Hearing loss and other inner ear problems are the most common of all veterans’ disability claims. We help with a lot of them every day.
There are a lot of conditions that veterans suffer that fall in the category of hearing loss. Not being able to hear is only the tip of the iceberg. Symptoms like a ringing in your ears (tinnitus) and hyperacusis (everything is too loud!) affect how you hear directly. Conditions like vertigo and dizziness are physical conditions that can also earn you higher VA ratings.
In this Ultimate Guide to Hearing and Inner Ear Veteran’s Disability Ratings, we are going to link to all of our articles about inner ear problems that veterans can experience. If you think you have one or many of these conditions, give us a call to get you the disability compensation you deserve.
What We Cover In This Ultimate Guide to Hearing Loss
Ways to Get VA Disability for Hearing Loss
The VA is going to measure your hearing at every checkup you have, of course. But did you also know they have a number of ways to check exactly what you should be hearing?
In this first article, we talk about conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. That is hearing loss caused by damage to the outer ear or inner ear, respectively. Conductive hearing loss is often treatable with over the counter treatments or some medical intervention. Sensorineural is deeper inside your ear. It affects your actual eardrum and is permanent. You may be able to wear hearing aids or slow the effects of this type of hearing loss, but it’s effects are permanent.
This article also explains the complex process of assigning a roman numeral to your level of hearing loss. You can download the Puretone hearing loss tables here, but this article will help you understand how they work. It isn’t cut and dry when it comes to rating your hearing loss, but we can help you through the process.
Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
You know that a lot of veteran’s suffer from tinnitus when a common search term on the internet is “eeeeeee.” If you feel like you have ringing in one or both of your ears, you probably have tinnitus. While it can be caused by a loud car stereo or from playing the drums, if you believe that you “as likely as not” got it from guns or even a single explosion, you should start your VA disability application.
While a VA rating of 10% for tinnitus doesn’t sound like much, in this article we explain why you should look into getting it if you suspect you qualify. The 10% rating and the establishment of a service connection are a good start to other services you might need later in life.
In this video, one of our clients that was in the Navy didn’t realize the ringing in his ears was a VA disability until long after his service.
The other benefit to calling us about starting your application for Tinnitus benefits is that you’ll be able to talk to our experienced staff about your health. Many veterans call us about one disability and find out they should apply for multiple disabilities. We have experts, doctors, and psychiatrists on staff along with our VA disability attorneys that know what to look for and what to ask when it comes to your conditions.
Hyperacusis is like the evil sister of hearing loss. It is a change in the way a person hears sounds that makes certain pitches or volume levels extra loud.
There isn’t a VA rating for hyperacusis, so you have to look to a similar condition or a side-effect. If it causes you pain to hear cars drive and you can’t leave your house, you may look at PTSD. If you can’t bear ringing phones or the background chatter of an office, you could even be unemployable.
Dizziness, balance problems, or even tinnitus are other conditions that the VA will award disability for that are similar to but not quite the same as hyperacusis. It is rare, so make sure you have a clear diagnosis before you try to apply for benefits for this disability.
Hearing Disabilities Linked to PTSD
The Veteran Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) 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 we’ll look into getting you PTSD benefits too.
PTSD can show up with symptoms of many different kinds:
- OCD can show up with PTSD
- Restless leg syndrome is a sign of PTSD
- PTSD can be linked to alcoholism
- 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 we’ll go through so that we don’t miss anything in your claim. You should get compensation for every service-connected injury you have, and we won’t stop working until we know you’ve received what you deserve.
Malaria Medicine Side Effects Disability
You probably didn’t have time to review side effects and shop around for malaria medicine on the cruise across the Pacific. It turns out that mefloquine can sometimes cause inner ear problems.
Vertigo and tinnitus were found to be side-effects of this malaria medicine. That means in addition to anxiety, depression, and night terrors, (malaria is sounding pretty good right now) you might have physical side effects. They mainly affect your ears, so you might not even notice it in the midst of everything else.
Medical records showing you took this medicine or even proving that you were in a place that required it will help you with your claim.
Vertigo and Dizziness
We’ve mentioned vertigo and dizziness with several other conditions in this article, and it fits. These conditions are rated at 0%, 10%, or 30%, so you won’t get a ton, but they usually get combined with other things. A 30% vertigo and 10% tinnitus rating will earn you $673.28 a month.
Feeling like the world is spinning or bouncing up and down can have a terrible impact on your work and personal life. They can also contribute to a secondary-connection of altered gait or injuries from falls. Be sure to tell the VA all of these details, or work with Woods and Woods to get the full value of your disability claims.
Talk to Us About Your Claim: (866) 232-5777
Meniere’s Disease is a cocktail of several ear-related disabilities all working together. Your actual VA rating for Meniere’s Disease may vary because they are combining the individual intensity of each of the symptoms. One man might have worse vertigo than a woman that has an altered gait, so their combined ratings would be different.
A good doctor will look at your complete medical profile to focus on how your disability affects your whole life, not just your ears. Looking at your step, back strain from adjusting to dizziness, and the mental health impact will give you a better chance at a high VA rating.
You might not have thought that disability with your ears could cause foot, knee, hip, and back problems, but it can. If your inner ear is messed up and disrupts your balance, your walk is going to change. It might not change much, but 10,000 steps a day with an abnormal gait can wreak havoc on your joints after a few years.
Sometimes a limp or even just a shuffle of your feet as you walk can increase the likelihood of joint damage and pain. Arthritis can be aggravated by an abnormal gait, also. Interior damage to the ear is critical to balance and the whole way you carry your body. If you notice one of your shoes wearing down faster than the other, you probably have abnormal gait. You can get a VA rating for that in addition to your inner ear condition.
While the VA doesn’t add up conditions, they do combine them using VA math. Every little bit helps if you are trying to get the best combined VA rating that you deserve. You can see how this combined conditions affect your monthly tax-free check by using our free VA disability calculator.
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 doesn’t do anything bad for your home or work life will just get a 0% rating. They acknowledge you have it and that it’s service-connected, but you don’t 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 (like hearing problems) or directly affect your job search.
Your hearing loss claim might also increase if it affects both ears, is more severe, or if it’s part of a group of related disabilities. Working with Woods and Woods, the Veteran’s Firm, insures that every detail of your physical state is made clear to the VA. We don’t let them assume or discount anything if it is related to your time in the service.
Let’s Get Your Case Done Right
As you can see, there are several ways that the VA can look at your ear disability. Make sure your application has the details you need to link your condition to an event you experienced in the service. Talk to our team and we’ll go over your medical history and all of your documents to make sure we don’t miss a thing. If we don’t win, you don’t pay, so you’ve got nothing to lose.