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ArmyVet97B

How Is Tinnitus Tested By The Va For Compensation Purposes?

Question

I am trying to understand how I will be tested for tinnitus by the VA. I have a pending compensation claim for hearing loss and tinnitus (and a couple other things) that is in stage 5 (preparation for decision). I am now awaiting a C&P exam (I believe). I am already S/C for shoulder and lower back (20% total). How is tinnitus tested by the VA to receive the 10% rating? I served in OEF and have a Combat Action Badge (all on my DD214). I have hearing loss, but what happens if I pass as “normal” for hearing loss. I have occasional ringing in both ears from OEF (artillery/heavy machine guns/IED’s), and it has gotten worse over time. My tinnitus came later after I had separated from the US Army. I am trying to understand how I am tested for tinnitus to received the 10%, even if I get 0% for hearing loss (which I have heard is very difficult to get above 0% for hearing loss). With my claim I submitted my civilian primary care physician’s professional opinion that I could definitely have/probably do have hearing loss and tinnitus from combat. I have read/heard differing opinions, and I am just trying to find a straight answer to how tinnitus is tested for by the VA (since I see that some vets get 0% for hearing loss, but 10% for tinnitus). And what are my chances of getting the 10% for tinnitus even if I get 0% for hearing loss? Great, good, not good, etc? Please help. Thank you.

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Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective and objective. In subjective tinnitus, only the sufferer will hear the ringing in their own ears. In objective tinnitus, the sound can be heard by a doctor who is examining the ear canals. Objective tinnitus is extremely rare, while subjective tinnitus is by far the most common form of the disorder.

The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.

...................Buck

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you need to let your C & P examiner or Audiologist Know you have constant sounds inside your head (''in my ears you think'') and it drives you crazy you( need this documented.)

I would not say it comes and goes...say its constant. tinnitus is constant & sometimes its masked by certain everyday sounds and you don't realize your hearing it.

.......................Buck

Edited by Buck52
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So it seems from the replies so far, as long as I describe that I hear the ringing in my ears quite often and that it definitely affects my life, which it does and it has, I should at least receive the 10% for tinnitus, since the determination is subjective and that the tinnitus is from my combat in OEF and that I have a combat action badge on my dd214 as proof?

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I know for mine, I had hearing tests which showed hearing loss, for which I was rated 0%. However, on the tinnitus, a lot of depended on the ringing/white noise that I was able to describe and the frequency during the examination. A key also is if you were in an MOS/AFSC, etc. that would subject you to extreme noise, such as a firing ranges, aircraft flightlines, engine rooms, etc.

I don't think that they performed any particular "test" on me for tinnitus, but through the totality of the hearing tests, my interview and my career field, and the frequency of and resulting effects of the tinnitus, were what the VA used to justify my 10% rating for this condition.

Mark

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ArmyVet,

Look up FAST LETTER 10-35, it has all MOS/Career Fields that were/ may have been exposed to noise. there are three stages-severe, moderate and non existant (or something along those lines). If your MOS was in the severe to moderate range this letter will add weight to your claim but, depending on your examiner, is not a slam dunk win. Take a copy of the Fast Letter to your C&P exam and show the examiner your MOS in the table have them make copies and add it to your file and maybe even submit a copy yourself to ensure it gets into your C-file. As mentioned above tell the examiner how the tinnitus affects you daily whether its during the day or even at night.

Good Luck

Scotter

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    • Thanks for that. So do you have a specific answer or experience with it bouncing between the two?
    • Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective and objective. In subjective tinnitus, only the sufferer will hear the ringing in their own ears. In objective tinnitus, the sound can be heard by a doctor who is examining the ear canals. Objective tinnitus is extremely rare, while subjective tinnitus is by far the most common form of the disorder.

      The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.

      ...................Buck
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