Hearing loss is a common lasting effect of active service in the military, as at minimum all active duty personnel must undergo basic training that exposes soldiers, sailors, and airmen to live fire. Veterans who have spent time on active duty may have also endured loud explosions, wounds that affect the ear canals, or trauma resulting from violent blows to the head.
As a result, many veterans now suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus that is traceable to their time on active duty. Fortunately, you can pursue a physical condition claim for veterans’ compensation benefits if you currently have hearing loss or tinnitus because of your service – even if you do not have an official diagnosis. A knowledgeable member of our team could help you pursue your veterans’ hearing loss and tinnitus claim or appeal by explaining the qualifying criteria for the program, helping you file a claim, and pursuing an appeal if you have already received a denial.
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.
Servicemembers pursuing VA benefits based on hearing loss or tinnitus must satisfy two main criteria, the first of which is demonstrating that the incident that caused the hearing loss occurred while on active duty. Second, they must either receive a diagnosis from a doctor that indicates hearing loss or provide lay evidence showing they suffer from tinnitus. This evidence, whether medical or lay, should also document the effect the conditions have on their life.
After a veteran has submitted that information, the VA would assign them a disability rating from zero to 100, which determines the amount of monthly benefits they can receive. If you are suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus and wish to pursue a claim, a VA-accredited lawyer can help you demonstrate that your injury occurred while on active duty, as well as work to gather medical evidence of how this condition affects your day-to-day life and connect your disability to your military service.
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.