View Full Version : VA C & P claim for Tinnitus
If you have already seen this it is because I posted this in the wrong place yesterday. I haven't caught on to this forum thing yet.
I filed with VA for hearing loss and tinnitus in 2002. Have been denied twice and now the case is going to the VBA. The hearing part has been denied because it isn't bad enough but after reading some of the posts here I think I might have a shot at the Tinnitus. I have a report from VA C and P audiologist that "it is at least as likely as not that the hearing loss was caused by noise exposure while in the service moreover, it is also my opinion that the Etiology of the Tinnitus may stem from the same casual factor."
Since I don't have any proof of hearing impairment while in the service and no problems after the service until 2002 when the tinnitus came on with a vengeance how do I present my case? A civilian ENT gave me a report and statement with the "at least as likely as not" phrase for both the hearing and Tinnitus and that is all I have. I was a crew chief on a HR2S1 with 2 roaring R2800 engines and a screaming main transmission around 1959 to 1962 at MCAF New River NC. The noise was deafening even with head gear. And, of course there was that rifle range thing once a year. No ear protection in those days. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
With your service record showing you worked in and around noise of that nature it is hard to understand why you are being denied. I suggest working with an experienced county veteran's service officer or a DAV service officer. The county one is probably in the phone book. There is usually a DAV service officer at the VA Hospital in your area.
I worked around recip and jet aircraft on the flightline and I was a crew member on refueling aircraft. That and my gradual hearing loss was all in my service records but the only connect I had for the tinnitus was being around the loud engine noise with inadequate hearing protection. I got 10% in about 7 months without an appeal. I also got SC for hearing but not bad enough for compensation. We just lost the bilateral tinnitus issue because the Supreme Court refused to review it. I read in the DAV mag that it may still be possible for congress to legislate that the VA has to give us 10% for each ear if there is tinnitus in both ears but that is down the line.
BTW, I got the SC in 2002 and that was close to 40 years after the injury.
Thanks for the info. In the beginning, I probably didn't make a strong enough case to emphasize the magnitude of the noise I was exposed to. I am now gathering articles and other testimony to support that.
Being a member of the American Legion I figured it would be fair to take up their time with this so I tried to get help from the Legion Service Officer. That was worse than dealing with the VA. Now the SO tells me she can't do anything because the case is in the control of the Appeals Management Center.
My case sounds a lot like yours only my service record does not show any hearing loss.
Something sounds a little fishy. I am also a Legion member, actually a Past Commander and I had them appointed as my Power of Attorney while my claim and appeal of separate ratings for each ear was in progress. That being said, all the help I got was from my county service officer who is a paid employee of the county and part of a state and national network of professional service officers and this is all they do. She had great contacts at the VA regional office and knew how to push all the right buttons. If your service officer is at the post level, I am a little worried. I appreciate the dedication of some of those volunteers but I am not sure they have the horsepower of pros. Also the DAV will help anyone with their claim even if you are not a DAV member yet. They have professional, trained and paid service officers that really know their stuff.
If your case is at the appeal level it can only be appealed based on what has been submitted. You can also request an informal hearing with an officer at the regional office and I believe you can submit additional evidence at that hearing. That officer can overturn the original decision if he thinks it is warranted. I may not know your whole story but I think you need some better SO assistance.
Thanks again Chippysgt,
I have not come across a county Service Officer paid by the county. Maryland might not have this service. I am going to look into it. The American Legion Service Officer I have been talking to is at the Department of Maryland level and works out of the same building as the VA Regional Office. If we don't have a county SO I'll go to the DAV. You are right, though, I do need some better SO assistance.
Hey Bro, I worked for a congressman for 8 years giving advice to veterans and helping them with their claims but I am not a VSO but I did know the best ones to send people to in my area in California. So I still do my best to help my fellow veterans. Take a look at this website and it may tell you where you can get some competent help.
I will check out that web site but I did talk to a DAV/SO this morning. This guy, Flip, really seemed to know his stuff. He told me to request a personal hearing with a member of the BVA in Washington and a DAV rep would be there with me. He also cleared up a few things for me. The BVA had remanded the case to the RO then changed their mind and said the AMC would have control of the case. That is where it got a little foggy to me. Anyway I had 60 days to submit more evidence before the case went back to the BVA (60 days from June 14). Now I have submitted all of the evidence I could get my hands on and mailed that and a letter today requesting the hearing. The DVA/SO is sending me a form to sign giving the DAV power of attorney. I think I am headed in the right direction now. Thanks for the information. KD 1958
Just like the ones that you had to do every year to stay eligible to fly, the VA uses audio head sets with amplified mono sounds...BAD! due to the constant ringing in your ears, and the voice conversations that you can no longer hear with background noise interfering, you need to file for the claim, and go to a non-govt hearing clinic. This used to be and still be a locked on disability...worth from 10% to 20% (two ears). If you are in OK, then you have to expect discouragement, as they don't like to award hearing losses. They sure would like you to come on in and rescue them when their asses are in a heap, but get them back to their job and you are POC.
KD, here is a site for help in locating your county VSO. Good luck. Mine was documented in my records so it was automatic.
It took a while but I got my BVA hearing and came away with 10% for Tinnitus. I presented a folder to the judge with 22 pages of references to articles about noise in the military and the subsequent hearing loss and Tinnitus. I also got SC for hearing loss but 0% at this time. KD
I presented a folder to the judge with 22 pages of references to articles about noise in the military
Did it help or would they have awarded you anyway??
Have filed with OK VA for recognition of my tinitus, but they keep putting me off...showed them the continuous records of my annual physicals and the one where I finally had to get a waiver from Ft Rucker to keep my flying status, with the required consult...they're still putting me off. Have learned two things in the past several years: 1) OK will do nothing they can to get you qualified; 2) If you were field artillery, your approval is almost automatic. go figure!
There is no exam for Tinnitus...when you have a hearing test they will ask you about ringing in the ears but as far as a test there is none....If you have Tinnitus and it is in your service medical records than you can get approved for it. The max is 10% regardless if it is in one ear or both. Below is what Title 38 says about this.
If you'd like to read up more on hearing and tinntis here's the link for Title 38.
6260 Tinnitus, recurrent 10
Note (1): A separate evaluation for tinnitus may be combined with an evaluation under diagnostic codes 6100, 6200, 6204, or other diagnostic code, except when tinnitus supports an evaluation under one of those diagnostic codes.
Note (2): Assign only a single evaluation for recurrent tinnitus, whether the sound is perceived in one ear, both ears, or in the head.
Note (3): Do not evaluate objective tinnitus (in which the sound is audible to other people and has a definable cause that may or may not be pathologic) under this diagnostic code, but evaluate it as part of any underlying condition causing it.
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