If you served in the military and suffered hearing loss as a result of your service, you are likely eligible for compensation. An attorney from Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help you obtain a grant of veterans (VA) disability for hearing loss. We can examine the details of your case, gather evidence to connect your hearing loss to your service, and present your case to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Call our office today for a free consultation: 401-331-6300.
How do we establish a service connection for your hearing loss?
You can only receive service-connected disability compensation for hearing loss if we can prove to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that it resulted from your military service. To do so, we must provide evidence of three things: a current diagnosis of your hearing loss, a specific event during your military service that caused or contributed to your hearing loss, and a medical opinion linking the event to your hearing loss.
The first step to getting VA disability for your hearing loss is providing a qualifying medical diagnosis. The VA is extremely strict about the type of diagnosis it will accept. You must undergo a hearing exam by a licensed audiologist. The audiologist must administer two separate tests for the VA to accept your diagnosis:
Maryland CNC Test: This test measures hearing loss in veterans through a 50-word test that scores how well you recognize speech. The VA uses the results of this test to determine if your hearing loss qualifies for disability and, if so, to rate the severity of your condition.
Puretone Audiometric Test: This test determines your level of general hearing loss by measuring the faintest tones you can pick up on.
We need to submit the results of both tests and ensure a licensed audiologist conducted them. Otherwise, the VA will not accept the results. If you wear hearing aids, you will want to remove them before both tests.
Evidence of Event in Service
The second part of proving your case is offering evidence of an event during your service that caused or contributed to your hearing loss. We do this by scouring your records and identifying any times your service might have subjected you to loud noises, including gunshots, explosions, or airplane engines.
If you served in combat, we can use your wartime service as strong evidence of service connection. If you did not serve in combat, we can assess other elements of your time in service that may be related to your hearing loss. We can also conduct interviews with military personnel and medical experts to bolster your case that your military service caused or contributed to your hearing loss.
Linking Medical Opinion
The final step is obtaining a medical opinion that links the in-service event in question and your condition. We work with you to find a medical expert who can draw this connection, and we present the evidence provided by this professional in the most compelling way possible to the VA.
How much money can I receive in VA disability for my hearing loss?
The amount you receive in VA benefits depends on your disability rating. The VA assigns this rating based on its opinion of the severity of your condition. The more your hearing loss limits you, the higher disability rating the VA assigns. The higher your disability rating, the more you receive in monthly benefits.
Disability Ratings and Compensation Levels
The VA rates your disability between 0 and 100 percent in increments of 10. At a rating of 0 percent, you do not receive monthly compensation, but you might be eligible for other benefits from the VA, such as health care. For hearing loss ratings, the monthly compensation levels as of 2017 are as follows:
- 0 percent disability rating: $0 per month
- 10 percent disability rating: $133.57 per month
- 30 percent disability rating: $408.97 per month
- 40 percent disability rating: $589.12 per month
- 50 percent disability rating: $838.64 per month
- 100 percent disability rating: $2,915.55 per month
A rating of 30 percent or higher qualifies you to receive additional benefits for dependent family members who live with you, if applicable.
The condition of tinnitus automatically results in a disability rating of 10 percent, regardless of if the condition affects one or both ears.
The VA will award you a 100 percent rating if your Meniere’s disease is accompanied by attacks of vertigo and cerebellar gait more than once a week. Attacks of vertigo and cerebellar gait one to four times a month will garner a 60 percent rating. The VA will issue a 30 percent rating for attacks that occur less than once a month.
Inner Ear Disorders
Inner ear disorders typically lead to dizziness and sometimes loss of balance. Depending on severity, the VA rates them at either 10 or 30 percent.
Loss of Ears
The loss of one ear results in a disability rating of 30 percent. The loss of both ears results in a rating of 50 percent. These ratings assume you retain some or all of your hearing despite the loss of the auricle (i.e., visible portion of the ear).
The VA always rates a perforated eardrum at 0 percent. However, if you have another condition, such as tinnitus or hearing loss, alongside your perforated eardrum, you can receive a separate, and higher, rating for the other condition.
If you have a total hearing loss in both ears, you are entitled to additional compensation through a benefit called special monthly compensation. We can help you complete the process to receive this benefit.
Do I need a lawyer to apply for VA disability for hearing loss?
A qualified attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence and documentation of the proper diagnosis, establish a service connection, and present the strongest case to the VA, resulting in the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. The attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD focus on recovering disability benefits for our men and women in uniform. Let us put our extensive knowledge and resources to work for you. Call our office today for a free consultation: 401-331-6300.