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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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Navyguy2013

NOD concerning tinnitus

Question

I have a NOD pending with the VA. One of the disabilities in this NOD is tinnitus. While still on active duty, I was diagnosed with occasional tinnitus.  While in the Navy I worked around Aircraft, on flight decks and over 4 years of time serving on ships underway. I was in the hearing conservation program with medical because of working in noise intense areas. After retiring in 2013, I have not seen a doctor for treatment for tinnitus or hearing loss as I now work in a quite environment, and there is no real treatment for tinnitus. I still have the tinnitus. Should I been seen by a doctor to document (for the VA claim) treatment and my continued problems with tinnitus?   

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I would say not necessarily, but for health sake yes.  If it is becoming a problem sure follow through on getting it checked out. Just curious what was your (MOS) Navy job specialty code?  

You should have a good chance if your specialty exposed you to high noise without a nexus, I don't understand why tinnitus is denied so much by the VA claim system.  It is kind of a no brainer, but that is the VA for you.  In my claim I didn't need to get one, the C&P doc made the nexus.  

What was the basis for denial? Did you get any results back from the NOD?  Or has it been recent?

Tinnitus tops out at 10% but you can be rated for hearing loss as well if your loss is significant and had been documented. You have to look at the rating criteria on the eCFR, depends on frequency and shift.

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According to the VA, my NOD was due to not showing up for my C&P exam. I was never notified of my exam. In fact I kept contacting the VA as to when my exam was going to occur. The VA said over and over I would be contacted as to my exam. Then I get a nice big packet in the mail from the VA, I open it only to find out I had been denied on every claim, because I had not shown up to my exam. That is how I got to my NOD. I filed my NOD on 3/17/2015, still no update to my NOD…  

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NEC of 8378, 8376. Rate was AT, the listing in the "Duty NOS Noise Exposure Listing"  shows my rating as "Moderate", yet my job was under turning rotor blades and jet engines.   

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Okay. So this is how it plays out. You file the NOD and demand a new C&P for tinnitus. Your tinnitus must be constant-not occasional. If you have it cited in service as mentioned above, then it is service connected. If you have a VSO, why not ask him why he didn't call you to remind you of the appointment(s)?  They get the same notifier as you. If, and only if your tinnitus is "recurrent" will you be granted SC for it. If it is only occasional and resolves for a period of time, you'll get the goose egg. Max is 10% bilaterally. Although I did see a DAV claims specialist try to argue for 10% for each ear all the way to BVA last year. I guess the 1990 email on that FAST letter never made it. By all means get a doctor to give you a report on the current status (occasional vs recurrent) and a letter that says "It is my opinion the tinnitus Mr. NG2013 suffers from now was from his exposure to a loud working environment while in the service. Mr NG reports occasional tinnitus in service which has gradually become near continuous and recurrent now. Given his age and only risk factor for damaging sounds was in a military environment less than several years ago, his tinnitus can only be ascribed to his work environment." Attach the medrecs as Exhibit A and the doctor's IMO as Exhibit B and send it to Janesville with a green card. You'll have a 10% rating in about six months.

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I never was notified about an exam. I was told by several other people that had recently retired the same thing happened to them. More VA math: No notification of an exam equals claims denied equals more time passed equals more claims denied equals VA saving time and money.

While on active duty, what I was trying to tell the doctor was my tinnitus was always present, just the intensity occasionally got worse. They only recorded the “occasionally” part. Looks like I need to find an audiologist or ENT that is willing to provide a report with the information you outlined. Thanks for the feedback!

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