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A Tinnitus Claim Granted


carlie

Question

Read all the way to the bottom.

Citation Nr: 0604792

Decision Date: 02/21/06 Archive Date: 02/28/06

DOCKET NO. 03-06 283 ) DATE

)

)

On appeal from the

Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in St.

Petersburg, Florida

THE ISSUE

Entitlement to service connection for tinnitus.

REPRESENTATION

Appellant represented by: Veterans of Foreign Wars of

the United States

WITNESS AT HEARING ON APPEAL

Appellant

ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD

A. D. Jackson, Counsel

INTRODUCTION

The veteran served on active duty from May 1989 to May 1998.

This matter comes before the Board of Veterans' Appeals

(Board) from an August 2000 rating decision by the Department

of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in St.

Petersburg, Florida, which denied service connection for

bilateral hearing loss and tinnitus.

The veteran noted her disagreement in August 2001 and a

statement of the case (SOC) was issued in December 2002.

However, in the VA Form 9 received in January 2003, the

veteran only appealed the issue regarding service connection

for tinnitus. Therefore, the Board will review only the

issue listed on the title page.

A personal hearing was held before the undersigned Veterans

Law Judge (VLJ) in June 2005.

FINDING OF FACT

The veteran's bilateral tinnitus is due to acoustic trauma in

service.

CONCLUSION OF LAW

Tinnitus was incurred in active military service.

38 U.S.C.A. §§ 1110, 1131, 1154(b), 5107(b) (West 2002);

38 C.F.R. § 3.303 (2005).

REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION

Because this decision effects a complete grant of the benefit

sought on appeal, appellate review of this claim may be

conducted without prejudice to the veteran, Bernard v. Brown,

4 Vet. App. 384 (1993), and it is unnecessary to analyze VA's

development of the claim. See 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.156(a),

3.159 and 3.326.

Criteria and analysis

In general, service connection may be granted for disability

resulting from disease or injury incurred in or aggravated by

active military service. 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 1110, 1131.

In order to establish service connection for the claimed

disorder, there must be (1) medical evidence of a current

disability; (2) medical, or in certain circumstances, lay

evidence of in-service incurrence or aggravation of a disease

or injury; and (3) medical evidence of a nexus between the

claimed in-service disease or injury and the current

disability. See Hickson v. West, 12 Vet. App. 247, 253

(1999). The determination as to whether these requirements

are met is based on an analysis of all the evidence of record

and the evaluation of its credibility and probative value.

Baldwin v. West, 13 Vet. App. 1, 8 (1999).

The veteran's statements describing the symptoms of her

tinnitus are deemed competent evidence. Espiritu v.

Derwinski, 2 Vet. App. 492 (1992). However, these statements

must be considered with the clinical evidence of record and

in conjunction with the pertinent regulations.

The veteran's service medical records do not show any

complaints, findings or diagnoses regarding tinnitus.

In written statements, as well as in testimony given at a

June 2005 hearing before the undersigned VLJ, the veteran

reported that her duties included being exposed to airplane

engine noise. Further, the veteran's service medical records

indicate that she was routinely exposed to hazardous noise.

The Board finds that this veteran's statements and testimony

in regard to her noise exposure are credible and consistent

with her military service. Further, the veteran has reported

continuity of tinnitus since service discharge.

In August 2005 a private audiologist noted that the veteran

reported a history of tinnitus since 1991. The audiologist

stated that her tinnitus is "a[t] least as likely as not"

caused by noise exposure from her military experience.

Taking into consideration the veteran's inservice history,

the audiologist's opinion as to causation, and the veteran's

statements to the effect that she had tinnitus thereafter,

the Board concludes that the preponderance of the evidence

regarding tinnitus warrants service connection.

ORDER

Service connection for tinnitus is granted.

____________________________________________

J. E. DAY

Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans' Appeals

Jonathan E Day Did my BVA Hearing at St. Pete VARO and I've been looking for anything I could find about him ! ! carlie

Edited by carlie (see edit history)
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