Hearing loss was highlighted as among the most common VA disability claims for a majority of the veterans in data gathered from 2018 to 2019. Senior citizens were also identified as being more at risk of having untreated hearing loss issues. These have been linked with higher medical expenses too. A total of 93.6% of all veterans of all ages experienced hearing loss ranging from 0% to 10%.
When applying for a hearing loss claim, you need to follow certain steps to prove your case. Establishing a connection between hearing loss and service duty is imperative here. For this reason, you will need to do the following:
Get an Audiogram Test
This is a hearing test done to determine a healthy auditory function. In some cases, the compensation you get is based on the extent of hearing loss you are experiencing. The audiogram test checks 5 hearing frequencies ranging from high to low.
VA claims then require a person to meet the following criterion for the hearing loss claims:
- The test needs to show that the person is averaging a loss of around 26 decibels or more in 3 out of the 5 frequencies which have been tested.
Get a Speech Test
This test is done to determine how well a person is able to hear in a normal conversation. The person has to hear and respond to monosyllabic words, phrases, and more. This determines the extent of hearing loss and how it is hampering a person’s ability to function properly in daily life.
VA claims need to show that the speech test can determine the following:
- The speech test needs to have a score of 94% and show a correlation between hearing loss and speech recognition.
Establishing a Service Connection
Once you have your audiogram and speech test, you have to establish a service connection for hearing loss. For this, you need to determine exactly when you started to face hearing issues. This is a very important factor as it can make or break your case – if service connection is not evident, you will not be eligible for disability claims.
In certain jobs, the connection is easier to establish. For example – Flight mechanics have a “Noise exposure conceded” option. This means that it is understood that they are going to be subjected to extremely high levels of noise. On the other hand, aircraft pilots, who usually have sound insulated cockpits don’t always get concession for this.
Exceptions in the VA Disability Claims
Despite being one of the most common VA claims, it can be hard to apply for hearing loss. In some cases, a person could be 100% deaf in one ear and still not be given compensation. In this case, if the other ear is not showing low levels of hearing, you may be ineligible for a claim.
By paying attention to these things, you will be able to successfully file your VA disability claim for hearing loss.