Hearing Loss Versus Tinnitus

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If you are diagnosed with both hearing loss and tinnitus, you may be entitled to one separate rating for hearing loss and another separate rating for tinnitus.

Hearing loss can cause tinnitus. The medical term for this type of hearing loss is presbycusis. It’s caused by exposure to loud noise such as those from heavy equipment and firearms.

Establishing Direct Service Connection for Hearing or Vision Problems

To qualify for disability benefits for a visual or auditory problem caused by service on the basis of direct service connection, you need to prove the condition was caused by your military duty. The following must be established to prove the disability is service-connected:

  • A current diagnosis of a hearing or vision condition
  • Evidence of an event in service that caused the condition
  • A medical opinion linking the current vision or hearing condition to the event in service

Hearing loss is a little easier to diagnosis than tinnitus.

Tinnitus involves the sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. Tinnitus symptoms may include these types of phantom noises in your ears:

  • Ringing
  • Buzzing
  • Roaring
  • Clicking
  • Hissing
  • Humming

The phantom noise may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it can interfere with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go.

What is the Rating for Hearing Versus Tinnitus?

The highest rating available for tinnitus is 10%. A 10% rating will be assigned whether you have ringing in one ear or in both ears; you cannot receive a 20% rating due to tinnitus in both ears. If you also have hearing loss, however, you are entitled to one rating for hearing loss and another for tinnitus.

At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we have been advocating for Veterans for 25 years. While we are glad VA is modernizing their processes and procedures, it can still be very difficult to navigate claims. Today, 31% of claims are denied. According to the Office of Inspector General, a significant number of denied and rejected claims were inappropriately processed, some leading to wrongful denials and rejections.

Don’t be a statistic. Your first consultation is always free. Please contact the Jan Dils team at Fight4Vets.com or call 877.526.3455. Or you can simply fill out this form and we will contact you shortly.






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