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What is the VA’s rating scale for hearing loss?

Research from the VA revealed that over 1.3 million Veterans received disability benefits for hearing loss in 2020. That number would be even higher if it were easier to receive a rating! Hearing loss is unfortunately quite a common issue among Veterans, a condition that can significantly affect their overall life quality and ability to carry out daily tasks. If you're a Veteran who is experiencing hearing loss as a result of military service, and are trying to figure out what your options are – this blog is for you.

Although hearing loss is one of the most difficult conditions to get VA disability benefits for, it's not impossible. By familiarizing yourself with the VA's requirements and rating scale, you can prepare your claim appropriately to get the best possible outcome.

Keep reading for some basics about hearing loss and details on the VA's rating scale:

Why are Veterans more likely to experience hearing loss?

Due to the nature of military service, Veterans are unfortunately at a much higher risk than civilians when it comes to hearing loss. The following events during a Veteran's time in service have the potential to cause significant hearing loss:

  • Loud noises from gunfire, explosions, heavy machinery, aircraft, and more

  • Physical injuries to the head during combat, or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)

Even with protective gear, many Veterans experience hearing loss from these events whether short-term or long-term. Veterans are also likely to develop tinnitus as a result of these experiences – and while this condition doesn't cause hearing loss, it can be co-occurring. We wrote all about this condition in a separate blog here, not to get confused with what's in this one.

How does the VA rate hearing loss for VA disability benefits?

Even if a Veteran has severe symptoms, getting a rating for hearing loss is very difficult, due to strict rating criteria. Most Veterans earn zero percent because the hearing of their "good ear" is still considered for the overall rating level. Here's how the process works:

  1. Audiological testing. To begin the claims process, a Veteran must first complete two tests administered by an audiologist: A Maryland CNC test (has to do with speech understanding abilities) and a Puretone Audiometric test (tests the level of loudness a Veteran can hear).

  2. The Veteran gets assigned a level. Based on the testing, the Veteran will receive a level rating ranging from roman numerals I to XI, with I being normal hearing and XI being deafness. These numerals correlate to rating percentages for VA disability benefits.

  3. The decision is made. Higher ratings, of course, pertain to more VA disability benefits. Since hearing loss is difficult to prove, a well-written personal statement or detailed service event documentation can really help your claim.

Contact us for Nexus Letters, DBQs, chart reviews, and more

Filing a VA disability benefits claim for hearing loss can be tricky, but a lot simpler when you work with our experienced team. A strong VA disability benefits claim starts with proper documentation – and that's where we come in.

We help Veterans with Nexus Letters, DBQs, chart reviews, and more. Ready to get prepared for your claim with ease? Sign up for a chart review, and view other services here. You'll be paired with one of our professional medical experts to get exactly what you need.

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