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Hearing Loss Claim And #s To Support It


Ricky C. Swanson

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This is also posted in the Military.com forum

Was wondering if somebody here would be kind enough to assist me. I was in the military 70-72. My AFSC was 6055X as I was a “dangerous cargo specialist.” My job was to get high priority cargo on/off the plane. Most had to be signed for so I was required to meet the plane sign and get the cargo then get it to the plane have the cargo signed for and released. A lot of it was human remains returning from Nam and such that required me to be there when the plane pulled in. Also, I worked in the air freight terminal which was located right next to the passenger terminal at Yokota AB which was probably the busiest airport in its day as all cargo going to Nam went through here. Mostly C-5s and C-141s. But we loaded and unloaded planes – that was our job. Spent most of my working day on the flight line.

I have terrible hearing. When I went to work for Digital back in the late 70s I was given a hearing test and they asked if I had worked around airplanes due to the results. She said my hearing was bad at high frequency. I know I have terrible hearing. I got my medical records from the VA which shows my hearing test when I enlisted and when I was discharged. I am listing them here to hopefully get some advice. The numbers in parenthesis are the numbers recorded on my hearing test when I was discharge.

Right ear 500=5 (5); 1000=5 (5); 2000=0 (10); 4000=5 (15); 6000=- (20)

Left ear 500=5 (10); 1000=0 (10); 2000=5 (10); 4000=0 (20) 6000=-(40)

It appears they never tested for the 6000 range when I enlisted. But the bottom line is when I went in my hearing was all 0s and 5s and when I was discharged it was a lot worse. Now I know it is absolutely terrible. But when you look at the hearing tests from when I went in and was discharged, coupled with the job I performed I didn’t think it was questionable. So I filed a claim and was denied and was told I needed more info. I talked to a VA service officer and unknown to me he had it appealed and it was still denied saying they need more info. What more do I need? I had a private hearing test done and they confirmed my hearing is absolutely terrible. So when the VA did one to support my claim they looked at my test results I had and said they were the same. The graph I got back shows my hearing at high frequency is completely gone. I did go to a VA service officer here where I live and wasn’t impressed. I told him what my paperwork said and he told me that physicals when I went in and got discharged didn’t “mean anything” as they could have given me the test wrong. What kind of an answer is that? He is supposed to assist me. Anyway, if anybody has any recommendations of what I should do next I will do it. I really need to get my hearing fixed as it is almost embarrassing how bad it is. The only thing I know is the numbers of my hearing tests when I went in and got discharged as I have a copy of them as well as the job I performed when I was in as well as my hearing today is absolutely terrible. Possibly somebody could recommend a VA service office in the state of Colorado. I don’t care what city as I would travel if I know I would get somebody who would sincerely assist me.

Thanks – Ricky C. Swanson shorttimer1@gmail.com

Ps please feel free to e-mail me directly

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Ricky, all I can say is put in for in my husband also had good hearing when he enlisted and during is active service they did 3 more test and all three of them say high frequency loss and he still was denied we filed NOD on it. He also has terrible hearing, which cause a lot of problems. but not so bad to have a hearing aid so they say. They don't live with him I do. Anyways put in for it send all your records also. They will give you a C&P and if denied file for NOD.

JohnM's Wife Dianne

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A score of 25 or greater is indicative of a problem.

From: http://www.dizziness-and-balance.com/testi...earing_test.htm

Hearing loss is often described in words as follows:

Normal hearing

< 25 db HL (adults)

< 15 db HL (children)

Mild hearing loss = 25-40 db HL

Moderate hearing loss = 41-65 dB Hl

Severe hearing loss = 66-90 db HL

Profound hearing loss = 90+db HL

You may consider having a board-certified audiologist look at your service medical records and review the hearing scores, showing normal hearing going in and abnormal hearing getting out. Then looking at your military personnel records, citing your career field as the source of the problem. That person needs to say it's more likely than not, or at least as likely as not, that your hearing problem originated in the service, for you to succeed. They could also discuss what scores are considered within normal range and those that are not. Get it all in writing and send it in with an NOD.

The VA cannot dismiss a professional medical opinion without having hard medical evidence to dispute the professional's findings (Colvin v. Derwinski, 1 Vet App. 171, 175). They're merely saying the evidence is flawed for whatever reason, without offering any of their own, is against the regs. Now, does the VA do that? Sure they do, which is why whenever we seek an IMO, we include this Court decision in the cover letter, so they know that WE know about it.

Do you also suffer from ringing in your ears? That's a separate issue (tinnitus) than hearing loss. They can both occur at the same time, but one does not always accompany the other.

I handle my husband's claims, plus I help other veterans with their claims where I live. None of us have used an SO, well, in our case since he "forgot" to send in a claim, and we didn't find it out until a year and a half later. We dumped him right then and there. I know there are good ones out there, but from our personal experience, we don't trust their knowledge or work ethic, at least not the ones here. I'm not in Colorado, though.

SO's like the one you describe are not only inept, they're just plain flat-out lazy, and to steal a phrase from Ross Perot, probably couldn't hold down third shift at the Dairy Queen.

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Thank you for your replies.

Those numbers that I posted were from 34 years ago when I got discharged. Seems like my numbers the last time I was tested at a hearing aid place had me about -90. But I know it is terrible, as well as everbody that knows me.

VAF - are you from LA? I was down volunteering building houses and that is how I talked to a rep in Biloxi. He was absolutely wonderful and very supportive. He said if there is a chance that my hearing got worse in the Air Force then I have a claim. Not that I had to prove it got worse in the military but only if there was a chance it could have got worse. But I didn't live there. But I am retired, from hitech, so if I know of a place where I could go to and get competent representation I would not hesitate at all. I have spent about a year out of the last 2 in MS volunteering from the Katrina fallout.

I get ringing in my ears but it comes and goes, maybe once or twice a day. And sometimes a continual popping or cracking sound. Sounds like a flag flapping in a very strong breeze. But my hearing is the biggest issue. I attend a very large church and it is about impossible to hear.

From the sounds of it maybe I should go to a hearing place, with my medical records and have them write me a letter.

Or if you have any recommendations...

Thanks again!

Ricky

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Ricky, this is the Examination Worksheet the VA tells its examiners to use for a hearing C & P examination. Have the board-certified audiologist follow the same steps:

http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/exams/disexm15.htm

It also sounds like you've got intermittent tinnitus, whether one or both ears, that's a 10% rating right there, aside from any hearing loss problems you have.

In order for a claim to be successful, you have to do three things:

1) Prove that the medical condition currently exists.

2) Prove that the condition was incurred in service, and

3) Show a connection, a causal relationship, between the in-service occurrence and the current disability (a nexus between the two).

An effective written independent medical opinion takes care of numbers 1 and 3. Getting your records or other proof of the condition being incurred in service is critical to satisfying #2.

Thank you for helping rebuild the Gulf Coast.

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Thank you again,

VAF, I enjoyed helping out down there - the people were so hospitible.

warm, friendly people.

I have an appointment with an audiologist and will have him write a letter. I guess it is imperative they state "more likely than not."

I believe I had a C&P as when I filed a claim the VA had me go to Fort Snelling to get a hearing test. He agreed my hearing was terrible but I never got a copy of any of that. He said it would be subitted with my claim. Any easy way to get that? Is it important that I take a copy of that when I go to the hearing doctor? The last time I submitted a claim for my medical records it took about a year as they stated "they were busy." And they are right in Denver -about 50 miles away.

But I don't plan on giving up - I just want to make certain I do things in the proper way. Also, do you think I should go to 2 doctors, and get 2 hearing tests and get 2 letters? Would that be helpful?

Thanks again as always!

Ricky

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