VA Disability For Hearing Loss And Tinnitus In Houston, TX

Hearing impairment from military service is a common complaint. Military vehicles such as tanks, helicopters, and airplanes are much louder than everyday passenger vehicles. Gunfire and artillery are also common causes of hearing issues in veterans. Other situations, such as being on flight lines, training activities, and combat deployments can also take a toll on hearing.

VA Disability For Hearing Loss And Tinnitus In Houston, TX

The VA treats hearing and tinnitus like any other condition, and applying is the same as it is for any other condition. Hearing loss can be either service-related or aggravated by military service and is found under Impairment of Auditory Acuity.

Damage or loss of hearing can have a debilitating and long-term effect on veterans long after they’ve left the service. In order to get VA disability for hearing loss and tinnitus, you will have to apply as you would for any other disability. Unfortunately, since these conditions are difficult to prove, they’re also some of the most difficult to be rated for.

Defining Hearing Loss

The VA considers hearing loss to be the partial or complete inability to hear and discern any type of sound. Hearing loss can be anywhere from slight, where a person has difficulty understanding speech when there is a lot of noise, to the more severe condition of being unable to decipher most sound and noises they are exposed to.

Hearing loss is the reduced ability to hear and understand sounds as others do. However, when a person can’t hear even with assistance such as hearing aids, it’s considered deafness.

The Three Types of Hearing Loss

  1. Conductive Hearing Loss, where vibrations fail to transmit from the outer ear into the inner ear. This common form of hearing loss is the result of ear infections leading to inflammation, a defective eardrum, issues with ossicles, and an accumulation of cerumen (ear wax.)
  2. Sensorineural Hearing Loss is caused by inner ear issues, long-term exposure to intense noises (especially high-frequency noises), or by brain damage. This type tends to worsen as veterans age, and cannot be treated.
  3. Mixed Hearing Loss, when someone has a combination of both types. Surgery may be helpful in correcting the loss at least in part, but there are no guarantees.

To prove your case to the VA and establish a service connection, you will be required to have:

  • A current diagnosis of a hearing condition
  • Evidence of the event that caused your hearing condition (such as a training mission or combat service)
  • A qualified medical opinion that discusses and/or demonstrates the connection between the event and your hearing condition, called a “nexus” or “nexus letter.”

In addition, the VA requires two hearing tests:

  • Pure tone audiometry test, involving listening to tones at various frequencies
  • The Maryland CNC test, a controlled speech discrimination test that tests the ability to understand spoken words.

Both tests are conducted without the use of hearing aids, and both ears should be tested regardless of abilities. The tests are conducted by a state-licensed audiologist. Once these tests are performed, the VA uses its rating system to determine the amount of disability.

Tinnitus

Most people believe that tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a condition by itself. Actually, tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying condition, such as hearing loss related to age. Tinnitus may resolve when treating the accompanying condition.

However, the VA only rates tinnitus at 0% or at 10%, whether there is ringing in one or both ears.

Other conditions, such as inner ear problems that cause dizziness, perforated eardrums, cancer in the ear, and Meniere’s Disease can also be considered for VA disability ratings.

Let Herren Law Help With Your VA Hearing Disability Claim

The VA does award disability benefits for hearing loss, but you have to apply, as you would for any type of disability. We can help make sure that your application is done correctly, and can also help with an appeal if your claim is denied. Don’t give up if you receive a denial letter. Call us, and exercise your right to appeal the decision.

Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges.