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Reminder: The VA will give a Military Disability Rating for each service-connected condition a service member has, but the DoD will only rate service-connected conditions that make a service member Unfit for Duty.
When sound waves enter the ear from the outside auricle, they travel down the ear canal to the eardrum.
Note: Your general examining physician CANNOT perform the tests necessary to rate a hearing impairment. The rating system for hearing loss is a bit complicated, but wea€™re going to go through it step by step. The first test needing to be done is a speech discrimination test that determines your ability to understand words due to hearing loss.
There are cases where a speech discrimination test would not be a true reflection of hearing impairment.
If both tests have been performed, then use the following table to determine the Roman numerals.
If a speech discrimination test was determined not necessary by an audiologist, then a Roman numeral can be assigned for each ear based on the following table. If tests were not performed on an ear, it is assumed that that ear has perfect hearing, and is assigned a Roman numeral of I.
If the results for each puretone threshold (1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000 Hertz) are all 55 decibels or more, then it can be rated on either of the above tables, whichever results in the higher Roman numeral, even if a speech test was performed.
If the results of the puretone threshold of 1000 Hertz is 30 decibels or less and the results of the puretone threshold of 2000 Hertz is 70 decibels or more, then it is a special case which merits a greater hearing loss compensation. Code 6211: If the tympanic membrane (eardrum) is torn or has a hole in it but there are no other symptoms, it is rated 0%. Code 6260: Tinnitus is the ringing sound in the ear that often comes after exposure to serious aural trauma like explosions. Seriously, though, tinnitus can often be a symptom caused by psychological or other conditions. If this continues for an extended period of time and there is itchiness, a clear or yellowish liquid or dry flakes coming out of the ear, and it requires regular treatment, it is rated 10%.
Code 6200: Chronic suppurative otitis media is the swelling and bacterial infection of the middle ear with pus coming out of the ear because of a hole in the eardrum. If there is pus coming out of the ear or if there is a growth in the middle ear that causes bleeding, it is rated 10%. Code 6201: Chronic nonsuppurative otitis media with effusion is the swelling and bacterial infection of the middle ear, but no pus comes out of the ear because there is no hole in the eardrum.
Code 6204: Peripheral vestibular disorders are conditions that affect the earsa€™ ability to sense proper body balance. Code 6205: Menierea€™s syndrome (endolymphatic hydrops) is a disorder of the inner ear that affects both hearing and balance. If there is hearing impairment with episodes of dizziness and staggering while walking that occur more than once a week, whether or not there is tinnitus, it is rated 100%.
Code 6209: Benign tumors affecting the ear are rated on how they affect the functioning of the ear. Code 6208: Malignant tumors of the ear are rated under this code if they affect more than just the skin.
All other ear conditions will be rated analogously (see the Analogous and Equivalent Codes page) with the above ratings. Here is the Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) used for ear conditions: Ear Conditions DBQ. Special Monthly Compensation: If your hearing condition is very severe, you may qualify for the VAa€™s Special Monthly Compensation. Probative Value: If two exams record the condition differently, the exam with the most thorough data and performed by the most qualified person in that specialty will be the exam the rating is based on. A Tie Goes to the Veteran: If there are two equally strong exams with conflicting information, or if the condition can be equally rated under two different codes, then the one that gives the highest rating will be assigned. Accurate Measurements: It is essential that the necessary information to rate your condition is recorded by the physician in your exam. Receive a Platinum Favor Visa Rewards Credit Card for as low as 4.99% APR for the first 6 months.
We want you to feel comfortable with our employees, feel at ease knowing your money is safe and secure and feel confident that you have been given the best product for your needs. At The Vinton County National Bank, we want you to know we are here for you and that we think our customers deserve the very best in banking. Marine Corps reservist Mauricio Mota served in five combat zones between 1987 and 2008, the last one in Iraq, where he slept next to what he described as “deafening” field generators and rode in loud helicopters. Toward the end of his Iraq tour, the now-retired staff sergeant said he realized his hearing had gone bad.
Hearing injuries are the most commonly documented trauma, said Forbes, a Marine veteran who has a doctorate in audiology and served during the Gulf War and Somalia conflicts.
Despite being such a prevalent condition, hearing problems don’t get much attention, because “in general, very few people die because of hearing loss,” said Theresa Schulz, a retired Air Force audiologist who now works in a similar capacity for Honeywell Safety Products.
Shortly after his discharge, Mota was with his family at a mall when he stopped at a hearing professional’s office to get tested. Last year at a Marine Corps ball, he noticed that many of his buddies seemed to have trouble hearing, too. One of his Marine buddies wears hearing aids in both ears; necessary, he said, because of noise exposure over his career.

Peworski was exposed to several factors that cause hearing impairment for military personnel: loud noises from trucks and helicopters, as well as machine-gun bursts and artillery fire.
In October 2008, Congress mandated a Pentagon-based office that would determine ways to prevent, diagnose, mitigate, treat, rehabilitate and research hearing loss and auditory issues for active-duty service members and veterans. Experts say too few returning veterans, like most people, don’t seek medical attention for their hearing loss when they first notice it. Prolonged excessive noise damages hearing, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), a division of the National Institutes of Health. Loud noises also damage the auditory nerve, another hearing component that helps translate sound waves into signals the brain understands. Hearing also can be damaged significantly by a single impulse sound — gunfire, for example.
Normal conversation is considered to be “safe” at a sound level of 60 decibels, according to the NIDCD. On flight decks, noise levels are around 130 decibels and helicopter noise is around 100 decibels, according to military noise assessment.
Another feature of blast injury and hearing impairment is that it likely will show up later, often as part of blast-induced traumatic brain injury. Brett Buchanan, an Army veteran, is a claims agent for Allsup, a Belleville, Ill.-based national disability representation company that helps veterans through their medical appeals. If veterans wait seven years, Buchanan said, their time discharged might be longer than the time they served on active duty. Brogan uses a device called CapTel lets him hear and read a transcription of telephone conversations as he listens to them.
The VA and the Defense Department had worked together for about a decade, but the formal establishment of the HCE and its “one voice,” Dennis said, “is a welcome development.” That focused effort also could lead to much-needed advances in technology. The eardrum then vibrates in response to the sound waves, sending an even stronger wave through the middle ear. The hearing test will be able to detect inconsistency in the responses and will invalidate the test. The tester will say various words in a controlled environment and you have to repeat them back. The audiologist may choose not to conduct this test in circumstances where there is already an impairment that is not related to hearing loss or in other conditions where language difficulties would not accurately demonstrate a true hearing impairment. This test measures the loudness (measured in decibels) and pitches (high or low; measured in frequencies) at which you can first hear a sound. These Roman numerals are simply a tool used to keep the rating system from getting too confusing. It can be rated on either of the above tables, whichever results in the higher Roman numeral, even if a speech test was performed.
First find the Roman numeral down the left side for the ear that hears the best (one with the smaller Roman numeral). In cases like this where tinnitus is a direct cause of another condition, it cannot be rated separately unless clearly allowed by the rating system of the underlying condition. Mastoiditis is an infection that spreads into the pockets of air behind the ear that can spread into the brain if left untreated. If the condition causes other symptoms like hearing impairment, tinnitus, facial nerve conditions, etc., each symptom can be rated separately under their own code. Symptoms include dizziness, sense of being in motion or spinning, wooziness, or motion sickness. If there is hearing impairment with episodes of dizziness and staggering while walking that occur one to four times a month, whether or not there is tinnitus, it is rated 60%. These cells can be benigna€”they do not attack the good cells around thema€”or they can be malignanta€”they attack the cells around them. So, if the condition interferes with hearing, then it would be rated under the hearing loss rating system.
This 100% rating will continue for the first 6 months following the completion of the any treatment.
The bottom line rule is to rate any condition under the code that BEST describes it, even if it is not exact. However, if another condition exists that is additional to the ear condition (not simply caused by it), then it can also be rated.
If the condition is caused by trauma to the brain, see the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) page. Find all the answers you need to maximize your Military Disability Benefits and VA Disability Benefits today!Follow Dr. The most-widespread injury for veterans has been hearing loss and other auditory complications, according to interviews and benefits data.
Dan Benishek, R-Mich., chairman of the Subcommittee on Health of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a telephone interview that 25 to 30 percent of VA disability claims involved hearing. Charles Peworski’s last hearing test was in 2004 despite the fact that he knows his hearing is a problem.
Out of the 10 guys in my unit, when we get together we say, ‘You know I can’t hear…talk to my good ear,” he said. Loud noises destroy the ear’s special cells, called “hair cells.” The ear cannot grow new hair cells.
A soldier near an M60 machine gun is exposed to 150 decibels and within 50 feet of an exploding grenade, 160 decibels.

Eardrums can rupture at pressure as low as 5 pounds per square inch, a fraction of what it takes to damage internal organs.
After speaking at an association convention, he now is invited to speak on many speaking panels, for organizations such as the HLAA and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Vickie Tuten, associate director for the Hearing Center of Excellence, and Kyle Dennis, the VA representative to the center, work together to assure veterans’ well-being.
Ratings are based on the results of two tests: a controlled speech discrimination test, and a puretone audiometry test. The results of the puretone test run across the top of the table, and the results for the speech test run down the left side of the table. The Roman numeral of the ear that hears the worst (one with the bigger Roman numeral) can be found across the top of the table. The VASRD helpfully points out that tinnitus cannot be rated if other people can also hear the ringing. Additionally, only one rating is allowed for tinnitus whether or not the ringing is in one, both ears, or in the head.
Cholesteatoma is the growth of cells in the middle ear that can destroy the functioning of the ear.
Before a condition can be rated under this code, definite evidence of the exact condition and a firm diagnosis must be made.
This condition can be rated one of two ways: once under this code, or three ratings, one under tinnitus, one under hearing loss, and one as a peripheral vestibular disorder, can be combined.
If there is hearing impairment with episodes of dizziness less than once a month, whether or not there is tinnitus, it is rated 30%. If it affects the eara€™s balance system, then it would be rated as a peripheral vestibular disorder. The condition will then be reevaluated and rated based on any continuing symptoms, like hearing loss. Hearing maladies cost more than $1.4 billion in veterans disability payments annually, according to fiscal year 2010 data from the Hearing Center of Excellence, a part of the Department of Defense. The most common disability among all veterans is hearing related, according to a January 2011 Government Accountability Office report. When he and his fellow reservists gather to celebrate the Marine Corps anniversary, they joke about their hearing, or rather, the lack of it. Explosives used in Iraq and Afghanistan create pressure that exceeds 60 psi, according to VA audiology research. Brogan was severely wounded in Iraq when a suicide bomb attack blew away part of his skull. When the waves disturb the liquid, electrical impulses are stimulated and sent up the nerves to the brain. The VASRD also points out, kind of obviously, that these tests cannot be taken while wearing a hearing aid.
Make sure you get the proper exam and tests so that can you get the most accurate rating possible. Even if an ear has no hearing loss, it is factored in to determine the overall disability that results from hearing loss for both ears. Find the results for both tests for a single ear and then assign the Roman numeral in the intersecting square. So, if the highest Roman numeral of the two tables is VI, then that ear is assigned a Roman numeral of VII. If, however, it persists despite treatment, it can then be rated on one of the following codes.
Whether just one or all three of these conditions are present, only one rating is given under this code. This period is 3 months unless another length (6 months, 1 year, etc.) is directly specified in the condition ratings.
At least $216 million was spent that same year for hearing aids and related devices, according to an advisory committee report to the VA.
Benishek, who is a physician, has proposed that every service member gets a full audiology examination at discharge.
Beyond his surviving that 2006 blast, Brogan said he is amazed by how much his hearing-assistive devices improved his life. The inner ear also houses the semicircular canals that send impulses to the brain that control balance.
So, if the puretone test result is 58, and the speech test result is 84%, then the Roman numeral for this ear would be III. For example, if the best ear has a Roman numeral of III, and the worst ear has a Roman numeral of VI, then the total rating for hearing loss is 10%. If the diagnosed condition also causes hearing loss or liquid coming out the ear, then those symptoms can be rated in addition to a rating under this code.
Some patients may need more time to recover than others, so the physician or Rating Authorities can lengthen this time period if they see fit.
His bills have been sent to the Congressional Budget Office to determine their impact on federal spending.

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