Bilateral Hearing Loss VA Disability Claims and Ratings
Alyse Phillips: Welcome to CCK Live Under 5:00. I’m Alyse Phillips and I’m breaking down VA claims and ratings for bilateral hearing loss.
Bilateral hearing loss refers to loss of hearing in both ears. For VA purposes, veterans must undergo a hearing exam by a licensed audiologist in order to be diagnosed with hearing loss through the VA and then subsequently service-connected.
That audiologist is going to administer two separate tests for VA. Then, they are going to also accept your current diagnosis of hearing loss. This is going to be the Maryland CNC Test and the Pure Tone Audiometric test. You might have a diagnosis of hearing loss from your primary care doctor but this does not count as evidence towards your claim, so that’s something that’s important to keep in mind.
Now, the ratings for bilateral hearing loss are a little bit complicated. We are going to go ahead and show you a chart and I am going to explain that while that’s showing.
VA uses a grid chart to determine a Roman numeral designation for hearing impairment based on combination of a percent of speech discrimination and the pure tone threshold average. Veterans should first find the Roman numeral going down the left side of the ear that has the greater auditory function. Next, they should locate the Roman numeral of the ear with the less auditory functioning which can be found across the table. Finally, veterans should look at where the two Roman numerals intersect and that is going to be your rating.
Disability ratings for hearing loss are assigned based on severity of 0 to 100. Most often, veterans receive a 10% rating for hearing loss. Importantly, VA rates both ears together so that means that veterans will only receive one rating for hearing loss. That’s true even if you have bilateral hearing loss.
Since ratings are based on specific hearing tests that invoke a very literal application of the rating schedule, it’s very difficult for veterans to receive a disability rating for hearing loss higher than the one assigned just based on those test results alone. However, veterans can submit additional evidence supporting the fact that their hearing loss warrants a higher disability rating.
If you have total hearing loss in both ears, you might be entitled to compensation through SMC beyond standard VA disability compensation, namely 38 CFR § 3.350, which instructs VA to assign SMC(k) at a minimum-based loss of use of sense of hearing, which is paid in addition to the regular VA disability compensation on your rating.
We do have some more in-depth information on hearing loss, both on our blog and on our YouTube channel, so please feel free to check those out. Thanks for watching. For more information, again, check out our YouTube channel or our website.
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