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Old Claim Denied - What Can I Do?

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I was discharged from the USMC honorably in 1987 at the age of 20 (a week shy of 21). My occupation in the USMC was an Avionics Technician on helicopters so I was constantly working on aircraft while out on the flight line with the engines running. I also always wore the proper hearing protection provided by the USMC at the time.

During the year prior to discharge I started failing hearing tests at certain higher frequencies. To the point that the doctors removed me from working on the flight line for a few months to see if there was an improvement to which there was a slight improvement but not enough for the doctor. He even mentioned the possibility of a discharge but at that time I was within 3 months of getting out so told him there was no need. He insisted that I make sure as soon as I get back to my home town that I go and register with the VA to make sure I get a claim in for my hearing loss even if it is 0% because I my need the VA's help with earring when I get older. I did as he insisted within weeks of discharge.

It didn't take long and I received a rejection notice from the VA. The VA claimed that my hearing loss was due to listening to loud music prior to entering service. So I ordered a copy of my medical records (which came on microfiche) and made copies of the specific pages of my record showing my hearing test were perfect scores upon entering service and failing prior to discharge. Not to mention medical visits specifically for hearing issues while I was active duty. I wrote this up and sent in to which they denied again. They also stated that I could appeal with an attorney and had one year to do so, otherwise I would not be able to make this claim again without additional evidence.

I was 21 and soon after I accepted a great job and a few months later traveled overseas for work. With all the moving around the US and then overseas, this VA claim was the last thing on my mind so nothing ever happened.

Fast forward to now, 2012 which is 25 years later and I still deal with this hearing loss and ringing in my ears. I am gone many years of misunderstanding what my family members say due to brain misinterpreting some of the words that I can not hear well and especially from the female members of my family (it never goes over well to seem like you are ignoring your wife :) )

I had been thinking about trying to contact the VA about this issue and see if they will turn it around. I am not looking for the money so much as I am looking for their acknowledgement of the issue officially so it will be documented and they will take care of future doctor issues for my hearing or hearing aids, etc.

What can I do. We are in a kinder, more politically correct America, is there a chance I can get the VA to pay attention even though I don't have any new evidence that I am aware of?

Your thoughts / help is appreciated.


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  • HadIt.com Elder

JimE - these are my suggestions, for now. First, prior to filing a claim for hearing loss, I suggest you get a copy of your claims file (aka: c-file). Once you have it, review the file and see what they have as evidence and if any service medical records (SMR's) are missing, I suggest securing those for your claim. Once that's done I'd file a CUE claim, which is the only way to get them to use the earlier effective date (EED) of your original claim.

For VA compensation the hearing loss must be quite profound. You shouldn't have much trouble receiving 10% comp for tinnitis(sp), the ringing in you ears. Remember, the VA accepted you as you were, so you can win. Never, never, never, ever, ever, ever, give up, no matter how long it may take. jmo


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Do you have documentation of this”

“To the point that the doctors removed me from working on the flight line for a few months to see if there was an improvement to which there was a slight improvement but not “

It might even be noted in your 201 personnel file.

Something seems 'off' here- VA made some odd statements in the 1980s -then again they still do sometimes.

“The VA claimed that my hearing loss was due to listening to loud music prior to entering service.” That's a good one. But I have seen that before.

Unless you played with a loud rock band,prior to service, and VA somehow knew it,

how the heck could VA make a statement like that?

Can you scan and attach here (Cover the personal stuff) the Reasons and Basis part and Evidence list on the older denial letter?

Was any hearing loss noted on your discharge certificate?

It (the older decision) might contain a CUE or, if you re-open the claim and it is awarded, that could also help support a potential CUE claim on the past denied decision. But that would depend on hearing loss at a ratable level when you were discharged,supported by medical evidence at the time, that the VA had when preparing the older decision.

I suggest you re-open the claim and I also suggest that you make sure you send them some new and material evidence ,maybe just a hearing test report from Miracle ear.

Or better yet an IMO from a real audiologist who is independent of the VA.

You might have HL , at a ratable level now but do you have proof that,in the past 25 years, you have had it continuously since service?

And have not had any post service occupation that also could have given you acoustical trauma?

I know during Vietnam the gov didn't provide any preventive acoustical gear.

If you were never issued any gear like that during your service, this is a point to bring up.

You will definitely need new and material evidence to have the VA re-open this claim.Maybe even statements from the family would be enough.

Personally I would get an audio test done,independent of VA and if you consider an IMO the IMO doctor could make a nexus statement with a through review of your SMRs,and audio test results - that VA might not be able to go against.

The C file might reveal more info to help support this claim.

Have you seen any private doctors since leaving the Mil, for this problem?

GRADUATE ! Nov 2nd 2007 American Military University !

When thousands of Americans faced annihilation in the 1800s Chief

Osceola's response to his people, the Seminoles, was

simply "They(the US Army)have guns, but so do we."

Sameo to us -They (VA) have 38 CFR ,38 USC, and M21-1- but so do we.

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Berta and Philip,

Thank you both for your responses. I have an old microfiche copy of my service records and today found a machine to start making copies. Hopefully will finish tomorrow.

I do not know if I still have the responses from the VA from back in 1987. I suspect I do not but I will look through old papers and see if I can find anything. If I can not find them, do you know if it is possible to get copies of them from the VA (the denial letters)?

Their claim doesn't and never did make sense because the fact that my hearing was perfect upon entering the service eliminates any possible issues of music or other causes prior to entering the service.

I'll find out more once I review my service records and see if I can find my VA denial letters?

More to follow....

Thanks again,


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