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About Bigwrench

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  1. A few updates on my situation and first Id like to thank you all for the support and help with my questions no matter how dumb they may seem. Since this posting I have been approved for using the vets Choice program for both ophthalmology and Audiology !!! For the glasses I called the MHVAMC directly to set up an eye exam (It had been over 2 years since my last one) and the closes appt they could get me in was June, (I called around March 28th) and I was asked directly if I wanted to use the Choice program at that time and I said yes and it was set in motion , was contacted by Tri West and asked about my preferences and they set it all up , the exam was performed this last Monday. So easy peasy ! I was given a new prescription but have to send, mail or fax that to Mountain Home VA in JC, TN ( Not Sure which yet , will call today to find out) before they will issue my new glasses . I could have purchased directly from the examining office for a fee but otherwise the entire process went smooth and easy and was entirely 100% FREE ! I also have a scheduled appointment with my Local Audiologist for a fitting and issuance of new hearing aids with the Bluetooth option and there is no fee for that either. This process was actually a little more involved than the glasses was as I had to have my PCP recommend the Choice program (Several Emails back and forth through the Secure Messaging option on the MyHealthEVet website started process on 26 February as noted in earlier posts on this thread ) got the call from Tri West about Audiology Tuesday , Appt is May 3rd but otherwise that was pain free as well. Also on the Audiology subject, I received a letter yesterday from the VA ( I did file an appeal on the Percentage as Buck Suggested above ) with the new results from my Local Audiologist and I was denied and left at 0% LOL their decision reasoning ; -The evaluation of is continued at 0 percent disabling - An evaluation of 0 percent is assigned because your right ear has a speech discrimination of 100 (WTH?) with an average dB loss of 50 and your left ear has a speech discrimination of 100 (WTH?) with an average dB loss of 49. The evaluation of hearing loss is based on objective testing. Higher evaluations are assigned for more severe hearing impairment. -An evaluation of 0 percent is assigned because the audiometrics are not adequate to assign an evaluation. There must be Maryland CNC speech discrimination scores and recorded dB thresholds at 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000 Hz. The evaluation for hearing loss is based on objective testing. Higher evaluations are assigned for more severe hearing impairment. - We considered your Audiometric findings from Dr. Hel***** from February 2016 with word recognition scores of 75% in each ear (was actually 75 & 78) . While these scores are not shown to be from a Maryland CNC speech discrimination test, we did consider them in our decision, but they did not change your evaluation. Even with consideration of these findings, your overall evaluation for bilateral hearing loss remains 0 percent. Ok lol I wish I could upload the documents to show what the results were and get everyone's opinon but don't see how to do that but my Audiologist clearly states in her findings on page 2 Slight Sensorineural loss 500HZ-2KHZ dropping to a Moderately severe loss 3KHZ-8KHZ , bilaterally. Speech reception and discrimination testing was completed with words in quiet using the Maryland CNC word list recorded. The actual Hz readings were in a graph format but clearly labeled and understandable even for a dummy like me lol My question now is should I just file a NOD and staple all this together with a written map and highlighted areas that they need to pay attention to ? Clearly its a 10% rating using table VI of their 38CFR 4.86 rules so not sure if I should give up or not lol. Another thing is I still haven't gotten my C File from the regional VA ( Roanoke VA) , Haven't received any medical or otherwise records from the NPRC that I sent off for , they said the records were unavailable because they were out for a C&P exam lol !!! I also requested all records from Mountain Home VA and they are supposed to mail me a CD but gave me the orginal hearing test results that day that they did back in 2010 which were before the Maryland CNC test I guess because they were a little different So what do ya'll think ? NOD? Appeal ? or forget it for awhile until I get all these records in my hands to make a stronger case ? I truly think I have a solid argument with the Audiologist results I have now but evidently they aren't seeing the same things I am lol I have to say I have lived with this hearing loss since 1988... pretty much a stress free life the last 15 years or so but this whole process is bringing on a stress level I am not too comfortable with and sometimes think I just opened a can of worms LOL Thanks Again ! Rick
  2. That's some great info , Thank you ! The Audiologist I just used stated I should get new aids every 3 years , I didn't know this so I also asked my PCP about it in the message yesterday. This is exactly why I am glad I found you guys , my biggest obstacle has been NOT knowing what I am allowed to do ... (How often should hearing aids be replaced or checked , how often should I get my prescription glasses replaced , how often should I have by CPAP machine checked or replaced or how often should I order supplies for it ) even the compensation that I am getting now I didn't file until last December, didn't even start using the VA for medical till probably 09 because I just didn't know it was an option for me. I think there must be thousands of Vets out there that don't have any idea like me and I am so glad there is somewhere to ask these questions and get straight answers ! So again Thank You all so much !
  3. Thanks Buck I was afraid to do anything with it lol Ill give them a call and see what they can tell me
  4. I emailed my PCP yesterday through the secure messaging app and hopefully he will respond sometime today , he is usually pretty fast on that stuff . Another thing that happened yesterday that I'm not sure I understand , I received a retroactive paper check from Treasury issued on 2/12/16 for one month , I then went online and setup the direct deposit . My start date according to my award letter was Jan 1 2016 . Yesterday I got a notification that a deposit was made to my bank account for another month. I am afraid that they may have paid me twice so wasn't sure and thought I would ask you guys. I was under the impression from reading the Ebenefits site that the check was issued in February for January and my February payment would come in March . Afraid to touch the money lol
  5. Thanks Chuck , I will message my Primary Care today online and see what he has to say.
  6. I really appreciate the advice guys ! It can be confusing for sure ! A few questions if you guys have time ..... 1) The audiologist I used said I could actually use the Veterans Choice program and start using her but when I look on the VA site it says I am not eligible because a clinic is 21 miles away from home. The Actual VA hospital in Johnson City Tn is the only place I can receive "Audiology" treatment which is approximately 75 miles away , do they take that into consideration or since a clinic is so close will I always be ineligible for the Veterans Choice program ? 2) When someone says I need to get a hard copy of my C File what do they mean or what process do I have to go through to get my hands on one ? 2a. I sent off to the National Personnel records place through eBenefits site and requested all medical records from 87-91 but was told my file was being used for my current claim and was unavailable. Is this the same thing ? 2b. My last visit to Mountain Home I was told I could get all my records at the records and information office but I could never find it in that place, so not sure if this is what I need also ? 3) This may be far fetched but it was recommended that I try to get them to pay benefits back to the original injury date of 8/1988 or at least to the date of separation of service. Is that even possible or worth pursuing ?
  7. Buck, . I went ahead and scheduled a hearing test from a local state certified audiologist , not surprisingly they are showing a higher loss than the VA test results show. The original VA test results are left ear right ear 500hz 30 25 1000hz 25 30 2000hz 25 30 3000hz 65 65 4000hz 60 60 avg loss 44 46 Speech Disc 88% 86% State Audiologist Left Right 250 25 25 500. 25 25 1000 30 30 2000 35 35 3000 65 65 4000 65 70 6000 60 75 8000 50 65 Avg loss 49 50- (Used Hutskys Calculator to get these numbers) Word recognition 75% 78% Not really sure what all this means or how to do the avg loss since they appear to have tested more dB ranges I'm assuming I just need to upload these results to my appeal claim on eBenefits site ? Ive also contacted a VSO and hope to get by there soon.
  8. Buck, Thank you for the quick response and welcome. Yes they granted service connection for the hearing loss also which as you said that's a good start. They are at least conceding that my issues started in the Army in 88 , which as I understand it from reading so much the last few days is a feat in itself most times. As I get older my day to day life is affected , limitations at work and just not hearing or understanding things that are said to me most days drives me and those around me batty at times lol again I was amazed at how fast the initial process went but I also fear this is going to be a long drawn out process from reading others posts . Again thank you for the advice and I remember seeing a link to file a NOD and it said I had one year to file it ? I will seek out a competent audiologist locally and see if I can schedule a test as soon as funds allow.
  9. Hello everyone , I'm new to the site and new to the VA as far as Disability and ratings go . I'm not sure if this post is in the right area so feel free to move it if needed. Army 13 Bravo 87-91 filed a claim on bilateral hearing loss and tinnitus in December 2015, in January I was called back to the VA for another test and February 8th I was granted service connection for both with a 10% on Tinnitus and 0% for the hearing loss. I am somewhat confused by the 0% Rating for the bilateral hearing loss , the reason for the 0 rating was given as a speech discrimination in right ear of 86 with avg dB loss of 46 and left ear SD of 88 with avg dB loss of 44 The audiologist also noted a moderate to severe sensoneuroial damage to both ears my ear problems started at Ft Bragg 8/88 with a field training exercise where someone threw a simulator grenade under the net of our gun in the middle of the night which landed very Near my sleeping bag . I Couldn't hear for a couple days and ringing off and on since. I wore hearing protection during all live fire missions but not while sleeping on a dry fire training exercise. At that time a hearing test was done which is on record as showing hearing loss at higher hertz levels. The pre enlistment hearing test also showed perfect hearing. My Hearing has progressively gotten worse over the years and I really hadn't thought of filing for a claim until a hearing test was done at the VA in 2010 and the audiologist at the time recommended I file , I stewed on it and figured it would be a long drawn out hassle and not worth my time . I was issued hearing aids and life went on. Well I finally filed in December as stated due to the worsening of both conditions and was absolutely floored that a decision was made in 6 weeks which was somewhat favorable. A friend suggested I add the sensoneuroial loss (since their most recent audiologist added this in her findings during the January 16 test) to the claim and ask for an increase in rating on the hearing loss, which I have done . Also everything has been done electronically online at the eBenefits site up to this point. My questions are many but I guess I just wanted to see if there is anything else I should do or if there has been something I have done wrong up to this point to cause the 0% rating ? I uploaded copies of the audiologist statements about the sensoneuroial damage with my last request also. Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated , Thank you for this outlet and resource. I have been reading through a bunch of posts today and thought id introduce myself.
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