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Q169:  I’ve had tinnitus for many years.  I served in USAF from 1964 – 1968, and I served in Vietnam.  As a radio communications specialist I worked around noisy aircraft day and night.  I think the aircraft noise affected my hearing.  What do I have to do to get approved for tinnitus by the VA?  My VA primary care physician doesn't seem to take me seriously about my tinnitus.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  

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A1:  Talk to the nearest DAV (disabled American veterans) consolar.  (AA)  10/28/18


A2:  Really, tinnitus is one of the easiest disabilities to get. All you should have to do is visit your VAMC audiology department and have the exam. The law changed a couple of years ago that ANY veteran can use the audiology services at their VAMC regardless of service connection rating.  (TB)  10/28/18


A3:   I'm sorry that you have received a run around. A couple questions that I have:

Have you had your hearing tested by the VA or elsewhere? Questions from the VA might include length of time and decibel levels (loudness). When did you notice the tinnitus and the loss of hearing?  With your discharge from the service your hearing should have been tested. Do you have those results? If no one has asked these questions, how can anyone, including the physician, make this determination? Also search online for additional information.

If not, you have the right to request one. Emphasize the tinnitus and loss of hearing and that this has been identified by family and others.  (CP)  10/28/18


A4:  Very good question, go to your local VA and fill out an application for VA disiabilities and you should get a 10 % disability granted. This seems to be very easy getting this in Oklahoma,. Getting them to reconizge other issues is something else. I've been trying to get more benefits for radiation damage and back problems for 15 years to no avail. My DD 214 doesn't state that I was flying through nuclear debris.   (CL)  10/28/18














A5:  I also have tinnitus from a military related injury.   Despite wearing spongy type hearing protection and "Mickey Mouse" ears, I lost my hearing while serving on active duty in the Army, on a firing range. Annual weapons qualification is mandatory on the M-16 rifle. In your situation, I would  a referral to the ENT (Ears, Nose, & Throat) physician.  From there, request an audiogram (hearing test). In addition, request a referral to be seen by a Neurologist (Brain physician).  This is because your ears are connected to your brain from hearing, nd due to constant noise or blast exposure, you may have endured TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) too. TBI is another type of VA disability compensation as well. Be sure to get copies of your medical records to prove these types of injuries happened on active duty to be eligible for service connected disability. I would also type out a narrative (story) of how your disability or disabilities affect your life. Such as what branch of service, your rank, your MOS (Military Occupational Status)/ the type of military job you held on active duty, where you were stationed at the time you sustained your
injury, personal relationships, on the job or lack of employment,
how it attends school if you are enrolled, how it affects you financially, emotionally, etc. This really helped me out when I applied for my service connected tinnitus and TBI. Don't give up! After serving your country you deserve to be taken care of. By the way, thank you for your service, and welcome home!!  (DS)  10/28/18


A6:   I also have tinnitus for many years. You have to put in a claim for tinnitus for both ears and you have to have the bases and the location area where you worked at around the aircraft. If you are turned down reapply. You should get online and apply through ebenefits, it is the easy and faster way to get you VA benefit.   (FK)  10/28/18


A7:  The VA gives 10% for tinnitus. They do care if you have Tinnitus in one ear or both. It is rated at 10%. Do not appeal their decision.  (SB)  10/29/18


A8:  Each ear is not rated separately and only one (1) rating can be given for both ears. The VA rates Tinnitus at 10%. It does not matter if you have ringing in one ear, or both ears. It is rates as 10%.   (SB)  10/29/18













A9:   Find a good Veterans Service Officer (VSO) in your area. He/She will be able to help you with applying for disability, especially with hearing loss. Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is a common condition and rated at 10% only. Anyone who worked on the flightline has what the VA considers a presumptive condition for tinnitus or hearing loss. I don't know where you live but in the Antonio, TX area, there are three organizations who provide VSO's - Texas Veterans Commission (TVC), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and the Bexar County Veterans Service Office (BCVSO). It's always best to use a VSO that is not affiliated with the VA since the VA does have a track record of denying benefits. The VSO will become your advocate and will file appeals on your behalf, but the key is to find a good VSO that will fight for you. So shop around in your area and search for organizations that provide that service. Good luck.  (AB)  10/29/18 


A10:  The highest rating you can receive for tinnitus is 10%. The key to receiving compensation for tinnitus is 1). On your service treatment records, it has to show that you were exposed to high volume noise. 2). Request for a hearing test with the Audiologist, and if your results shows hearing loss seek assistance with VSO Representative. If you are experiencing ringing in your ears, make sure that your claim states that. I was awarded for tinnitus in 2015, I got out of the military in Aug of 1991. It's was that simple!  (PB)  3/9/19