Hearing Issue the Most Common Disability for Active-duty, Veterans

Veterans and active-duty personnel may be enduring a medical condition that 10 percent of all VA disability claims from the fiscal year 2011 have reported. According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 10 percent of all disability claims for veterans in 2011 were due to tinnitus, which can be an early sign of hearing loss. Noise exposure is the most common cause of tinnitus for those in the military community, and is typically described as a ringing in the ears. This can be a rare occurrence for some, but a constant and painful distraction for others.

Veterans and active duty military personnel who interact often with artillery and demolitions are likely to experience tinnitus. Damage done to the ear is permanent and irreversible, as there is no way to rebuild the damaged cells. Preventative measures should always be taken in regards to hearing protection, but in combat situations this may not always be possible.

The second most reported disability is hearing loss, with 7.5 percent of all disability claims citing the condition in the 2011 fiscal year. Loss of hearing or the painful experiences of tinnitus are yet another aspect of life that veterans may have to adapt to, on top of rotating home or dealing with other medical conditions or injuries as a result of their service.

Submitting a complete application to the VA can help to expedite the disability benefits process. An attorney experienced in veteran’s affairs can assist with this process, advocate on a veteran’s behalf, and handle any appeals that may become necessary. The disability process may seem daunting, but it does not need to be faced alone.

Source: Jacksonville Daily News, “Report: Tinnitus No. 1 disability affecting veterans, active-duty service members,” Amanda Wilcox, Nov. 20, 2012.