Hearing problems plague a number of veterans who worked in regular hearing hazard occupations and unexpected combat situations. Unfortunately, noticing your hearing problem may not happen until someone points out your inability to hear properly, which may be an issue when trying to claim time-sensitive Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation benefits. As you think about what to do next, consider a few things that the VA and a hearing specialist can do to help you through the claims process and after.
Claim Requirements Can Be Difficult To Match
In order to qualify for VA disability benefits, you must prove that your hearing problems are service-connected. This means that the hearing loss must have been caused by military service or became significantly worse during military service--two distinctions that can be difficult to prove.
To prove that your hearing loss was caused by military service, you must provide evidence that shows the event or series of events that caused damage to your hearing. Certain job specialties such as ship engineering workers, welders, mortal specialists or aircraft mechanics may have a well-known and regularly accepted series of hearing risks, but other jobs may have to work harder to develop proof.
The second option involves claiming hearing loss that is significantly worse than when you joined the military. The hearing loss may be obvious in hearing tests, but lacking medically documented proof about how the hearing loss occurred.
Injuries and conditions that have no clear cause are called presumptive injuries (explained further in this PDF file from the VA). Such claims are time-sensitive, as the longer you wait after military service to make a claim, the less your hearing loss may seem military related. Veterans seeking disability benefits for injuries that seem to have occurred after military service have a high chance of denial, but may qualify for other VA benefits.
Presumptive injuries are not necessarily a bad thing in terms of VA claim success. It simply means that you don't have direct evidence in writing about the cause of the injury, and may need independent examination. This is where a hearing specialist can help.
Hearing Specialist Assistance Can Help Prove Your Case
Consult an independent hearing specialist in order to receive specialized tests, hearing aid suggestions and support. Since the VA system is often bogged down with a large backlog of claimants and regular visits, you'll need the civilian specialist's help to spend as much time as possible on your hearing examination.
The hearing specialist can work with you to build a hearing status report that outlines the severity of your hearing loss and your need for VA compensation and support. If the claim is ultimately accepted, the VA can also refer you to your chosen hearing specialist for the hearing devices and therapy you need.
Get in contact with a hearing specialist like Hearing Solutions Audiology Center to begin planning your road to compensation and recovery.