Veterans Affairs (VA) claims are already difficult enough for many veterans with obvious physical problems. Long wait times and seemingly obligatory denials push veterans in appeals with little information on how to make their evidence look better. If you're having hearing problems and have been denied compensation, take the time to understand the needs of the VA claim system and how a civilian hearing specialist can help.
Why Would A Hearing Problem Claim Be Denied?
In order for your hearing claim to be accepted, you need to prove that the hearing problems were caused by military service. A service-connected hearing problem can be difficult to prove if you already had a less-than-optimal hearing condition before joining the military, but it isn't impossible.
If your hearing problem can't be directly connected to military service, you may either receive a denial or a request for more information. This means that the results from your VA hearing test were not sufficient for a disability rating, and that you need to find more evidence proving your hearing problems.
The standard hearing test administered by the VA compensation and pension (C&P) exam can detect severe hearing loss, but it may not be enough to diagnose issues such as tinnitus or the inability to hear specific voice registers. To have a more successful claim, you need to organize your military experience and the possible hearing damage threats.
Look Through Your Career For Possible Causes
There are a lot of potential sources of hearing loss that stem from the nature of a military service-member's job. Some are well known due to the large number of veterans dealing with the specific threats, while others are limited because of the relatively small number of service-members exposed.
Mortar specialists, for example, may have to deal with a lot of percussion noise as part of their job. Although it's nowhere close to being on the receiving end of a mortar, the sound can damage the ears over an extended career. Military specializations with gunfire in general are not always guaranteed to reduce hearing--especially if you're wearing hearing protection--but can be devastating if gunfire is next to your ear.
Some of the most common hearing problems comes from veterans in technical positions who deal with heavy, loud machinery and alarms. The constant grinding and roaring of heavy machinery and shrieking alarms over an entire career can lead to severe damage due to constant exposure.
To test different ranges of hearing damage and to link relevant career exposure to your hearing problem, a civilian hearing specialist is necessary. You won't have to deal with the VA's wait times and can spend dedicated appointment time on discussing your hearing problems, which can be useful in finding specific forms of hearing loss or other issues that could interfere with your hearing.
Contact a hearing specialist to begin examining your hearing problems more closely for a more successful VA disability appeal. A center like Hearing Solutions Audiology Center can give you more information.