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Left ear Hearing Loss 0% SC (I asked for increase) - Tinnitus 10%


DonaldANG

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I originally filed a claim for bilateral hearing loss for both my left and right ear, but 2 years ago was only awarded Service Connection for my Left Ear, but only at 0%. The VA said that it was at 0% due to my Right Ear being at normal hearing at the time of my hearing test. But I just now filed a claim for an increase in my Left Ear hearing loss. I went for another C&P hearing exam. I told the Hearing Doctor that now my Right Ear was getting bad too and could she test me for hearing loss in my right ear this time. When the test was all over she told me that I did have some Right Ear hearing loss this time, but it was no where near as bad as my Left Ear. So I left there thinking I would be awarded something for my Right Ear now that the Hearing Test showed Right Ear hearing loss. But on Ebenefits it still shows Not Service Connected. How can you have your left ear service connected for hearing loss and not your right ear, if you were exposed to an explosion? It doesn't make any sense. That was the whole reason they service connected my Left Ear to begin with. Now that the hearing exam shows hearing loss in my Right Ear, the VA gives the excuse that my Right Ear hearing loss isn't Service Connected, because whenever they originally tested my Ears 2 years ago for my original claim the hearing exam didn't show any Right Ear hearing loss. But everyone knows that Hearing Loss can occur many years after the fact. My Dad served in Vietnam and was exposed to explosions on a daily basis, but he didn't show any immediate signs of hearing loss for decades. It wasn't until the last few years that we've noticed his hearing getting worse, and so now he filed a VA claim and was awarded for Hearing Loss and that was from back in 1969. So Hearing Loss doesn't have to happen overnight. Just because I didn't have it 2 years ago, but I now do, doesn't mean it isn't being caused from the same explosions from whenever I was in the service and what caused my Left Ear hearing loss. Has anyone else been through anything like this before? Any suggestions as to what I might be able to do to help? Thanks.

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2 hours ago, DonaldANG said:

Just because I didn't have it 2 years ago, but I now do, doesn't mean it isn't being caused from the same explosions from whenever I was in the service and what caused my Left Ear hearing loss.

This is a argument that is going to require an independent medical opinion. For years the VA told me my hearing loss was not serious enough to be rated and that if it were it was not service connected ( 1986-2005)  in 2005, a VA audiologist wrote a statement that my hearing loss was more likely than not caused during my military service. I was service connected at 0%, and given hearing aids, along with 10% for tinnitus.  I have fought for years to get a compensable rating. My right ear is really bad , but the va says because the hearing in my left ear is still to good for a compensatable rating even giving special rules concerning the low levels in my right ear and  I was again recently denied for a compensable rating. I find it ironic that anyone can have hearing so bad that the VA will purchase $5000 hearing aids and TV audio accessories every 5 years but the hearing loss is not compensable.   A compensable rating for  hearing loss is almost impossible to get unless you are close to or totally deaf.  At my age, I have given up on ever being rated fairly for my hearing loss.

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Hearing loss is tough and yes you pretty much need to be deaf for the VA to recognize. I'm 70% bilateral for hearing loss. Without my custom hearing aids in I am useless when it comes to communicating. With that being said everyone who has answered is correct. You might need to use an independent audiologist that follows the same guidelines to get any type of higher rating. Even if you can get them to SC the right ear it'll be worth it in the long run. It sure is a battle but it it is one you can win if you stay in the fight. Don't get discouraged and give up because that's what they want. Good luck and I'm sure whatever help you need can be found here.

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Even though you may meet the criterial and qualifications for a VA service connection disability you may not be able to receive an important formal doctors nexus opinion or DBQ stating your disability is due to your service or another service connected condition because some doctors and their staffs are lazy, indifferent or hostile to vets receiving VA money.

Here is what has worked for me since 1987 to present day.  I have submitted copies of VA, Army, private medical records and other evidence with my numerous claims and appeals with almost 100 percent success and won those claims/appeals without a doctors nexus statement with only one recent exception where the paid for opinion was also successful.  I have been 100% P&T since 98 and now also with SMC-S.  

IF you contact me I can send you a detailed list of the medical and other evidence that has won my claims and appeals.  What has worked for me is no guarantee it will work for you.

It is a disservice IMHO for anyone to discourage a vet from filing a disability claim just because they cannot get some chicken*** doctor to fill out a DBQ or sign a nexus statement as the vet may still have the other medical and non medical evidence in their files or possession to win. 

I encourage vets to seek opinions of others and do their own research as I have done.

Some vets like to brag about their receiving a VA or private doctors nexus opinion free of charge or it was paid for by their insurance or others and I congratulate them on their good fortune.  I have learned and worked the hard way for my benefits and proud of it.

I learned many years ago to in my case to correctly assume the VARO will deny my claim with a BS statement like "NO EVIDENCE" and then I have to appeal to the BVA or higher U.S. CAVC court which I have done on my own successfully.  This has created jealously on part of some other vets.  Too Bad they can still get happy.

My comment is not legal advice as I am not a lawyer, paralegal or VSO representative.

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On 2/19/2020 at 10:11 PM, DonaldANG said:

I originally filed a claim for bilateral hearing loss for both my left and right ear, but 2 years ago was only awarded Service Connection for my Left Ear, but only at 0%. The VA said that it was at 0% due to my Right Ear being at normal hearing at the time of my hearing test. But I just now filed a claim for an increase in my Left Ear hearing loss. I went for another C&P hearing exam. I told the Hearing Doctor that now my Right Ear was getting bad too and could she test me for hearing loss in my right ear this time. When the test was all over she told me that I did have some Right Ear hearing loss this time, but it was no where near as bad as my Left Ear. So I left there thinking I would be awarded something for my Right Ear now that the Hearing Test showed Right Ear hearing loss. But on Ebenefits it still shows Not Service Connected. How can you have your left ear service connected for hearing loss and not your right ear, if you were exposed to an explosion? It doesn't make any sense. That was the whole reason they service connected my Left Ear to begin with. Now that the hearing exam shows hearing loss in my Right Ear, the VA gives the excuse that my Right Ear hearing loss isn't Service Connected, because whenever they originally tested my Ears 2 years ago for my original claim the hearing exam didn't show any Right Ear hearing loss. But everyone knows that Hearing Loss can occur many years after the fact. My Dad served in Vietnam and was exposed to explosions on a daily basis, but he didn't show any immediate signs of hearing loss for decades. It wasn't until the last few years that we've noticed his hearing getting worse, and so now he filed a VA claim and was awarded for Hearing Loss and that was from back in 1969. So Hearing Loss doesn't have to happen overnight. Just because I didn't have it 2 years ago, but I now do, doesn't mean it isn't being caused from the same explosions from whenever I was in the service and what caused my Left Ear hearing loss. Has anyone else been through anything like this before? Any suggestions as to what I might be able to do to help? Thanks.

The best advise is to seek outside counsel that works on a contingency basis...........have him make an appointment outside the VA system and hopefully demonstrate that you have a bilateral condition.   A 0% rating is the 1st step, even a 0% grants to you the evidence of a service connection and its a proven fact that a hearing loss caused by nerve damage to the point that tinnitus is evidenced that condition will never heal itself.......it can only become worse as you age.   How does the VA doctor know that your right ear is not a result of service connection when the left ear offers evidence of a service connection?  He/She does not.....its just an opinion that can be legally challenged. 

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You posted:

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But on Ebenefits it still shows Not Service Connected. 

I dont recommend "doing anything" based solely upon an unreliable, not up to date ebenefits.  Instead, wait for the envelope.  

Further, "even if it is, indeed, officially denied", an IMO may or may not be needed.  "If" you read your file and your audiologist opined "one ear is noise induced and related to service, but the other is not", then you need an IMO to rebut this preposterous idea, probably originating not in the audiologist but rather a rating specialist.  

I agree its "preposterous" that one ear is service connected while the other is not, "except" in a special circumstance where a bomb blew off near one ear, damaging it.  Mostly, what affects the right ear also affects the left.  

Again, I cant recommend spending the money on an IMO unless you read your audiologist report and its unfavorable for a nexus to hearing loss for one ear.  

VA does have a "minimum" hearing loss (Maryland CNC decibel loss) to even get a zero percent rating.  I dont know if you meet that criteria for both ears or not.  

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Once you receive your decision letter, read carefully. It is possible that you did receive a 0% rating for your right ear. A 0% rating, even in just one ear gets you free hearing aides, and since it is s-c, you can go for an increase if it gets worse later in life. If your right ear is just marginal for hearing loss, since hearing loss is based on AN AVERAGE of both your ears, it also is quite possible that your average won't get worse on their scale.. I understand you wanting to get it s-c for both, but it isn't the worse thing that could happen to you. If you want to appeal, you will have to get an IMO to argue for you as you aren't a doctor or audiologist IMHO.  Lastly you didn't mention if you filed for tinnitus along with the hearing loss. If you have tinnitus, file immediately as the diagnostic code for hearing may change very soon. Currently, it is a separate 10% disability. The new changes, if implemented, will drop that and have it as a symptom of another disability such as Mineres Disease.

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