How Does The VA Rate Hearing Loss?

How Does The VA Rate Hearing Loss?

As of 2020, more than 1.3 million U.S. Veterans are receiving VA disability for hearing loss, and more than 2.3 million have received VA disability for tinnitus.

If you are a veteran who suffers from hearing loss or ringing in the ear (Tinnitus) you may be eligible for compensation. 

How to Establish Service Connection for Hearing Loss?

Most hearing loss in the military is due to noise exposure – often from gunfire, aircraft, tanks, heavy equipment, and roadside bombs. Normal age-related hearing loss can make the problem worse.

To receive VA disability benefits it must been proven to the VA that the hearing loss is the result of time in service.

For a direct service connection, the following three things must be established:

  1. A current diagnosis
  2. An in-service event that may have caused or contributed to hearing loss
  3. A medical opinion linking the in-service event and hearing loss.

Current Diagnosis

The first step to getting VA disability for hearing loss is showing that there is a current diagnosis.  The VA is strict about the type of diagnosis it will accept when it comes to hearing loss. In general, hearing loss is usually diagnosed when certain decibels are lost at different frequencies of hearing.

For VA purposes, a veteran must undergo a hearing exam by a licensed audiologist. The audiologist must administer two tests for the VA to accept a diagnosis of hearing loss:

  • Maryland CNC Test: This test is a speech discrimination test that determines a veteran’s ability to understand words due to hearing loss. The tester will say various words in a controlled environment and the veterans have to repeat them back. The results of this test are percentages which are then used to rate the condition.
  • Puretone Audiometric Test: This test measures the loudness (decibels) and pitches (frequencies) in which a veteran can hear a sound. It determines the level of hearing loss by measuring the faintest tones someone can pick up on.

In-Service Event

The second part of establishing direct service connection involves submitting evidence on an in-service event that may have caused or contributed to hearing loss. Common in-service events include combat service, exposure to artillery fire and small arms fire, and certain military occupational specialties that involve mechanical work on vehicles, aircrafts, etc.

VA Ratings For Hearing Loss

Once the VA has the test results from the Maryland CNC test and puretone audiometric test, a Roman numeral gets assigned to each ear, These Roman numerals are a tool used to keep the rating system organized.

If both tests have been performed then the following table is used to determine the Roman numerals. The results of the puretone test run across the top of the table and the results for the speech test run down the left side of the table.

Puretone Threshold Average à

% of Speech Discrimination

0-4142-4950-5758-6566-7374-8182-8990-9798+
92-100%IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIV
84-90%IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVIVIV
76-82%IIIIIIIVIVIVVVVV
68-74%IVIVVVVIVIVIIIVIIIVIII
60-66%VVVIVIVIIVIIVIIIVIIIVIII
52-58%VIVIVIIVIIVIIIVIIIVIIIVIIIIX
44-50%VIIVIIVIIIVIIIVIIIIXIXIXX
36-42%VIIIVIIIVIIIIXIXIXXXX
0-34%IXXXIXIXIXIXIXIXI

Once a Roman numeral is assigned to each ear a rating is assigned using the below table. The Roman numeral on the left side is for the each that hears best (with a smaller roman numeral). The Roman numeral for the each that hears worst (with a bigger Roman numeral) is across the top of the table.

Worst Ear à

Best Ear

IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXI
I0%0%0%0%0%0%0%0%0%10%10%
II 0%0%0%10%10%10%10%10%10%10%
III  0%10%10%10%20%20%20%20%20%
IV   10%10%20%20%20%30%30%30%
V    20%20%30%30%40%40%40%
VI     30%30%40%40%50%50%
VII      40%40%50%60%60%
VIII       50%50%60%70%
IX        60%70%80%
X         80%90%
XI          100%
 
 
Hearing Loss In Veterans

 

 

 

How Can I File A Claim?

Veterans Help Group has been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, and suffer from hearing loss, we are here to help. Call Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or contact us here now.

 

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