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.
How The Va Can Help With Free Or Low
by Michelle Crouch, AARP, March 23, 2018| 0
Most of the hearing loss and tinnitus in the military are due to noise exposure often from aircraft, gunfire, heavy equipment and roadside bombs.
The top service-related medical issue for military veterans isnt missing limbs, traumatic brain injury or even post-traumatic stress disorder.
Its a hearing injury.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs , more than 2.7 million veterans currently receive disability benefits for hearing loss or tinnitus, a ringing in the ears.
And the actual number may be even higher. Those are veterans who have been through the process and documented by the VA, says Gabrielle Saunders, associate director of the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, a VA-funded research facility in Portland, Ore. She says that there are probably many other veterans with hearing loss that the VA hasnt been able to document.
Veterans are 30 percent more likely than nonveterans to have severe hearing impairment, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis. Those who served after September 2001 are four times more likely. And their numbers are growing: In fiscal year 2016, 190,000 veterans were diagnosed with service-connected tinnitus, and 103,000 were diagnosed with hearing loss, according to the VA.
The good news is that hearing protection is now standard issue and mandatory for all active-duty service members.
Hearing Loss Testing Requirements
Hearing loss as a result of loud noises that veterans were exposed to during service, such as airplane engines or gunfire, are quite common. To be deemed service-connected, hearing problems must be diagnosed by a licensed audiologist and must include two tests:
- a Maryland CNC test , and
- a puretone audiometric test .
Make sure to tell your audiologist that you must have both tests in order to satisfy the VA’s requirements for service connection. And be sure to remove any hearing aids you may have before being tested.
The VA takes the auditory test results and, using a numerical formula, determines the actual rating to assign. This formula is laid out in Section 4.85 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Typical ratings for hearing loss are 0% or 10%, but severe or profound hearing loss can qualify for a higher rating.
Also Check: How To Say Sorry In Sign Language
Preventing Hearing Loss In Today’s Military
Veterans over 65especially those who spent an extended amount of time deployed in combat zonesare at nearly twice the risk of developing severe hearing loss compared to their peers.;
Current service members can protect themselves against future hearing loss by following these protective measures:
- Minimize exposure to noisy environments: While it may not be possible to choose your;level of exposure to loud sounds, do try to limit loud sound exposure, both at work and off-duty. Members of the military are at high risk of noise-induced hearing loss.;
How To Get Va Disability For Hearing Loss
Many veterans suffer from hearing loss as a direct result of your active duty military service, and you might be wondering how to get VA disability for hearing loss.
Hearing loss and hearing related problems suchas Tinnitus are some of the most common service-related medical issues veteranssuffer from.
According to medical research, veterans aremore likely than non-veterans to suffer severe hearing impairment.
Most of the hearing loss cases in the militarytypically occur as a result of prolonged noise exposure from things such as flightlines, aircraft, bombs, tanks, gunfire, combat deployments, and trainingincidents, among many others.
Unfortunately, hearing loss can have adebilitating long-term effect on veterans that prevents them from leading anormal life.
If you sustained any hearing loss resultingfrom your service in the military, you may be eligible for VA disabilitycompensation, but you must first file a VA disability claim for hearing loss.
While some VA disability claims are clear cut,it is not always easy to prove or to connect them to service incidents, andhearing loss VA claims are difficult to get service connected.
In our experience, hearing loss is one of themost difficult VA disability claims to get service connected.
In fact, VA disability claims for hearing lossare very commonly denied or receive a low VA rating for hearing loss.;
Also Check: How To Say Sorry In Sign Language
How To Establish A Service Connection For Tinnitus
For the VA to approve your tinnitus claim, youll need to establish a service connection to the tinnitus you are experiencing. First, you need to show proof of a current diagnosis for tinnitus and any other hearing problems you may have. This medical proof can be from a military treatment facility or a civilian doctor.
Next, youll submit evidence that your active duty service caused or aggravated your tinnitus. This evidence can be assignment orders, lay statements from buddies or supervisors, and any other service documents that illustrate noise exposure.
Lastly, a medical evaluator will need to connect the noise exposure incurred by your service and the tinnitus you experience today. This document, commonly called a nexus letter, is the key to proving service connection for a disability claim.
Who Va Form 21
VA instructions on this form advise those submitting a claim for increased disability compensation or for those who disagree with an evaluation decided more than one year ago to complete and submit VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits. But not all can use this form.
Those who disagree with a VA evaluation decided within the past year and have new and relevant evidence OR; for those who need to file a supplemental claim, will need to file VA Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim.
Recommended Reading: Signia Telecare Portal
What Is The Maximum Va Rating For Hearing Loss
The maximum VA rating for hearing loss is 100%.
However, most medical conditions listed under hearing impairment do not qualify for full disability coverage.
The one major exception at the moment is Malignant Neoplasm which is a guaranteed 100% for 6 months following the end of treatment.
At that point in time, the 100% rating might change depending on VA review.
Moreover, veterans with Menieres Syndrome are entitled to a VA rating between 30 100%.
Those that have attacks of vertigo and cerebellar gait which occurs more than once per week are entitled to a 100% rating.
There Are 2 Types Of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss affects;about a third;of U.S. citizens between the ages of 65 and 75. About half of adults over 75 have some form of hearing loss. People with hearing loss may notice that speech seems more muffled, they have trouble hearing consonants, they have trouble understanding words, and they have to turn up the volume on the television or radio.;
There are two main types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing loss involves your outer and/or middle ear and may be caused by everything from excessive earwax to abnormal bone growths. Sensorineural hearing loss involves damage to the inner ear, and mixed hearing loss involves a combination of the two.
Read Also: Hot Compress For Earache
Types Of Hearing Tests
There are standardized, measurable tests for hearing loss and you will have to go through at least one of them. They test different levels of hearing impairment so that the VA can rate your ability to hear accurately. You may have the hearing test multiple times, as your family doctor is qualified to test your hearing at one level, but he or she cant give you your rating.
For your VA rating, all of your testing must be done by a state-licensed audiologist and requires the controlled speech discrimination test and a pure-tone audiometry test.
How The Martinak Case Changed Hearing Loss Evaluations
The case was published in 2007 and its a pretty important case. ;So important, in fact, that you cannot get a copy of it on the website of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Im not suggesting ANYTHING improper here in fact, the Court is doing what it is supposed to do complying with what Congress is telling it to do. ;So, to my friends and colleagues at the Court, please do not read this as an attack on or jab at the Court. ;Its not. Its a jab at our colleagues in the Legislative branch. ; Congress doesnt require the Court;to keep copies of case related records for this long. ;This is just another reason that Congress is part of the problem. ;It would take 6.5 minutes to write and pass a law that says that any Court reviewing a Veterans claim under Title 38 must maintain copies of the case files digitally for 50 years. Or 100 years. Digital storage is so cheap that I cant fathom why we wouldnt keep these records forever.
You can get a clean copy by looking up the case in a legal reporting service like Westlaw or Nexis. Heres the citation: , 27 Vet. App. 447 .
The Martinak case considered whether the VA policy of conducting the Puretone Audiometry and Speech Discrimination Tests in a controlled soundproof environment was a valid and appropriate way of testing hearing loss.
What does that mean?
When you get a hearing test at the VA, get a copy of the C&P Exam Report . ;Look at the report, and see if the doctor asked, or considered, the following factors:
Read Also: Compilot Pairing
An Attorney Could Help You Pursue Veterans Hearing Loss And Tinnitus Claims
A condition that leaves you with a reduced ability to hear or a ringing in your ears may be the result of a head injury, a single exposure to loud noise, or persistent exposure to moderate noise. If this exposure occurred while you were on active duty and has a negative effect on your current quality of life, you might qualify for VA disability compensation benefits.
An experienced lawyer could help you gather the necessary evidence to pursue a claim and assist you with filing the case. If you have already filed a claim and received a denial, our team of attorneys could also help you file an appeal based on your hearing loss or tinnitus. Call VetLaw today to learn more about veterans hearing loss and tinnitus claims.
Follow These 6 Steps To Work To Get A Higher Va Disability Rate For Hearing Loss Using The Extra
DRO conferencecopy of your C-filecopy of the Hearing Examiners credentials and reporthow to get a copy of your VA C-File and how to USE it in your VA Claim or AppealC-File is loaded with lay evidence4 Pillars Video Training Course5 Star Evidence Field Manualget to the DRO Conferenceextra-schedular rating under 38 CFR 3.321appeal this denial to the Board of Veterans Appeals BVA judgeDoucettecontacting an attorney that has experience with appeals to the Veterans Court
Also Check: Are There Different Languages In Sign Language
Get A Current Diagnosis
If you dont have a current diagnosis, GET YOUR BUTT TO THE DOCTOR! The VA is very strict about the type of diagnosis it accepts when considering hearing loss for disability compensation. They require that you undergo a hearing exam administered by a licensed audiologist. The exam is to include two tests for the VA to accept the diagnosis.;
The first test is the Maryland CNC Test. This measures hearing loss by using a 50-word test scoring how well you recognize speech.;
The second test is the Puretone Audiometric Test. This test measures the faintest tones you can pick up through listening. Most people will recognize it as the test where you wear headphones and raise your hand when you hear beeps.;
Remember, a diagnosis from your primary care doctor will not be counted as evidence by the VA.;
Veterans Eligibility For Va Hearing Healthcare
There are some criteria to receive a hearing aids device, at first you must qualify for VA Health Benefits. Get registered for hearing tests and examination, you will get licensed from the audiologist. Once you approved for health care benefits, all veterans shall receive hearing machines.
However, not every veteran is eligible to receive hearing aids. So, lets talk that who are eligible and can get the benefit of it.
Veterans are provided with Medical benefits once they are eligible for it. Eligibility criteria include-
- Former Prisoners of War.
- Veterans;with compensable service-connected disabilities.
- Veterans with hearing loss as a result of any disease or other medical conditions.
- Those who are permanently housebound or in need of regular aid and assistance.
- Veterans receiving benefits under Title 38 United States Code 1151.
- Individuals with a functional or cognitive impairment that affects daily living.
- Veterans with a service-connected hearing disability which contributes to a;decrease in the ability to communicate.
- Veterans with a hearing disability which interferes with their ability to participate in their own medical treatment.
These are the few requirements lists for the Veterans. Where you can take benefits of it andyou can get free of cost hearing health care services like hearing examination or checkup, hearing devices, etc. so, it is very helpful for those veterans.
So these veterans can get their free of cost hearing aids as per eligibility norms.
Don’t Miss: Phonak Compilot Air Ii Pairing To Hearing Aid
Are You Eligible For Hearing Aids From The Va
To receive hearing aids or similar devices , you first must;qualify for VA;health benefits. Once enrolled, veterans can seek out;benefits for hearing tests, examinations and hearing aids. To begin this process, veterans should apply for enrollment online or;by calling 1-877-222-VETS or visiting a local VA healthcare facility or regional office.
Of 10 Most Common Va Disability Claims: Migraines
Based on the latest 2018-2019 VA data, Migraines were the #9 most common VA disability claims for all Veterans, across all demographics.
Migraines are a high-value claim because there is a high likelihood of getting rated at 30 percent or higher.
Migraine headaches and tension headaches are two very different things.
Migraines are a serious neurological condition rated between 0 percent and 50 percent.
|8100 Migraines VA Rating Criteria:||Rating|
Read Also: How To Pair Phonak Compilot With Tv Link
What Is The Difference Between Hearing Loss And Deafness
Hearing loss refers to ones reduced ability tohear and discern sounds and noises in the same manner as other people.
Deafness, on the other hand, takes place whenone cannot understand speech even when the sound is augmented.
There are 3 main types of hearing loss thatconsist of:
1. Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when vibrationsare not transmitted from the outer ear to the inner ear.
Conductive hearing loss is very common, and itoccurs as a result of:
- Ear infections that lead toinflammation
- Problems with the ossicles
- Accumulated ear wax
2. Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused byproblems occurring in the inner ear or as a result of brain damage.;
Sensorineural hearing loss typically occursover time as veterans get older.
Another common cause of Sensorineural hearingloss is exposure to intensive noises, principally the high-frequency ones, overa long period of time.
Once Sensorineural hearing loss occurs, itcannot be repaired.
3. Mixed Hearing Loss
When veterans suffer from mixed hearing loss,it means that they have a combination of Sensorineural hearing loss and Conductivehearing loss.
When one has mixed hearing loss, he or she canundergo surgery to restore normal hearing, although this outcome is not alwaysassured.
The military, in general, is a high noise setting.
But just because you are suffering from hearingloss does not mean that you will receive compensation by VA standards.
Disability Ratings For Hearing Problems
Hearing problems are rated under the VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities in Section 4.87, diagnostic codes 6200 to 6260. Common hearing issues for veterans include hearing loss and tinnitus. Other ear disabilities include:
- cancer, entitled to a 100% rating for six months following termination of cancer treatment
- peripheral vestibular disorders , rated at 10% for occasional dizziness or 30% when you have dizziness and sometimes stagger
- loss of one or both ears , rated at 30% for loss of one ear or 50% for loss of both, and
- perforated eardrum .
Recommended Reading: How To Say Sorry In Sign Language
Here Is A Short List Of Typical Hearing Tests
- Puretone Test Tones at different frequencies and volume intensities.
- SRT Measures how much you can understand the sounds of speech.
- WRT You repeat the words you hear, but they are played at a level according to the Pure Tone Test, so the test administrator knows they are able to be heard.
- OAE Testing Tests the sounds that bounce off of your hearing organs.
- ART Works like a reflex when they hit your knee, except its done in your ear. You cant fake this one.
- Auditory Brain Stem Response Actually scans your brainwaves to see if you are responding to sounds or not.
All of these tests follow a specific order depending on your specific needs. If you miss more than 3 words in the WRT, for instance, youll probably see a professional audiologist to examine the inside of your ears. At that point, you may even have procedures to clean out any excess wax, skin, or other diseases of your ears
Here is a video about how to fake a hearing test: #SpoilerAlert You cant.