How to Use Veteran Compensation for Hearing Loss

10-05-2021

Veterans salute a United States flag while Oliveira Audiology $ Hearing Center explains how veterans can receive hearing treatment through VA services

Military veterans in Laredo, Texas, may qualify for hearing loss benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Veterans have to demonstrate service-connected hearing loss.
  • The Department of Veteran’s Affairs will determine if the Veteran is eligible for hearing aid benefits.

Hearing injury is the top medical issue related to military service among American veterans. It is more common than post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and amputation. Compared to non-veterans, military personnel are three times more likely to experience severe hearing loss. It isn’t just an issue for older veterans, either; when considering only those who have served in the last 20 years, severe hearing loss is four times more likely than in the general population.

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers benefits to veterans with service-connected hearing loss. However, it imposes eligibility requirements to ensure that only those who have the greatest need are based on an event connected to their service.

What Types of Hearing Problems Affect Veterans?

Hearing loss and tinnitus are the two hearing-related problems that affect veterans in Laredo most often. Tinnitus and hearing loss may also occur together.

There are two different kinds of hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss involves damage to the outer and middle ear. Depending on the specific cause, it may be possible to reverse this type of hearing loss with medical care. Sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to the inner ear, including the nerve endings that connect it to the brain. While this type of hearing loss is unlikely to be cured completely, hearing aids can help to mitigate the effects.

Tinnitus is more commonly known as ringing in the ears. People with tinnitus describe the sensation in several different ways, such as buzzing, clicking, humming, roaring, or whistling. While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms.

Other problems with the ears and hearing that may affect veterans with varying degrees of frequency include the following:

  • Perforated eardrum
  • Loss of one or both ears
  • Peripheral vestibular disorders
  • Malignant or benign neoplasms of the ear (i.e., cancerous or non-cancerous tumors)

What Hearing Benefits Are Available to Veterans?

For veterans with service-connected hearing loss, there are two types of benefits available. Veterans enrolled in VA Health Benefits can receive hearing health care for free or at a reduced cost, including hearing aids. Through VA Disability Compensation, veterans with a sufficient disability rating can receive payments on a monthly basis tax-free. Please inquire with your local VA provider for more information regarding disability determination and services.

How Do You Qualify for Compensation for Service-Connected Hearing Loss?

To qualify for VA Disability Compensation for hearing loss, you must connect with your primary service provider at your local Veteran’s Administration clinic. Let your physician know that you are having difficulty with your hearing, and they can begin the process of obtaining the proper documentation to see an Audiologist

According to the VA, they require veterans to meet three requirements.

Current Diagnosis of Hearing Loss

To demonstrate a current diagnosis of hearing loss, the VA requires that you take two specific diagnostic assessments from a licensed audiologist in Laredo:

  • Pure-tone audiometric test
  • Maryland CNC test

During the pure-tone test, you will wear a pair of headphones through which a series of beeps will play. When you hear a beep, you raise your hand. The results determine your level of general hearing loss.

The Maryland CNC test measures your ability to recognize speech. The results help to rate the severity of your condition and whether it qualifies for disability.

In-Service Event

You have to be able to provide evidence of an event that occurred during your service that could have caused your condition. Certain military occupational specialties, such as mechanical work on aircraft or vehicles, could have exposed you to loud noises that damaged your hearing. Other in-service events that can lead to hearing loss include small arms fire and artillery fire exposure during combat service.

Medical Opinion

The final requirement to qualify for VA disability compensation for hearing loss is that you obtain a medical opinion from a qualified physician that connects the in-service event to your current diagnosis of hearing loss. The physician does not have to prove beyond a doubt that the in-service event caused your hearing injury. However, they should demonstrate that it is at least as likely as not that your service caused the hearing loss.

How Does the VA Determine Your Hearing Loss Rating?

Drawing from the results of your hearing tests, the VA will assign you a disability rating based on the severity of your hearing loss after they have succeeded in determining a connection to your service. This is why the VA requires you to have those specific tests performed.

First, the VA uses a chart called the Numeric Designation of Hearing Impairment Based on Pure-tone Threshold Average and Speech Discrimination to determine the severity of your hearing loss in each ear. The vertical columns represent the pure-tone threshold average, while the horizontal columns represent the percentage of speech discrimination. The point where the two intersect determines the severity of your hearing loss, represented as a Roman numeral from I to XI, with I being the mildest and XI being the most severe.

The VA gives you a single disability rating based on the hearing loss in each ear. The VA then uses another chart to combine the hearing loss in one ear, represented by its Roman numeral designation, which the hearing loss in the other. The percentage of disability, based on where the two axes intersect on the chart, is your disability rating upon which the VA determines whether you should receive compensation and, if so, in what amount.

What Other Services Does the VA Provide to Military Veterans With Hearing Loss?

In addition to VA Disability Compensation, military veterans with hearing loss may also qualify for free or at a reduced cost for hearing health care. Hearing health care services for veterans include sound therapy and counseling as well as hearing aids.

A top-level hearing aid device would ordinarily sell for $4,000. Private insurance companies do not cover hearing aids or Medicare, but veterans who qualify through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs can receive hearing aids from several trusted hearing aid manufacturers for little to no cost.

How Can Oliveira Audiology and Hearing Center Help Veterans?

We offer a team of fully qualified and licensed Audiologists in Laredo, Texas. We can perform the hearing assessments required to turn into the Veteran’s administration in order to start the process. . We also provide hearing aids in various styles from several different manufacturers. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you with your service-connected hearing loss.

Image Source: flysnowfly / Shutterstock

 
 


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