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Hearing eval. question for increase


Riplip

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Ok I know the hearing thing has been knocked around a bunch. I have read many posts and still can't figure out my next move. I just had a hearing test yesterday at Mass Eye and Ear (the top dogs around here). All my hearing appts are done down there at the request of the VA because i've been diagnosed with bilateral Menieres. I am SC 20% for bilateral hearing loss. My test shows a word recognition of 16% in my right ear and 54% in my left ear. I have severe hearing loss in my left ear and profound in my right ear. I am going for a Cochlear Implant eval as soon as they make my appointment and then i'll schedule surgery and figure out all those other issues with healing and relearning how to hear in that ear.  My question is should i file for an increase now or wait until after surgery? The chart they gave me i really don't know how to read to put in the hearing test calculator. Thanks for any thoughts. 

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Riplip

Your more than welcome to come here and ask questions you need to know   getting rated for hearing loss is pretty difficult but once S.C. For it  then it just depends on what the hearing test #'s Show  and if VA gives you a hearing test  it would be well worth the $$ to go get a Prive test from a state license Audiologist.

   I recommend veterans see a ENT Doc that uses his own Audiologist  using the VA Hearing guidelines to include the Maryland CNC word test

and after testing  ask the Dr to compare your VA Test with his/hers.....and simply ask if your hearing is a lot worse than what the VA says?...

if it is then ask the Dr to give his medical opinion on your hearing loss just how bad is it to what degree  is it mild? is it server?  or do you show a heffty loss of hearing  which would be in the profound range....usually a 50% rating or higher...all testing is done without  your aids in.

I believe a lot of Veterans that use the VA or Rely on the VA Audiologist for hearing loss test get low balled so-to-speck  simply because the VA hearing equipment is not accurate  and therefor giving the veteran a false since of a accurate test  .

  100's of Veteran get their hearing test done at the VA Audiologist  and how can we know they have there machines tested and adjusted on a regular bases? we don't  and I don't think they know either (jmo)

besides  the VA will usually use a license ENT Dr over there own audiologist   especially if the private Dr goes into more complete details of the testing.

Good Luck to ya  and welcome to Hadit

Edited by Buck52 (see edit history)
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I'D File the ITF (Intent to File)  this gives you an extra 12 months to gather your evidence C-FILE and all Dr Reports & starts your Early Effective Date the date you apply the ITF.....> Before you actually hit that submit button/or mail in.

you should get an increase in your hearing loss, & if you can't work due to your  s.c.hearing loss  you  can request IU.

 FOR HEARING LOSS AND EYE SITE you would more than likely qualify for 100% combined rating  (jmo)

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I have a friend that has a similar hearing situation as you do. Extremely poor hearing; waited until he was 80 before I could convince him to at least try for a claim. He got a 40% rating in about 2 months. (Of course, they low-balled him figuring he would take it and be happy.) The VA Health people recommended he go for the Cochlear operation also. He got it and appealed (asked for reconsideration). Long story short, he now is rated 100%. But I strongly suggest that you try to reach out to others who have had that operation. Psychologically, I can wear you down; especially people staring and asking the same questions on what it is, etc. The very modest hearing improvement might not be worth it to you. I would expect the VA could let you know if there is a support group or something to check out.

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Yes.  File.  If you like you can calculate how much it will cost you by waiting.  It depends on your percentage, but how much can you afford to lose by waiting to file?  

Your effective date is the later of "facts found" or the date of claim.  

Its my opinion that, with a CI you should be at/near 100 percent.  They dont do CI's, unless your hearing loss is profound.  I would be very suprised if you can work, at least not without your CI.  

People underestimate how much HOH has on employment.  Does your boss want to learn sign language so he can communicate with you?   Or, does he want to write down every single thing he tells you?  Even worse is when you think you heard what he said, and respond "OK" and you missed something, so you do it wrong.  

Most bosses wont put up with that, so they just dont hire people who can not hear and "follow directions".  Are you working?

If not consider filing TDIU.  DONT WORRY about your percentages and dont listen to your VSO who tells you you dont meet the minimum percent requirements.  Instead, file for tdiu under 38 cfr 4.16 B, which is extra schedular tdiu.  

If you dont think so, how many CAVC judges are hearing impaired??  NONE.  How could they do a "hearing" if they are hard of hearing???  

Yes, I know they "have jobs for handicapped" such as deaf.  They get them to mail out kleenex boxes to people who buy from the handicapped.  But, its unlikely you can earn "substantial gainful employment" doing that, because most people dont want to pay the extra cost for handicapped Kleenex.  It just costs more.  

Edited by broncovet (see edit history)
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Thank you for the replies. I have an appt. with my DAV rep a week from today and I'll see what he has to say about why he hasn't filed for me yet. I asked him to do so in February and he said there's more to talk about in person. (He's knows I can't use the phone for conversations) After that meeting if he doesn't agree with my thoughts I'll search for another VSO and file on my own. So far I've been able to continue working since I've been with the same company for 19 years they've all kind of adapted with me but if it gets much worst who knows. GBArmy when you say "Modest improvement on hearing" does that mean the person you know said they didn't get much from a CI? The surgeon says it'll help a lot but of course he's bias. 

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At age 80  I can't see what the VA would recommend  the CI's

Anyway

as member broncovet always mentions  you need the fill the Caluza Triangle First   For Service Connection

1. Current Diagnosis..  (No diagnosis, no Service Connection.)

2. In Service Event or Aggravation.

3. Nexus (link- cause and effect- connection) or Doctor’s Statement close to: “The Veteran’s (current diagnosis) is at least as likely due to x Event in military service”

I realize you are S.C. For hearing loss and asking for increase ,I  just like to always mention the Caluza Triangle for other veterans to read this is require for any service connection conditions we claim.

As for as working your loss of Hearing claim, I recommend you do that on your own and just stick with us here on hadit

you maybe ask to go get private hearing test and compare those with the VA,  However if you use a private ENT Audiologist Make sure they go by the VA Guidelines and always use the Maryland CNC word discrimination test.

Also if you have a ringing /buss/humm sounds in your head this is known as tinnitus  you need to let the Audiologist Know this. tinnitus has a 10% rating  for both ears. it needs to be medically documented 

 JMO but I believe the VA hearing test are inaccurate due to the age of the equipment and the adjustments made over the years with 100's of Veterans being tested daily.

So just come to hadit and ask any VA claims related question you have.

and btw welcome to Hadit 

Edited by Buck52 (see edit history)
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Remember 

To be service connected  for hearing loss    you can use your MOS if you were around loud noise during your military days.

Hearing loss can occur years later after a veteran has been exposed to loud sudden noise    such as Artillery Gun fire from  incoming Rockets/Motars  IED's ect,,,ect,,and aircraft noise   this is call Noise Induced  Bilateral Hearing loss  and it's how a lot of veterans prove it was related to military service.

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Buck52 I am already SC for my hearing loss at 20% and tinnitus at 10%. I'm looking for an increase on the loss especially if I am going to need a CI which will render that ear deaf. I just didn't know if I should file now or wait until after surgery which hasn't been scheduled yet. With my current eval. last week it shows the loss should grant me more than 20% i believe but the hearing loss matrix is tough to decipher. Thanks

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Yes I understand.

unless your at a young age I am against the CI'S  that is a dangerous procedure. but that's totally your decision.

if your service connected for hearing loss and higher rating given and you elect to have the CI's that should not effect your rating  only make it more solid that you do have a hearing problem   even if the CI lets you hear better. actually that may be a 100% final rating   they are not suppose to use any surgical or hearing aids as reason for reduction.

as for as increase  I would go to a Private state license clinic that uses their own Audiologist and ask the ENT Dr to opine on  test findings..ask his/her to compare his test with yours and ask his opinion if your hearing is actually worse than what the VA says... they can use VA lingo such as  

It is within my medical opinion as a  (give credentials) that it is likely  this Veterans hearing from my examination is more profound  that that of his last test done at the VAMC ,And the Dr can write in his opinion, you also can submit about 6 individual  notarized letters from family and friends that have known you for years  that they notice you have a very hard time hearing and understanding what is said and they notice your frustration. ect,,ect,,, and of course a statment from you.

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Please Note:

Having CI's place as  in a surgical procedure there is no guarantees this procedure will work and it is quite intense surgery.

Again this is certainly your choice.

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I totally understand and appreciate the concern with CI's. I've been trying as much as possible to stay away from surgery. I am 40 years old with 2 young children and I just keep missing things and I don't want to lose anymore. The VA can not do anymore with a hearing aid on my right ear so they sent me to Mass Eye and Ear for the CI talk with a specialist. Of course he thinks i would benefit from one but just like you said there's no guarantee. With my so called good ear declining as well i need to have some type of hearing going on.  

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Riplip:

What I meant about the CI for my friend is that his hearing improved after the operation, but his hearing was so far gone that he still misses most of anything said. Forget about going to a meeting or a gathering with a bunch of people talking. If you are not in an area that is relatively quite, he can't hear you even while looking face to face. I know it gets him down because he doesn't participate in things like he used to. Of course, all people are different and situations are different, but there is plenty of evidence that proves that hearing loss can also cause depression. If the veteran develops it because of s-c hearing disability, a good IMO can get it secondary.

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They are lot of us veterans  here on hadit service connected and rated for hearing loss. Including my self

  if your at a profound and severer hearing loss   you should file for TDIU P&T its obvious your hearing will not get better  even with the CI's  Maybe some what better but unfortunately noting like your natural Hearing.

Filing for IU is filing for increase  if your rated below the 100% and any other condition you may have.

  I'd file for them also including any secondary conditions..with IU and another separate S.C. Condition rated at 60% or higher this could very open the doors for SMC (Special monthly Compensation) added to your IU OR 100% PAYMENT.

  So in essence  this will help financially to take your children to the parks and amusement parks  State Fairs even fishing and swimming and things children love to do.

These things takes $$ and every little bit helps .

but you are correct  there's nothing any better as to being able to hear your children's voices and live a better way of life.

Edited by Buck52 (see edit history)
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I can't file IU since I am currently working correct? I am not at 100%. I hear ya on every little bit helps. I have a decent job but thats because i've been here so long. If i lost this job I wouldn't be able to get anything close to it not being able to hear the way i do. The system is confusing to me and hopefully the DAV rep can help out some. If not i just talked to a veteran the other day that said he has a great VSO that goes above and beyond so I may have to meet that person as well. I think the stress and anxiety is just as bad as the hearing loss sometimes. I will do more research to better understand my options. You been a lot of help i appreciate your time Buck52. I'm sure i'll have more questions but what I do know is everything takes forever so i have time lol.

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No you can't be working  when you file IU.

   if you ever get to where you can't work  due to your S.C. Disability then this is what IU is for...as long as your able to work  yes I recommend  to keep on working,.

Your more than likely to make twice as much as you could being on IU  but now some IU veterans can work    but that's another CRF Regulation and requires  a lot of research on the part of Code of Federal Regulation  ect,,,ect,,, understanding them   what sheltered income is and your only allowed to make a certain amount of income ect,,,,ect,,

Be careful using the DAV  or any VSO   make sure they know what their doing .

 you can always come to hadit  Hadit helped me over 20 years ago  I am a  combat Vietnam Veteran  and needed a lot of help back when  I filed for my first claims without a VSO.(1998)...

Just some wonderful Hadit members   which some are no loger with us. Unfortunately.

Hadit and its wonderful intelligent members are better to ask questions and lead you on the right path than any VSO I Know.

but if you can find a good VSO that has a good reputation with Veterans claims  nothing wrong with going with them.

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Thats what i thought. I can work and want to work. People say i work too much but whatever. I understand on the DAV and VSO thing. I'm just starting to try and decipher everything myself because the last DAV person put me behind quite a bit. This one helped me some. I feel i got low-balled on my hearing eval. and he didn't tell me i should put in for stress, anxiety to go along with that and those are pretty rugged issues i've been trying to push through. The vestibular issue and hearing loss really wear me down since its a constant battle every waking minute. Pretty much the only time i'm at peace is when i'm sleeping but sometimes that hard because I can't hear at all when i take my aids out. I have a difficult time sleeping without having concerns of not hearing something in case of an emergency. Weird stuff anyways, sorry for the long winded reply kind of off subject. I will feel the DAV guy out on the 22nd appt. and see if he's really there to help or just get a pay check. Thank you

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Thank you. I have the audiology results from my test last week at Mass Eye and Ear. They have the best equip. around. 

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Buck

That is great advise if you think you got low-balled. An increase of just an addition 10%( ex. 10% to 20% )would easily pay for itself in just one or two monthly disability checks. If you tell the ENT doc what you are trying to do beforehand, he shouldn't have a problem in doing a dbq for you if his test shows worse hearing. When you say have the ENT doc give his opinion, do you mean an IMO letter or just a dbq for hearing. If it is for an IMO, I would love to see a redacted opinion.

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Usually give his opinion  ( some Dr's are reluctantly to fill out a DBQ ).

So as long as the Dr words it  as in his professional opinion and things like test numbers show a certain amount of hearing loss  from his last test giving by the VA  ''It is in my pro opinion &  from my Audiologist   that is registered and license to perform hearing test  and followed the Hearing testing set forth by the VA,  his hearing loss is much worse than the VA Records show And show  the chart from the test . ect,,ect,,, D'r's know how to write up a good opinion..and yes let them know ahead  that you are trying to get S.C. and rated with the VA.

Most Dr's Will do this.

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Its worth a try. I have no idea when I am going to see this doctor again. I need to get my audiology reports from the VA and I can compare them. I am waiting for the Mass Eye and Ear people to call me back for the CI implant eval. I think that is the next time I see them. Its really a pain that its 2 hours away sometimes more with traffic and I lose a whole day of work every appt. This hospital is the best on the east coast and appts are usually a couple months out so we'll see. If I have both reports and they are very different then I'll need him to see them first hand a make a report. Regardless after a CI the right side will be deaf without the unit on. Not looking forward to that. Thanks

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