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What Is The Disability Rating For Hearing Loss

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Hearing Loss Va Ratings For Disability

Maximum VA Rating for Hearing Loss Explained

One of the most common disability claims the VA sees is hearing loss. Working around loud machinery and in combat zones can damage your ears, leaving you unable to distinguish what people are saying or to hear faint noises. In some cases, your service may leave you entirely deaf before the end of your life.

However, while hearing loss is one of the most common disability claims, it is also one of the most complex to understand. Read on to learn more about how to understand your VA disability rating for hearing loss and to find what youre owed.

Exposure To Loud Noise

Noise exposure is a leading cause of hearing loss which also leads to tinnitus. Noise-induced hearing loss is a common complaint from military veterans who spent time in extremely noisy environments. Training on weapons ranges, operating heavy vehicles and machinery, and conducting aircraft operations are everyday situations for those on active duty. Although most service members wear hearing protection, this does not eliminate exposure risks. Many veterans experience some level of hearing loss or tinnitus due to exposure to loud noise.

What Is The Typical Va Compensation For Hearing Loss Or Other Ear Conditions

Tinnitus VA Rating

Tinnitus is either rated at 10 percent ornothing. There is no unilateral or bilateral factor for your Tinnitus VArating.

Menieres Disease VA Rating

Veterans will receive a 100 percent rating ifyour Menieres disease includes vertigo and cerebellar gait more than once aweek.

Veterans will receive a 60 percent rating ifyour Menieres disease includes vertigo and cerebellar gait one to four timesper month and a 30 percent rating for less severe symptoms, which occur lessthan one time per month.

Inner Ear Disorders VA Rating

Inner ear disorders are very common inveterans, and these disorders can lead to nausea, dizziness, balance issues,vertigo, cerebellar gait, and even vomiting in severe cases.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, theVA rates inner ear disorders at either 10 percent or 30 percent.

Loss of Ears VA Rating

Veterans will receive a 30 percent VA ratingfor the loss of one ear.

Veterans will receive a bilateral factor and aVA rating of 50 percent for the loss of both ears.

Eardrum VA Rating

Veterans will receive a 0 percent VA rating forperforated eardrum.

Total Hearing Loss VA Rating

Veterans with total hearing loss in both ears are eligible for Special Monthly Compensation.

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Risk Factors Of Hearing Problems

Aging increases your chances of developing hearing loss, but certain genetic properties may also place you at higher risk for hearing loss even from the time youre born. Certain diseases that produce a high fever can also cause damage to your inner ear, leaving you susceptible to hearing loss. And if medications like Viagra and specific antibiotics can cause damage to your inner ear.

Loud noise exposure can come from either professional or personal noises. It will come as no surprise to you that veterans, who are exposed to everything from gunfire to explosions, often with no hearing protection, are at higher risk of hearing loss. Hobbies like carpentry, motorcycling, snowmobiling, and listening to loud music can also cause damage to your inner ear.

What Is The Va Disability Rating For Hearing Loss

Rapid Disability Rating Scale

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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Basics Of Hearing Loss Ratings

Once youve applied and been approved for VA disability compensation, youll receive your disability rating that will determine how much money youll get every month. Well talk more about these ratings and compensation in a moment. But first, hearing loss ratings have some odd rules that we need to review.

Your hearing loss will be rated as only one disability, even if you have bilateral damage to both ears. The results from both your Maryland CNC and Puretone Audiometric tests will be used to determine a Roman numeral that represents your hearing loss in each ear. These Roman numerals will then be combined to determine your overall disability rating.

Should Veterans Apply For Increased Ratings From The Department Of Veterans Affairs

This is a question best answered on a case-by-case basis. There are no guarantees that the VA will raise your disability rating, and your entire file may be subject to review not just the condition you want to have reviewed.

So the answer is not simple, but there are ways you can get closer to a decision. One of those is to examine the VA Schedule For Rating Disabilities, also known as 38 CFR Book C.

Reviewing this document can go a long way toward helping you understand what the VA is looking for, how the agency rates your specific condition, and what the compensation percentages are.

As mentioned above, the VA is willing to re-examine your medical claim, but if you dont understand how the VA does this, under what conditions additional compensation may be justified, and what the maximum compensation might be for your condition, you take a big risk in getting re-evaluated.

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Hearing Loss As A Va Disability

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs compensates veterans for injuries they receive during military service that become disabilities. One of the most commonly claimed VA-recognized disabilities is hearing loss. As one of the most self-explanatory conditions, hearing loss is disproportionately evident in veterans due to their level of exposure to loud noises and physical forces.

The VA provides varying levels of compensation depending on the severity and symptoms of an individuals hearing loss. However, its worth noting that the VA defines hearing loss by different standards than typical non-military doctors.

If You Don’t Have Hearing Loss Until You Are Older

Unlock the Key to More VA Disability Hearing Loss Compensation…

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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How To File A Va Claim For Hearing Loss

It is vital to do your homework when you start preparing a VA disability claim.

Thankfully, the VA recognizes hearing impairment as a significant issue in the U.S. Armed Forces and usually attempts to work with veterans toward receiving disability benefits.

However, you will still need to follow a complicated process to state your case:

Step 1: Schedule an examination for hearing impairment with a state-licensed audiologist.

Step 2: Make sure that the hearing examination also includes a controlled speech discrimination test and puretone audiometry test. The examinations are conducted without the use of hearing aids.

Step 3: The VA uses Table VI, Numeric Designation of Hearing Impairment Based on Puretone Threshold Average and Speech Discrimination to determine a Roman numeral designation for your level of hearing impairment.

Step 4: The VA determines a percentage evaluation for hearing impairment by combining the Roman numeral designation for each ear based on test results.

Step 5: After hearing loss is determined through the examination, the veteran must link the hearing impairment to a service connection. In certain situations, patients may only be able to prove the hearing impairment is service-connected in only one ear.

Step 6: The VA concludes its medical evaluation and assigns a final VA disability rating. Based on the rating, the veteran may receive special monthly compensation for deafness or another hearing loss disability.

Is There A Cure For Tinnitus

Presently, there is no cure for tinnitus, although researchers with the American Tinnitus Association are diligently working to find one. There are several treatment options available to patients to manage the condition. For some, tinnitus is temporary and goes away over time.

For people with chronic tinnitus, it does not go away. Those with chronic tinnitus rely on a combination of treatment techniques that can ease the severity of symptoms and lead to a more comfortable life.

Although there is no cure, there are ways to manage tinnitus symptoms. Some treatments reduce ringing to manageable levels or alleviate them entirely. Many patients try a combination of treatments to find what works best for them. Some standard treatment techniques include:

  • White noise machines: These devices produce low-level noise that masks the ringing in the ears
  • Hearing aids: Improving levels of hearing can reduce ringing
  • Masking devices: This is a white noise device worn inside the ear like a hearing aid
  • Anti-depressants: Some anti-depressant drugs can help in reducing ringing in the ears
  • Acupuncture: This technique is know to alleviate symptoms through pressure points
  • Dietary changes: Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine while increasing zinc and vitamin B
  • Stress management: Anxiety is a contributor, so stress management techniques can help relieve tinnitus symptoms

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What If My Hearing Loss Claim Is Denied

In some cases, a Veteran who has service-connected hearing loss will find their claim denied. This can happen for a few reasons:

  • The VA often denies a claim if they cannot verify a connection between a Veterans hearing loss and their military service. Without this service connection, the VA cannot approve a claim.
  • A claim can also be denied if the VA determines that a Veterans hearing loss, while service-connected, is not severe enough to justify receiving disability benefits. Some Veterans may find their claims denied because the VA rated their disability status at below ten percent. Since a 10 percent disability rating is the minimum required score to qualify for benefits, a rating that is any lower will not result in monthly payments.
  • Sometimes, the VA will defer a Veterans hearing loss claim, meaning the claim has neither been approved nor denied. If the VA defers your claim, it typically means you have not completed a required step in the claim-filing process.

If your hearing loss claim has been denied, dont give up on fighting to receive disability benefits. However, its best not to fight alone having an attorney on your team when appealing a VA decision can help you get the best possible outcome.

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Hearing Loss Connected To Time In The Military

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Various incidents other than gunfire can cause hearing loss or tinnitus, many of which can occur during active duty or even training. For example, servicemembers who train in artillery or tank units can sustain hearing loss or tinnitus from being near loud noises even if they wear ear protection.

A common hearing condition is known as tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, may not necessarily result from direct trauma to the ear and can be a symptom of head injuries, neck injuries, or muscle spasms in the ear. A claim for entitlement to service connection for hearing loss and tinnitus can provide compensation following any of these events if they are connected to your time on active duty. Many veterans do not notice that they suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus until years after their discharge, and VA will routinely deny claims for these conditions due to the delay in filing for benefits. An appeal is typically needed to win these claims.

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What Can I Do If My Hearing Loss Claim Is Denied

It is not uncommon to receive a denial letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs .

You should not be discouraged as there are other options for pursuing disability benefits.

For starters, veterans have the right to appeal a VA disability denial.

You will need to file a Notice of Disagreement VA Form 21-0958 with the VA.

Some veterans prefer to hire legal representation to help fight the appeal.

You can learn more about the VA disability appeals process by reading the VAs article on it here.

Contact An Attorney About Your Ptsd Claim

If you or a loved one have been denied service connection for PTSD, the VA has assigned you a PTSD rating that you think is too low, or you are interested in filing a new claim for PTSD, please do not hesitate to contact our office via phone or submitting a contact form through this website. The Veterans Law Office is a nationside veterans disability law firm. Our attorneys will provide you with a free evaluation of your claim for veterans disability benefits.

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What Qualifies For A 100 Percent Rating

A 100 percent rating is the highest the VA will award for PTSD or any other condition. In order to qualify for a 100 percent rating, a veteran with PTSD must have total occupational and social impairment. They must be completely unable to hold down a job or maintain normal, healthy relationships.

A veteran with a 100 percent rating will be in constant danger of hurting themselves or others. They will only be able to perform basic daily tasks like bathing on occasion. They may also have severe memory loss, including forgetting close relatives or even their own name.

Disabilityratings For Hearing Impairment


To receive disabilitycompensation for hearing loss, you must first prove that you are eligible for benefits. The VA requires that you:

  • Served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, and
  • Have a disability rating for your service-connected condition

The VA calculates your disability rating, a percentage based on the severity of yourdisability, by looking at your medical history, including any test results ordoctor reports, as well as information from other sources, like federalagencies or a VA claim exam if youve undergone one.

The VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities shows that mild or moderate hearing loss can range from 0% to 10%, while severe hearing loss may range from 30% to 50%.

The rating for tinnitus is 10%, which is assigned regardless of whether it affects one or both ears. However, you can receive individual ratings for hearing loss and tinnitus.

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Basic Eligibility Rules For Veterans Disability Benefits

Everyone who applies for VA disability must meet certain basic requirements to qualify for benefits. This is true regardless of what medical issues youre dealing with, including hearing loss. In order to qualify for VA disability benefits, you must:

  • Receive an honorable discharge for your active duty, active-duty training or inactive-duty training military service, AND
  • Have a service-connected condition with a VA disability rating ranging somewhere between 0% and 100%.
  • Not sure if your hearing loss is service-connected or not? Heres how you can tell:

    • You did not have any hearing issues before joining the military, and yours only started after your service discharge.
    • Your doctor determines that the damage to your hearing comes from an illness or injury during your military service. For example: Long-term exposure to jet propulsion fuel is known to cause auditory processing dysfunction. In addition, blast injuries often damage veterans central auditory systems and make it harder to understand others when they speak.
    • You had hearing issues before joining the military that got measurably worse as a result of your service. Lets say you had 10% hearing loss before joining the Navy, but that increased to 30% after your discharge. Exposure to loud noise is linked to increased hearing impairment in veterans.

    The First Step To Proving A Va Disability For Hearing Loss

    by Chris Attig

    Almost every veteran I know has filed a claim to service connect a VA disability for hearing loss. Im sure that somewhere in some unit in the military, there is no noise. And because there is no noise, the veterans who served in this imaginary unit never experienced hearing loss.

    That is not true for the large majority of veterans each and every one of us was exposed to intolerable levels of noise in service. Military equipment is loud, because the work it does is loud. Each and every one of us who served in the military should probably receive VA disability for hearing loss. Even the Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledges that hearing loss and tinnitusare the most prevalent service-connected disabilities among veterans.

    The health care research side of the VA even observes:

    As of the close of fiscal year 2014, more than 933,000 Veterans were receiving disability compensation for hearing loss, and nearly 1.3 million received compensation for tinnitus. In addition, many Veterans score normally on hearing tests but have difficulty understanding speech. This condition, called auditory processing disorder, is often associated with blast exposure.

    That said, the VA makes it damn near impossible to prove service connection for hearing loss and recover VA disability compensation for that hearing impairment, and to secure a higher rating when your hearing impairment is more profound than what certain tests can measure.

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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.

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