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McKown & Myers, LLP
McKown & Myers, LLP

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VA disability benefits for tinnitus

If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with tinnitus, you may be able to file a claim for disability benefits from the VA. Tinnitus is a hearing impairment caused by high-pitched sounds that can result from explosions and weapons firing. This article will explain the eligibility criteria for VA disability benefits for tinnitus and the requirements to apply. 

Establishing a direct service connection for tinnitus

To be eligible for benefits for tinnitus, you must prove that your time in active military duty caused your condition. The following must be established as proof that your tinnitus condition is service-related:

  1. An up-to-date diagnosis
  2. Proof of an incident in military service that led to tinnitus 
  3. A health judgment from a professional associating your hearing condition to the event in the service
  4. Service records that support your prolonged noise exposure during combat
  5. A statement from your doctor that shows when you first notices symptoms of tinnitus

Tinnitus testing requirements

For your Tinnitus condition to be deemed service-linked, you must undergo a diagnosis by an audiologist. You need to pass the following:

  • A Maryland CNC test that determines your speech recognition ability
  • A pure tone audiometric test that will measure the extent of your hearing loss

Be sure to tell your audiologist to perform these two tests in order to meet VA requirements. If you use a hearing aid, do not forget to remove it before you are tested. Your VA test results will be taken numerically and assigned a rating using the formula highlighted in Section 4.85 of the Code of Federal Regulations

What happens if you suffer tinnitus as a senior?

If you develop tinnitus many years after retiring from military service, you might still be eligible for VA benefits. You should not assume that your hearing condition is related to your age.

Disability ratings for tinnitus

Tinnitus is rated using the VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities, which rates the severity of service-related disabilities out of 100%. Section 4.87 rates tinnitus at 10%. As of December 2021, a 10% disability rating is eligible for $152.64 in benefits per month.

However, the VA rates all hearing disabilities on a scale of 0 to 10, depending on the severity of your condition. If your tinnitus condition is rated 0, you do not qualify for monthly compensation, but you might get health care benefits. 

How to apply for VA disability for tinnitus 

You can apply for your VA disability for tinnitus by visiting VA regional office or online by filling out Veteran compensation forms.