How Does The Va Qualify Eligibility For Hearing Loss
Hearing issues are very common in the United States, especially among older adults.
Tragically, retirees and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces traditionally start dealing with hearing loss at a far younger age compared to civilians.
In fact, the VA recently described hearing problems like tinnitus as the most prevalent service-connected disability among American Veterans.
The goal of any VA disability claim is to link the medical condition with a service connection.
In other words, the patient struggling with hearing loss must prove to the VA that the medical condition started or worsen during their time in service in order to receive disability benefits.
Otherwise, the military is not considered at fault for your injuries and therefore you may not receive any form of VA disability.
While VA rating percentages are subject to change, here are some current examples of how you may qualify for VA disability coverage:
- Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media
- Chronic Otitis Externa
- Peripheral Vestibular Disorders
- Loss of Ear
- Menieres Syndrome
- Malignant Neoplasm
Sadly, the U.S. Armed Forces currently do not currently observe Tympanic Membrane Perforation, or a perforated ear, as a hearing impairment.
As a result, patients receive a 0% rating for this medical condition.
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How To Prepare For Your Appointment
Before you go for your doctors appointment, its a good idea to write down all the symptoms youve been having and how long theyve been going on. In addition to overall hearing loss, you may have experienced a ringing in your ears known as tinnitus or pain in your ears. Even if a symptom seems unrelated to you, jot it down and tell your doctor about it.
You may also want to write down a complete work and medical history to take with you. Be sure to include a list of any supplements, vitamins, or medications youre currently taking, as well as any previous history of illness or injury. Make sure you also tell your doctor about any regular exposure to loud noises youve had, whether that be during your military career or in your personal life.
What About Incorrect Rating Decisions
Often the rating decision is just incorrect. VA fails to grant PTSD cases but it also fails to consider other issues. VA denies a mental health disorder because the veteran filed for one disorder and actually has a different one.
Veterans, unless they have a doctorate in psychology, are not able to officially diagnose their own mental health disorders. Therefore, when a veteran claims PTSD, the VA can deny it. However, the VA must see if he has another condition.
The VA should determine if the veteran has another diagnosis, which it often does not do. Veterans can often avoid this process by filing a claim for a more generic issue such as acquired psychiatric disorder. Another option would to be to file for service-connected mental health disorder. By filing for benefits in this manner, the VA is responsible to diagnose and/or use medical records.]
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How Does The Va Define Hearing Loss
Hearing loss, deafness, or impairment refers tothe complete or partial inability to hear sounds.
Hearing loss may be slight, moderate, severe orprofound.
Someone that is suffering from slight hearingloss may only have issues understanding speech, particularly when there is alot of noise.
If youre suffering from moderate hearing loss,you may need assistance in the form of hearing aids.
However, if your hearing loss is severe orprofound, you may have an extremely difficult time communicating with otherpeople as you may not be able to discern most noises that you are exposed to.
Va Ratings For Hearing Loss Ear Loss And Diseases Of The Ear
What follows are descriptions of ear-related medical conditions, and their VA rating percentages where applicable. These ratings are subject to change depending on legislation, VA policy, presidential directives, or other factors.
Always consult a VA representative about your condition, the amount of compensation, and any special requirements in order to apply for or receive compensation or VA benefits related to these conditions. You may need to be updated on current policy or pending legislation.
Condition: Chronic suppurative otitis media, mastoiditis, or cholesteatoma in any combination
VA Disability Rating: 10%
Condition: Chronic nonsuppurative otitis media with effusion
VA Disability Rating: Dependent on the amount of hearing loss associated with the condition
VA Disability Rating: Dependent on the amount of hearing loss associated with the condition
Condition: Peripheral vestibular disorders
VA Disability Rating: Based on severity. When this condition causes occasional dizziness, 10%. When the condition causes dizziness and staggering, 30%. The Department of Veterans Affairs instructs its health care professionals, Objective findings supporting the diagnosis of vestibular disequilibrium are required, and a VA disability claim for this condition cannot be assigned until that is accomplished. Hearing impairment or suppuration shall be separately rated and combined, according to the VA official site.
Condition: Menieres syndrome
Condition: Loss of auricle
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What Is The Ptsd Rating Scale
PTSD VA claims are rated on a scale from 0 to 100, with breaksat 10 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent, and 70 percent.
Your current PTSD symptoms and your level of occupational andsocial impairment is what determines your final VA rating for PTSD.
Veterans can use the following PTSD rating scale to help in writing your Statement in Support of a Claim for PTSD:
0 percent PTSD rating criteria
A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms arenot severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioningor to require continuous medication.
10 percent PTSD rating symptoms
Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transientsymptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupationaltasks only during periods of significant stress, or symptoms controlled bycontinuous medication.
30 percent PTSD rating symptoms
Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease inwork efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupationaltasks , due to such symptoms as: depressed mood,anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks , chronic sleepimpairment, mild memory loss .
50 percent PTSD rating criteria
70 percent PTSD rating symptoms
100 percent PTSD rating criteria
How do I increase my PTSD rating?
In our experience, many veterans are underrated for PTSD or simply have never filed a VA claim for PTSD.
This means veterans do not have the PTSD VA rating they deserve.
What If I Have More Questions About My Va Claim
I understand you want your VA claim to be done as quickly as possible. But remember the ultimate goal to win your VA disability compensation claim.
You may eventually get there on your own, but it may be after a series of decisions by the Regional Office and Board of Veterans Appeals. Sometimes claims are appealed and remanded several times, which can cause a claim to drag on for years. If you are interested in avoiding unnecessary delay in your claim and want to do everything you can to maximize your chances of success, it is probably a good idea for you to consult with an accredited veterans disability attorney.
We would be happy to talk to you. If you would like a free consultation with our Perkins Studdard veterans disability attorneys just click here or give us a call to begin the process.
Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims. He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.
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Of 10 Common Va Disability Claims: Paralysis Of The Sciatic Nerve
Based on the latest 2018-2019 VA data, Paralysis of the Sciatic Nerve, also known as Sciatica, was the #7 most common VA disability claims for all Veterans, across all demographics.
92.2% of Veterans are rated between 0% and 20%.
Musculoskeletal system conditions include issues with joints and muscles and must involve limitation of range of motion and/or painful motion.
Back injuries and various musculoskeletal injuries, which can lead to Sciatica, or severe radiating pain, are quite common for veterans.
Sciatica is the pain that one experiences when the sciatic nerve is irritated.
Sciatica is not an actual diagnosis of a problem, but rather, an accurate way of describing the location of the pain.
What is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body.
This nerve runs from the lower back through the hips and buttocks all the way down to the leg.
Sciatica is extreme pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
Sciatica develops when the pressure on the spinal nerve causes pain to develop on the lower back, buttocks, and legs.
If You Don’t Have Hearing Loss Until You Are Older
If you don’t suffer hearing loss until many years after leaving the service, don’t assume that you will be denied benefits on the basis that your hearing loss is related to your age. If you can show that you were exposed to loud noise during service, you may still be able to establish service connection for your hearing loss.
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Defective 3m Combat Arms Earplugs
Because hearing loss and tinnitus are such prevalent problems for service members, the military provides standard-issue hearing protection, and earplugs are standard-issue across the services.
3M provided its dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs to several branches of the United States military from 2003 to 2015.
But in 2018, a whistleblower complaint accused 3M of selling defective earplugs to the military and exposing unsuspecting soldiers to hearing damage. According to the complaint, millions of soldiers used the defective earplugs and thousands may have suffered hearing loss and tinnitus as a result.
3M paid $9.1 million to the United States Department of Justice to resolve allegations, though they admitted no wrongdoing. Since then, hundreds of veterans have filed lawsuits against 3M.
How Va Disability Ratings Are Determined
The VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities rates hearing impairments in Section 4.87, using diagnostic codes 6200 to 6260. The VA awards one rating that takes into account both ears. So, even if you have hearing loss in both your left and right ear, you will still only receive a single disability rating for hearing loss.
Your disability rating is calculated by averaging the results of two tests for each ear:
- . This test evaluates how well a Veteran can recognize speech.
- Puretone Audiometric Test. This test measures the faintest tones a Veteran can hear by asking them to wear headphones and raise their hand when they can hear a beeping sound.
Ratings for hearing loss can range from 0% to 100% and are awarded in 10% increments. A 0% rating establishes a service connection but does not qualify for monthly compensation. A 100% rating means that a Veteran is considered totally disabled. The most common rating for hearing loss is 10%.
Since VA disability ratings are assigned using a chart of test result scores, it would appear that there is little room for discretion. However, you may be able to increase your disability rating by submitting lay evidence from family and friends elaborating on the ways your hearing impairment affects your daily life.
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How Va Rates Hearing Loss
When assigning disability ratings for hearing loss, VA takes the results of your pure tone threshold test and averages it for each ear. To do so, VA uses a grid chart with different frequencies and lines up the thresholds. This tells the VA rater what the rating should be based on what level of hearing loss they decided you have. Hearing loss involves a very literal application of the rating schedule. Please note that VA rates both ears together, resulting in only one rating for hearing loss.
What Is The Va Disability Rating For Hearing Loss
Its not uncommon for veterans to suffer hearing loss after active duty service.
Explosions, gunshots, and other loud noises can destroy your ability to hear. Our VA disability attorneys work hard to help you get the compensation you need. If your claim for VA disability has been denied, give us a call.
Our veterans attorneys in Kalamazoo, MI are ready to help you through each step of the VA appeal process.
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About Va Disability Ratings
We assign you a disability rating based on the severity of your service-connected condition. We use your disability rating to determine how much disability compensation youll receive each month, as well as your eligibility for other VA benefits. If you have multiple disability ratings, we use them to calculate your combined VA disability rating. Calculating your combined disability rating involves more than adding up your individual ratings. Thats why your combined rating may be different from the sum of your individual ratings.
Va Disability Ratings For Hearing Loss
If the VA determines your hearing loss is connected to your military service, theyll give you a rating. People with little to no hearing ability are given the highest ratings. Our VA disability lawyers will help you collect the evidence you need to prove your claim. That way, the VA will give you the most appropriate disability rating based on the extent of your hearing loss.
Tinnitus is a separate condition that causes a person to hear things that dont exist. The most common symptom of tinnitus is ringing in the ears. Yet, veterans with tinnitus may also hear whooshing, buzzing, roaring, whistling, or hissing. In extremely rare cases, people with tinnitus have even claimed to hear music. The maximum VA disability rating for tinnitus is 10%.
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Hearing Loss And Veterans
According to VA, more than 2.7 million veterans currently receive disability benefits for hearing loss or tinnitus however, the actual number may be even higher. That is, there may be additional veterans with hearing loss who are not receiving VA disability compensation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that veterans are 30 percent more likely than non-veterans to have severe hearing impairment. Specifically, those who served after 9/11 are four times more likely to have hearing loss as compared to their civilian counterparts. Hearing loss can significantly impact veterans quality of life and daily functioning. It is important for veterans with hearing loss to receive a diagnosis and seek treatment from a health professional.
How Does The Va Rate Hearing Loss
posted on May 11, 2021
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs , more than 2.7 million veterans currently receive disability benefits for hearing loss. Veterans are 30 percent more likely than nonveterans to have severe hearing impairment. Those who served after September 2001 are four times more likely.
Most of the hearing loss in the military is due to noise exposure often from gunfire, aircraft, tanks, heavy equipment, and roadside bombs. Normal age-related hearing loss can make the problem worse.
How to Establish Service Connection for Hearing Loss?
In order to receive VA disability benefits it must been proven to the VA that the hearing loss is the result of time in service. For a direct service connection the following three things must be established:
The first step to getting VA disability for hearing loss is showing that there is a current diagnosis. The VA is strict about the type of diagnosis it will accept when it comes to hearing loss. In general, hearing loss is usually diagnosed when there are certain decibels that are lost at different frequencies of hearing.
For VA purposes, a veteran must undergo a hearing exam by a licensed audiologist. The audiologist must administer two tests in order for the VA to accept a diagnosis of hearing loss:
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Obtaining A Disability Rating
The VA will assign a disability rating based on the severity of hearing loss as measured by the Puretone Audiometric Test and the Maryland CNC Test. There is a table referred to as the Numeric Designation of Hearing Impairment Based on Puretone Threshold Average and Speech Discrimination used to assign a Roman numeral designation based on where the percentage of speech discrimination and Puretone threshold average intersect. Each ear is rated separately, and then the results are combined to obtain a single disability percentage. The table system for rating hearing loss is outlined in 38 CFR § 4.85 – Evaluation of hearing impairment.
Ratings for hearing loss can range from 0% to 100% in 10% increments. A veteran with a 100% rating will be reviewed for entitlement to special monthly compensation. A veteran with a rating of 60% or more for a single disability or a total disability rating of 70% that includes two or more disabilities with one disability rated at 40% or more may be able to receive Total Disability Individual Unemployability benefits.
Get An Official Diagnosis
Your first step to getting the VA disability benefits you deserve will be to get an official diagnosis of hearing loss.
We recommend you schedule an appointment with an audiologist as soon as possible. That way, youll be able to start building your case for service-connected hearing loss.
The audiologist will be able to diagnose and determine the extent of your hearing loss. All of this medical documentation will be beneficial for proving your claim to the VA.
Our VA disability attorneys can also help you schedule an Independent Medical Examination . An IME doctor has no connection to you or the VA, which makes their medical option more valid in the eyes of the VA.
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