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    • A few months ago my service connected hearing loss  was increased from; 10% tinnitus
      20%  Bi-Lat hearing loss
      30% total to 10% tinnitus
      50%  Bi-Lat hearing loss
      60% total While I do not meet the single disability percent to apply normally needed to apply for IU, I do see a "Special Consideration"  which I believe applies in my case"  http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/factsheets/serviceconnected/iu.pdf Below is my letter asking for my increase.  I was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback on the content in order to determine of I should even bother to apply for UI ?   Thanks in advance, Mark   *********** 3/17/2016 Department of Veterans Affairs
        I am respectfully requesting consideration for an increase in my current Service Connected Bilateral Hearing Loss rating based on VA Autonomic re-evaluation dated 2/16/16, performed by XXX Snyder, MS, Audiology which included Maryland CNC word recognition testing, conducted at the VA Audiology Clinic, 760 XXXX Avenue, XXX Ca. 96001 (530) XXX-8830.       History:   I am currently rated at 20% Service Connected Bilateral Hearing Loss and 10% Service Connected Bilateral Tinnitus, dated 3/8/2011.  The details and evaluation of that service connection are documented in my VA file number XXX XX XXXX.     Continued and ongoing issues:   Based on my ongoing occupational, Retail Store Manager and non-occupational hearing problems, which include but not limited to;   Understanding and or comprehending spoken words
      Understanding and or comprehending telephone, conference call conversation and intercom announcements
      Understanding and or comprehending MIS helpdesk, police and other government or municipal telephone conversations.
      Understanding and or comprehending streaming television, computer, radio or other electronically produced broadcasts.
      Communicating in moderate to noisy environments, including retail store operations.
      Communicating with a group of individuals, including retail store operations, staff meetings and training.
      Communicating using retail store, company provided two way radio handsets.
          My service connected hearing problems, severely limits my ability to applicably react to audible occupational signals from:   Building alarm, emergency warning and other electronic security systems
      Fire and Loss prevention alarm / notification systems
      Point of Sale alarm / notifications and alert systems
      Point of Sale scanners; Symbol DS9808, Motorola LS2208,
      Inventory management scanner; Symbol MC3100
      EAS Loss prevention entry/exit scanners
      Refrigeration / Freezer malfunction notification systems
      Environmental systems (heating/cooling) notification systems
      Energy management systems NOVAR notification systems
      Freight delivery truck, backup warning notification systems
        My service connected hearing problems have resulted in:   My inability to efficiently communicate with friends, acquaintances, family, customers, vendors, subordinate employees, peers and supervisors.
      Frequent outsourcing or shifting of my normal and personally assigned managerial functions that require high amounts of communication, to my subordinate managers.
      Personal, occupational and social withdrawal due to reduced access to services and difficulties communicating with others.
      Experiencing significant emotional problems caused by a drop in my self-esteem and professional confidence.
      Exacerbation of my VA diagnosed PTSD, that I am currently being treated for at the VA XXX VA Behavioral Health Department.     Recent VA recommendations and action by XXX Snyder, MS, Audiology:   Since my recent VA Autonomic re-evaluation which included Maryland CNC word recognition testing, dated 2/16/16, I have been issued and subsequently fitted with updated VA issued hearing instruments: PHONAK AUDEO V90-13 RIC to replace my previous hearing instruments: AUDEO SPICE SMART IX UZ RIC.  I have also been issued and fitted with a Remote Control, ComPilot II and Remote Microphone in order to specifically assist with my occupational communication problems.  Mr. XXX Snyder explained to me that the new hearing instruments will provide a longer usable service life for my substantial and difficult to manage hearing loss.   ***************** Below is the actual examine results: 1. Objective Findings --------------------- a. Puretone thresholds in decibels (air conduction): RIGHT EAR +==============================================================+ | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========+ | 500 | 1000 | 2000 | 3000 | 4000 | 6000 | 8000 | Avg Hz | | Hz* | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | (B-E)**| |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========| | 30 | 50 | 75 | 85 | 95 | 105+ | 100+ | 76 | +=======================================================================+ LEFT EAR +==============================================================+ | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========+ | 500 | 1000 | 2000 | 3000 | 4000 | 6000 | 8000 | Avg Hz | | Hz* | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | (B-E)**| |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========| | 35 | 50 | 70 | 80 | 85 | 105+ | 100+ | 71 | +=======================================================================+ * The puretone threshold at 500 Hz is not used in determining the evaluation but is used in determining whether or not a ratable hearing loss exists. ** The average of B, C, D, and E. *** CNT - Could Not Test b. Were there one or more frequency(ies) that could not be tested: No c. Validity of puretone test results: Test results are valid for rating purposes. d. Speech Discrimination Score (Maryland CNC word list): +=======================+ | RIGHT EAR | 56% |   Thank you,   Mark Nicholson
    • Thanks for the help!  I am happy to report that in less than 2 weeks from contacting the Secretary, my back pay was deposited into my account.  Still waiting on the back pay from the latest increase, but its only been a couple of months.  I will give them a little time.
    • There's  no known medical reason for tinnitus  but usually hearing loss and tinnitus goes hand in hand there are two types of tinnitus &. A medical Dr in this field of expertise will need to make that opinion & as for as a secondary to cause or aggravate tinnitus. I would recommend you request a Hearing test from the VA  and you need to let them know about the ringing in your head  not your ears this is the only way a Dr can know you may have tinnitus....the tinnitus is an unknow sounds that come from the middle of the head...and it bout drive a person batty, also if your wanting to get this S.C. AND Possibly rated   you need to  remember if you were around any loud noise while in the military  your mos AND what you did in the military,,,,you don't need combat to qualify for  S.C. Disability  as long as  any event that caused your condition/disability while in the military   if you can prove it  then you can get compensation for it.  but its on the veteran to prove that...you do this with medical reports hearing test  and your lay statement in detail as to how the even happen.  this is called bilateral noise induced hearing loss and it gets worse over the years.   with the exception of natural age progression. jmo ..................Buck
    • Is that your reply to my question here: "Is your inservice nexus to the anxiety/depression in your SMRs and/or established in any other way?" I guess I mean- is that surgical error the cause for the anxiety and depression? I found your past posts and this happened in a Military Hospital. That means it happened in service. I assume you have some Psyche treatment records in your SMRs? Did the SMRs reveal anything that confirms what actually happened ? There are still movements to get the Feres Doctrine abolished. The Feres Doctrine means a service person injured medically (or even killed) by Military malpractice has no way to really sue the Mil or get restitution. Except the way you might get it...via the claims process. I think the Military is better than the VA at covering up this stuff. Then again VA killed my husband and did a very good job of trying to cover it up. They failed however. You have anxiety and depression from a very traumatic inservice event. I just hope the VA sees it that way too,since they deferred that claim. Otherwise you might need an IMO/IME.            
    • Yes, I went through a group that has POA for assisting in this. I first thought something like that, but I read somewhere else that said when a Pending Disability is listed as type "REP", it indicates reopening of a case. That's what really got me concerned as I can't see a reason they would want to reopen it unless something was found to be way wrong. But I'm rather ignorant in most all of this, so it's just been flustered speculation on my part.


Back Pain - Multiple Bulging Discs - Surgery

13 posts in this topic

I’ve been in the VA Health System less than a year. About 4 weeks ago, I went to my pvt doctor complaining of back pain (I still have pvt insurance). He sent me for X-rays and an MRI and gave me a muscle relaxer and some pain meds. The MRI results say I have multiple bulging discs in the lower spin. Pvt doc wants to refer me to a neurosurgeon. I have my deductible met but my 20% would still be about $3000. I’m not sure I want surgery in any event. I’m feeling a lot better than I was 4 weeks ago. I know that if I do nothing, I’ll end up in pain and flat on my back again. And, I probably won’t be able to afford the pvt insurance next year.

Should I take my X-rays and MRI results to the VA clinic and try for a referral to neurology or orthopedics? I didn’t go there first because I was in pain and not moving around very well. I figured a referral would probably take a few weeks at a minimum.

Any advice would be appreciated



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Old Dave, is this a service connected injury? The reason why I ask is this past Feb. I went to see my Primary Care doc, before she left for good, and asked her to put in a consult to go to a different VA to see the neurosurgeon for my back. Same deal, leg pain and numbness, all service connected though. At that time she told me that she couldn't even refer me since the nearest VA was backlogged with patients just waiting for an appointment for an evaluation. I was approved for fee basis outside the VA. One of my happiest dealigns with the VA, since I didn't want them to operate on me, for the simple reason that the Richmond, Virginia, VA is a training hospital, and from month to month you'll never see the same doc when it comes to backs.

Is this something that just came on you, or have you battled it for years? I've battled mine for years, and finally found an alternative type of surgery, something the VA wouldn't have offered, that gives me more hope. I've been on painkillers for the last 7 years, Vicodin no less, and will have liver issues soon enough I'm sure.

Bottom line is, if it's at a point that you can't stand it, do something about it, but you said it was subsiding so not as bad. In the end it's about quality of life. Mine has been so bad for the last year, that I can't put it off anymore, even at the age of 40. Good luck.

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10thFO, thanks for your response.

I'm not service connected for my back. I'm at 80% though, so the VA should cover the treatment. My first visit to my VA PCP was last Feb. and it just so happened I was having back trouble at the time. He prescribed muscle relaxers and pain pills and I recovered nicely in a week or two. That was the first time in recent years that I've had trouble. I'm 64 so all in all I guess I shouldn't complain. If the worse it gets is two episodes within 8 months I can deal with that. The problem is, if I should have the surgery, the private option probably won't be there next year. Although, after October 2010, I'll be eligble for Medicare. But, between January and October, the VA will probably be my primary care provider.

Have you had the surgery already or are you working on it? I hope it gives you relief and good results. Good Luck.

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Dave, if you will be eligible for Medicare that soon, then I say wait. Use the VA for it's drugs or whatever for now. You should be good until then. I'm having surgery this friday, and it's acutally a surgery that the VA or Medicare will only pay for, more progressive. Private insurance companies won't pay for this yet as it costs more than other more risky to you alternatives. Good luck brother.

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When I was at the VAMC neurological ward for diagnosic workup, a veteran in the bed next to me was in for neck surgery.

After the surgery they told him they would have to put him under again & finish the operation on the other side because they ran out of time on the operating table. They are only alowed so much time for the students to work on you I guess.

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10thFO, keep us posted on the surgery. Hope it goes well for you.

Allan, did that surprise you? You were only in for evaluation. If you were in for a procedure, would you have gotten a little worried? My dad used to say the best hospitals were teaching hospitals. Fresh inquesative minds with experienced teacher supervisors. Of course, dad was never in a VA hospital.

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