Can You Get Veterans Disability Benefits for Tinnitus?

Can You Get Veterans Disability Benefits for Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a medical condition that causes abnormal ringing in the ear. Long-term exposure to loud, violent noises can ultimately lead to a tinnitus diagnosis. Military Veterans and personnel are often exposed to these noises, ranging from explosions to gunfire.

In fact, tinnitus cases among military members have risen significantly. If you have been diagnosed with tinnitus, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).

In this guide, we’ll help you understand what benefits you’re entitled to, what the claims process looks like, and how the VA will evaluate your application.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a chronic medical condition that causes ringing in the ears. Here is the official definition from Mayo Clinic:

Tinnitus is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears. The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn’t caused by an external sound, and other people usually can’t hear it. Tinnitus is a common problem. It affects about 15% to 20% of people, and is especially common in older adults.

One of the leading causes of tinnitus is hearing loss, both age-related and unnatural. If you are regularly exposed to loud sounds, the thin hairs in your ear can break or bend.

These hairs are pivotal for transmitting the sounds you hear to your brain. Once they’re damaged, they’ll leak random electrical impulses to your brain. This causes tinnitus, which is characterized by random humming and buzzing sounds.

What is the Disability Rating for Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is listed among the eligible list of disabilities by the VA. However, it’s only rated 10%. This means you’re only eligible for a monthly recurring payment based on 10% of the VA’s annual disability scale.

The VA doesn’t consider tinnitus to be a life-altering issue, especially since doctors can prescribe medicine to significantly reduce its effects. Veterans can earn more if they are diagnosed with additional disabilities that were brought upon by their tinnitus.

With additional conditions, the disability rating can increase. The amount of increase depends on the concomitant disabilities you’re diagnosed with and, ultimately, if you can prove the combined severity to the VA.

What Conditions Qualify for a Higher Disability Benefit?

While the VA does not consider tinnitus to be a severe condition for rating purposes, it must be noted that tinnitus can cause or aggravate conditions that are eligible for higher ratings. With that said, here are some conditions that are associated with tinnitus that qualify for a higher disability benefit:

If you have been diagnosed with any of these disabilities, you may need help proving their correlation to your tinnitus and showing how it was brought upon by years of military service. If you are facing this situation, contact a disability lawyer to help you build a solid claim and navigate the appeals process.

How to Prove Your Tinnitus Disability Claim

It’s a common misconception to believe that you don’t have to build a solid claim since tinnitus only has a 10% disability rating. The VA treats every disability claim with a high level of scrutiny and observation.

If you want to increase your chances of approval, here is the evidence you’ll need to build your claim:

  • Diagnosis: This is the most basic part of building a tinnitus claim. You have to prove you’ve been diagnosed with tinnitus. Submitting your medical reports with your application is crucial.
  • Event During Military Service: Next, you’ll have to prove that a specific event from your time in the military caused your condition. For example, you can show proof that loud gunfire and explosions from direct combat contributed to your hearing loss.
  • Nexus: Finally, a medical professional has to draw a “nexus” or simply a cause-and-effect link between the military event and your diagnosis. They can do so by rendering their professional medical opinion.

Submitting a successful tinnitus disability claim is a multi-faceted effort led by you, your doctor, and your lawyer. All parties must do their part to increase the chances of a successful claim.

How Will the VA Evaluate My Tinnitus Claim?

The VA will take a comprehensive approach to reviewing your claim and determining its approval. The VA will consider many details when reviewing a tinnitus claim, including:

  • The VA may request that a tinnitus evaluation be combined with other disabilities such as hearing loss, chronic suppurative otitis media, mastoiditis, cholesteatoma, or peripheral vestibular disorders.
  • The VA will only require one evaluation for recurring tinnitus, whether the sound affects one or both ears.
  • The VA will not evaluate objective tinnitus, meaning they won’t review claims where the ringing in your ear is audible to other people.

The last bullet point may be concerning to many Veterans diagnosed with tinnitus. However, if you were denied disability under this condition, work with an attorney to challenge this decision and fight for an appeal.

Why You May Need a Disability Lawyer

It’s important to know that valid disability claims slip through the cracks all the time. The VA isn’t a perfect organization and can make invalid judgments from time to time.

If the VA denied your disability claim, you may be able to appeal the decision. If you choose this route, it’s best to hire an attorney. A VA disability lawyer can help you gather sufficient evidence to overturn a previous denial.

In addition, a dedicated VA appeals lawyer can give you the peace of mind you deserve while navigating the appeals process. Whether you’re submitting a claim for the first time or considering an appeal, there are many solid reasons to have an experienced disability lawyer fight for your rights.

Contact Berry Law to Discuss Your Appeal

Overall, you may be able to receive disability benefits for tinnitus. Usually, you can receive a higher disability amount if other disabilities are linked to your hearing loss.

Proving your diagnosis can be a challenge on your own. With help from an experienced disability law firm like Berry Law, you can fight for the benefits you deserve.

We’d love to hear from you when you’re ready to discuss your appeal. Give us a call at (888) 883-2483 to discuss your case.

John S. Berry, , Lawyer for Veterans Hearing Problems & Tinnitus
John S. Berry, , Veterans Hearing Problems & Tinnitus Attorney
Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

Related Posts

Is Obesity Considered a VA Disability?
Is Obesity Considered a VA Disability?
How to Get 100% VA Disability for Depression
How to Get 100% VA Disability for Depression
What Foot Problems Qualify for VA Disability
What Foot Problems Qualify for VA Disability

Subscribe to our newsletter

The Service Connection

Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.

Skip to content