What Is The Tower Of Babel Effect
Thats where you say one thing, and the VA understands it to mean something completely different.
This recently happened to a Veteran in his claim for an extra-schedular rating he thought that his VA disability hearing loss payments were not enough.
What I like about this case is that even though its a single judge decision by the Veterans Court it clearly demonstrates that the Court is becoming as frustrated as Veterans.
So, lets jump in Im not going to try not to give you a bunch of legalese.but I have to warn you, this is a complex area of the law. When in doubt get help
Im going to tell you what happened in this case, how it turned out, and most important how you can USE the logic of this Court decision in your own VA Claim.
Hearing Loss Test Requirements
Showing that you are currently diagnosed with a qualifying hearing loss condition is the first step to receiving VA disability benefits. The VA tends to be very strict, requiring veterans to take a hearing exam by a licensed audiologist rather than a regular doctor. The audiologist is required to administer two different hearing loss tests for the VA to accept your veterans disability hearing loss diagnosis:
- The Maryland CNC Test measures military hearing loss in veterans via a 50-word test. This test scores the level at which you recognize speech. The VA then uses the Maryland CNC Test results to determine whether your hearing loss condition qualifies for disability benefits. They also use the test to establish how severe your hearing loss condition is.
- Puretone Audiometric Test. The Puretone Audiometric Test measures the faintest tones and is meant to calculate your general hearing loss level. Typically, youll wear headphones for this test and raise your hand to signal each time you hear a noise.
The VA requires these particular tests to determine your diagnosis and eligibility for VA benefits. If you have a diagnosis from your regular doctor, it wont count towards your veterans hearing loss claims.
How To Get Va Disability Benefits For Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is relatively common among veterans. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs notes that hearing problems are the most common service-connected disabilities in veterans. To the VA, hearing loss is also potentially eligible for disability benefits if it relates to a veterans military service.
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How Va Benefits Can Change The Lives Of Hearing
Many Veterans who are deaf or hard of hearing struggle to find work that is feasible and sustainable. Loss of hearing can dramatically alter the way a person experiences and interacts with the world, and it can make many traditional employment options out of the question. The difficulty that the deaf and hard of hearing often have finding jobs is not always the result of workplace discrimination, but it can be. Whether from being discriminated against because of their disabilities or the lack of work opportunities for the hearing-impaired, many deaf Veterans struggle to find jobs.
In addition, many deaf or hard of hearing Veterans deal with other service-connected disabilities in addition to hearing loss. Many Veterans have lost their hearing due to injuries that had multiple physical and psychological effects. Some deaf Veterans may be dealing with the long-term effects of intense trauma, and others may be physically disabled in addition to being hearing-impaired. The combination of hearing loss with other service-connected disabilities can make it even harder for many Veterans to find work and function well in everyday life.
For many disabled Veterans who are hard of hearing, mental health problems like anxiety and depression can arise. These issues often develop due to the jarring transition from being able to hear into life without hearing. Many deaf Veterans may also feel isolated and cut off from their friends and family due to their hearing loss.
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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How To Get Va Disability For Hearing Loss
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, to speak with a VA claim expert for free.
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.
Hearing Disabilities Linked To Ptsd
The Veteran Affairs Medical Center did a study and found that 34% of the troops they studied that had tinnitus also had PTSD. This 4 year study established a link between the two conditions. If something like that affects a third of veterans with the most common VA disability, you can see why well look into getting you PTSD benefits too.
PTSD can show up with symptoms of many different kinds:
- Physical ear injuries and TBI can also link PTSD to hearing problems
When you call to talk to us about your tinnitus condition, we have a list of questions that well go through so that we dont miss anything in your claim. You should get compensation for every service-connected injury you have, and we wont stop working until we know youve received what you deserve.
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How Va Rates Hearing Loss
When assigning disability ratings for hearing conditions, 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 conditions.
Getting Your Roman Numeral
In order to get your Roman numeral for each ear, youll need to know your scores for each ear on the two hearing tests the VA requires. This is why its so important that you make sure you have both tests performed on both ears. Once you have all four scores, youll take a look at the VAs appropriate rating table.
Roman numerals ratings run from I through XI, with I being least severe and XI being most severe. If your left ear had a speech discrimination rate of 46 percent and you scored a 60 on your Puretone test for that ear, you would receive a Roman numeral of VIII for your left ear. However, if your right ear had a speech discrimination rate of 62 percent and you scored a 60 on your Puretone test in that ear, your right ear would receive a VI rating.
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The National Center For Rehabilitative Auditory Research
In 1997, VA established NCRAR to study hearing problems in Veterans, and to develop effective treatments. Researchers work to alleviate communication, social, and economic problems in Veterans resulting from hearing loss and tinnitus.
Among the topics studied at the center are methods of early detection of hearing loss the effects of certain diseases or conditions, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, on auditory functioning and the impact of auditory problems on speech perception.
NCRAR researchers are also looking for ways to improve speech recognition in noisy areas for people with hearing impairments and are studying the combined effects of aging and noise exposure on hearing.
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.
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Learn More About Your Va Disability Rating For Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a common VA disability claim, but the system used to manage it can be confusing. Understanding your VA disability rating for hearing loss will help you ensure that you get all the compensation youre owed. Remember to have your doctor run both tests on both of your ears so you can accurately calculate your disability rating.
If youd like help submitting a claim or appealing a ruling, get in touch with us at Woods and Woods, The Veterans Firm. We fight for veterans every day, and you dont pay unless we win. Contact us today to get help with your VA disability claim.
The Veterans Court Is Showing Signs Of Mounting Frustration With The Va
The Court is increasingly frustrated with the VA and BVAs improper analyses of these types of claims. In a recent non-precedential decision, a single judge on the Veterans Court had this to say:
But without even a scintilla of a description of the various ratings and how they apply to this particular veteran, who has difficulty understanding conversation and localizing sound, the Courts appellate review. applied the wrong standard for extraschedular consideration the Board was required to explain whether the appellants hearing loss marked interfer with employment, not whether it rendered him unemployable. Short v. McDonald, CAVC Cause No. 13-0623 .
Interestingly, the Court signaled its lack of patience with the VA when it quoted Hayburns Case in its decision this is a case from the US Supreme Court in 1792 which we have talked about several times on this blog. It stands for the idea that expedited relief to Veterans is more than just a cute phrase it should be a reality.
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How The Va Rates These Disabilities
The VA gives ratings that are supposed to line up with how much your way of life is affected by your disability. Having a service-connected disability that doesnt do anything bad for your home or work life will just get a 0% rating. They acknowledge you have it and that its service-connected, but you dont get any money for it.
Anything that does make it hard for you to earn a living or support yourself at home, however, earns. a higher rating. The ratings get higher if they will progress over time or directly affect your job search.
Your hearing loss claim might also increase if it affects both ears, is more severe, or if its part of a group of related disabilities. Working with Woods and Woods, the Veterans Firm, insures that every detail of your physical state is made clear to the VA. We dont let them assume or discount anything if it is related to your time in the service.
Hearing Loss Va Ratings For Disability
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.
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Hearing Loss Va Ratings Schedule For 2020
Hearing loss is a significant problem for veterans of the military.
According to the VA, more than 2.7 million veterans currently receiving disability for hearing loss or tinnitus.
However, most medical experts argue the number is even higher as not every veteran is aware of their hearing problems or have sought compensation for the disability.
Regardless of the specific number of veterans receiving disability benefits for hearing loss, the problem is prevalent in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Additionally, those that served after September 11 are 4x more likely to have hearing loss compared to civilian counterparts.
The bottom line is hearing loss is a bigger dilemma for veterans compared to most individuals that have worked in the civilian world.
Hearing loss can significantly alter your life, negatively impacting your quality of life and daily functioning.
For this reason, the VA currently offers disability benefits to veterans with hearing loss.
The VA rates hearing loss through federal code 38 CFR 4.85 Evaluation of Hearing Impairment.
The VA ratings are designed to examine each patient on a case by case basis for hearing impairment.
A rating is assigned to the patient based on age and the degree of hearing damage.
The higher percentage the patient receives, the higher likelihood of receiving approval for a disability claim and therefore more compensation.
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Va Disability Ratings For Hearing Loss
Once service connection is established, VA will assign a disability rating based on the severity of your hearing loss. Essentially, the more severe your hearing loss, the higher your hearing loss VA rating.
To measure the severity, VA takes the results of a veterans puretone threshold test and averages it for each ear. To do so, VA uses a grid chart with different frequencies and lines up the thresholds, using the Numeric Designation of Hearing Impairment Based on Puretone Threshold Average and Speech Discrimination.
VA uses this chart to determine a Roman numeral designation for hearing impairment based on a combination of the percent of speech discrimination and the puretone threshold average . The Roman numeral is located at the point where the percentage of speech discrimination and puretone threshold average intersect.
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Are Hearing Loss And Tinnitus A Va Disability
Yes, Hearing Loss is the #2 overall VA claim and Tinnitus is #1, and are currently rated separately.
The VA rates Hearing Loss under CFR Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities, DC 6100, Hearing Loss.
VA Ratings for Hearing Loss range from 0 percent to 100 percent, with breaks at 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent, and 90 percent although the average VA rating for Hearing Loss is 10 percent, and many veterans have a 0 percent rating.
The highest scheduler rating for Hearing Loss is 100 percent, which means you have total deafness in both ears.
Tinnitus is also a VA disability and can be rated at 10%.
There is no higher or lower rating as of this writing however, big changes are coming!
How To Establish You Have A Va Hearing Loss Disability Claim
The general definition of what constitutes a disability for service connection purposes appears in 38 U.S.C. §1110 as interpreted by the Federal Circuit in Saunders. That is, if a medical condition or symptoms, regardless of their etiology or diagnostic title, cause a functional loss in earning capacity, it is a disability for VA disability compensation purposes. Hearing loss is unique among VA disabilities because it is one of the few for which the VA provides a specific definition in the Code of Federal Regulations.
38 C.F.R. §3.385 defines the three ways to prove that you have a VA hearing loss disability:
Below we will look at each in turn.
Method #1: Auditory thresholds at 40 decibels or greater.
For impaired hearing will be considered to be a disability by the VA, the auditory threshold in any of the frequencies 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 Hertz must be 40 decibels or greater. The higher numbers are high frequencies and the lower numbers are low frequencies.
Auditory thresholds, in their simplest definition, measure your ability to hear.
Where does the auditory threshold come from?
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