree of disability, the more monthly benefits you will receive.
Disability Ratings and VA Allowance Levels
Virginiaassess your disabilitybetween 0 and 100 percent in increments of 10. If the score is 0 percent, you will not receive any monthly compensation, but you may be eligible for other VA benefits, such as: B. Healthcare.
As of December 1, 2021, the VA Disability Rate benefit amounts are as follows:
- 0 percent degree of disability:$0.00 per month
- 10 percent degree of disability:$152.64 per month
- 20 percent degree of disability:$301.74 per month
- 30 percent degree of disability:$467.39 per month
- 40 percent degree of disability:$673.28 per month
- 50 percent degree of disability:$958.44 per month
- 60 percent degree of disability:$1,214.03 per month
- 70 percent degree of disability:$1,529.95 per month
- 80 percent degree of disability:$1,778.43 per month
- 90 percent degree of disability:$1,998.52 per month
- 100 percent disability rating:$3,332.06 per month
A score of 30 percent or more qualifies you for additional benefits for eligible dependents.
the state ofringing in earsalmost always results in a 10 percent disability. Similar to hearing loss, this unique 10 percent rating accounts for both ears. However, veterans can receive separate disability ratings for hearing loss and tinnitus.
Morbus Menièreis a disorder of the inner ear that can cause dizziness (ie, dizziness) and hearing loss. In most cases, Meniere's disease affects only one ear. Symptoms of the condition include the following:
- Recurring attacks of vertigo: spinning sensations that come and go spontaneously; Occurs without warning and typically lasts from 20 minutes to several hours
- Hearing loss - can come and go, especially in the beginning
- Tinnitus: Perception of a ringing, buzzing, roaring, hissing, or hissing sound in the ear
- Ear fullness: a feeling of pressure in the affected ear (i.e., fullness)
There is no cure for Meniere's disease, but various treatments can help reduce the severity and frequency of dizzy spells.
Dizziness is a feeling of imbalance. It is often caused by an inner ear problem. For example, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) occurs when small particles of calcium accumulate in the ducts of the inner ear.
A perforated or ruptured eardrum is a hole or tear in the thin tissue that separates the ear canal from the middle ear (ie, the eardrum). A perforated eardrum can cause hearing loss and make your middle ear susceptible to infection. While this problem usually goes away without treatment within a few weeks, it sometimes requires a band-aid or surgical repair to heal. Symptoms can include:
- Earache that can go away quickly
- Mucus-filled, pus-filled, or bloody discharge from the ear
- Nausea or vomiting, which may be caused by dizziness
Perforated eardrums can be caused by middle ear infections, loud noises or explosions (such as acoustic trauma), serious head injuries, and more.
Perilymphatic fistula is a tear or defect between the middle ear and the fluid-filled inner ear that can cause dizziness and hearing loss. People can be born with this condition or it can be caused by barotrauma, head trauma, or heavy lifting.
An acoustic neuroma is a tumor in the inner ear that is benign and slow-growing but can compress the nerves that control hearing and balance. This ear condition can cause hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and dizziness. In some cases, a neuroma can press on the facial nerve, making that side of the face feel numb.
If you have total hearing loss in both ears, you may be eligible for additional compensation beyond the planned 100 percent rating through a called benefitspecial monthly allowance(SMC). The qualifying criteria for the 100 percent planned disability rating instruct the VA to give special consideration to SMC. That is, 38 CFR §3.350 directs the VA to assign SMC(k) based at least on hearing loss. Again, this is only automatically assigned if you already have the scheduled 100 percent hearing loss assessment.
How to get TDIU benefits for hearing loss
If your service-related conditions prevent you from working, you may be entitled toTotal Disability Based on Individual Non-Employment (TDIU). For example, if you require full hearing for your job (e.g. truck driver) and your condition affects your ability to work, you can explain this issue to the VA.
In general, there are two forms of TDIU:hours and overtime.
TDIU programming- Veterans must have a condition with a minimum rating of 60 percent OR two conditions that can be combined to achieve 70 percent, with one condition having a minimum rating of 40 percent.
extra programmed TDIU- Veterans who do not meet the required criteria for scheduled TDIU may be eligibleOvertime TDIU. For this form of TDIU, veterans must demonstrate that their medical condition(s) uniquely impedes their ability to sustain substantial employment.
Each rating given for a hearing loss or related condition can help a veteran meet the necessary criteria for a scheduled TDIU.
In addition, veterans may also have multiple service-related conditions of which hearing impairment is just one, but the impact of hearing loss can be positive evidence for eligibility for TDIU.
How an Accredited Representative Can Help You with VA Hearing Loss Benefits
Have experience,and accredited, Representative can be very useful if you are appealing a decision unfavorable to your state. Accredited representatives can help you gather evidence, develop arguments, and file documents on your behalf.
Chisholm Veterans Advocates Chisholm & Kilpatrick have been helping veterans get the benefits they deserve, be it throughservice connection setup, ensuring ahigher rating,ÖEarn TDIU benefits. If you need an accredited representative for assistance in obtaining VA disability benefits for hearing loss, call our office today.
Hearing loss is actually one of the hardest disabilities to get approved by the VA. Unfair denials are common, and the standards for hearing impairment used by the VA are extremely strict—meaning most vets struggle to get a disability rating for hearing loss above 10% even when their symptoms are fairly severe.How do I prove hearing loss for VA disability? ›
Evidence might include reports of an event in your service that caused or worsened your condition, medical opinions linking your hearing loss to the event, and a current diagnosis of your condition. You'll need to take hearing loss tests by a state-licensed audiologist to prove that your condition is service-connected.What percent of hearing loss qualifies for disability? ›
If you have hearing loss you qualify as disabled if have: An average air conduction hearing threshold of 90 decibels or more in the good ear. An average bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 decibels in the better ear. A word recognition score of 40% or less in the better ear, as determined by standardized tests.What is the average VA payout for hearing loss? ›
Most often, veterans receive a 10 percent rating for hearing loss. Again, disability ratings are based off of specific hearing tests thereby invoking a very literal application of the rating schedule.What are secondary conditions to hearing loss? ›
Depression, anxiety and all sorts of social disorders may be secondary to hearing loss. If you think you have any mental health effects from your hearing loss, you should apply for those as secondary disabling conditions.What is the easiest VA disability to claim? ›
- Mental Health Conditions. Mental health conditions like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and somatic disorder are considered high-value claims. ...
- Scars. ...
- Musculoskeletal Conditions. ...
- Presumptive Disorders. ...
A hearing loss of up to 20 decibels below the hearing threshold is still considered to be normal hearing. More severe hearing loss can be described according to severity, as follows: Mild hearing loss: Hearing loss of 20 to 40 decibels. Moderate hearing loss: Hearing loss of 41 to 60 decibels.Is 50% hearing loss considered deaf? ›
If you are unable to detect sounds quieter than 90dB HL (decibels Hearing Level), it is considered a profound hearing loss for those frequencies. If the average of the frequencies at 500Hz, 1000Hz, and 2000Hz is 90dB or higher, the person is considered deaf.How is the level for hearing loss compensation normally determined? ›
The compensation rate for hearing loss is calculated the same as the compensation rate for TTD and payable for 150 weeks for total hearing loss or a percentage of 150 weeks for partial hearing loss; however, TTD and TPD are not paid for hearing loss.How much is tinnitus worth for VA disability? ›
The standard rating for recurrent tinnitus is 10 percent, and this rating applies whether your condition affects both or just one ear. According to the VA compensation table for December 2021, a 10 percent rating warrants a monthly benefit of $152.64 for tinnitus.
2. The current single 10 percent disability rating assigned for tinnitus is the maximum scheduler rating allowed under the applicable VA rating criteria. 1. The criteria for entitlement to an initial disability rating in excess of 10 percent for bilateral hearing loss have not been met.Is VA disability going up in 2023? ›
2023 VA disability pay rates, which are effective December 1, 2022, have a year over year increase of 8.7% based on the latest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).How can a hearing disability be detected? ›
Behavioral Audiometry Evaluation will test how a person responds to sound overall. Behavioral Audiometry Evaluation tests the function of all parts of the ear. The person being tested must be awake and actively respond to sounds heard during the test.How do you pass an audiogram? ›
- List medications and key medical events. The audiologist will take a medical history before examining your ears or testing your hearing. ...
- Grab a friend. It's important to bring along a family member or friend. ...
- Clean your ears. ...
- Avoid loud noises. ...
- Don't go sick.
§ 4.85 Evaluation of hearing impairment.
(a) An examination for hearing impairment for VA purposes must be conducted by a state-licensed audiologist and must include a controlled speech discrimination test (Maryland CNC) and a puretone audiometry test. Examinations will be conducted without the use of hearing aids.
Common signs include: difficulty hearing other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say, especially in noisy places. asking people to repeat themselves. listening to music or watching TV with the volume higher than other people need.What are 3 clinical manifestations of hearing loss? ›
Muffling of speech and other sounds. Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd. Trouble hearing consonants. Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly.What are the four degrees of hearing loss? ›
Degrees of hearing loss refer to the severity of the loss and are generally described as mild, moderate, severe, or profound.How do I get a higher VA rating for hearing loss? ›
The #1 best way to increase your VA rating for Hearing Loss is to have objective medical evidence (e.g., Audiogram results) to show your symptoms have worsened over time.What can I expect at a VA disability hearing? ›
Find out what to expect at your Board hearing
To start, the Veterans Law Judge will ask you to take an oath that you'll tell the truth during the hearing. You'll then: Tell the judge why you think you qualify for the VA benefits in your claim. Answer any questions the judge may have about your appeal.