Recently, a Veteran called me asking several questions about service-connected disabilities. He said he was connected at 30% for PTSD, 10% on hearing loss, and wanted to know if he could do anything about the “ringing in his ears.” He went on to mention that he actually served in combat during his time in Iraq. I quickly explained to the Veteran that he could possibly get connected for a disability which is commonly known as tinnitus.
You are likely wondering, “What is tinnitus?” It’s actually quite simple. According to the National Institute of Deafness, tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing in the ears, but it also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. It may be soft or loud, high pitched or low pitched. The Institute goes on to state that it may occur in one ear or both. The tinnitus may be constant or happen only occasionally.
If you have this ringing in the ears, you are likely wondering what caused the issue. The Institute for Deafness goes on to state the following: People who work in noisy environments—such as factory or construction workers, road crews, or even musicians—can develop tinnitus over time when ongoing exposure to noise damages tiny sensory hair cells in the inner ear that help transmit sound to the brain. This is called noise-induced hearing loss. It’s fair to say people in the military, especially those in combat zones, or working on noisy ships, meet these criteria.
For this particular Veteran, we filed a new claim on his behalf for tinnitus. His claim is still pending at the VA. If he is granted a rating, the most he will receive is 10%. According to the 38 CFR, this is the highest rating a Veteran can receive for tinnitus. (Please note: Hearing loss and tinnitus are two separate issues. It is possible to get connected for both.)
If you have been diagnosed with tinnitus and would like us to pursue a claim for your VA Disability, give our office a call for a free phone consultation. You can call us toll-free at 1-877-526-3457, or use our online contact form.