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VA Rating for Tinnitus: Maximize Your Benefits

The hard truth about military service is that it requires a willingness to sacrifice. Part of that sacrifice can be subjecting yourself to harsh or even extreme environmental conditions, including loud noises.

The military has a safety culture to minimize the risks to servicemembers while performing their duties. This includes the use of hearing protection. Still, prolonged exposure to loud noises can eventually lead to a medical condition known as tinnitus.

Tinnitus is the service-connected VA disability claim that veterans make most often. If you are suffering from military service-connected tinnitus symptoms (we describe them below), help may be available to you through VA disability compensation. 

The VA disability benefits attorneys at Stone Rose Law can help you with your veteran claim process for tinnitus. Call us today at (480) 4998-8998 to set up a free consultation with an experienced VA disability benefits lawyer.

How the VA Rates Tinnitus Disability

The VA ratings for disabilities go from 0 to 100 percent. The highest separate disability rating you can receive for tinnitus in either ear or both ears is 10 percent.

Tinnitus as a Secondary Condition

Tinnitus can occur as a secondary condition to another service-connected disability. Most veterans who receive VA disability benefits are receiving VA disability benefits for more than one disabling underlying condition. Their VA disability benefits compensation is the product of a combined disability rating.

So, for example, you could be suffering from a combination of other conditions like PTSD, head or neck injury, and hearing loss in addition to tinnitus.

What Monthly Benefit Can I Receive For Tinnitus?

If you receive a tinnitus VA rating of 10%, then your monthly VA disability benefit amount for 2024 is $171.23. This amount does not change if you have a dependent spouse, child, or parent.

If you are claiming benefits for multiple disabilities, including tinnitus, then you can use our VA Disability Calculator to get an estimate of how tinnitus can contribute to your overall VA disability benefits compensation.

what monthly benefit can i receive for tinnitus

How to File a VA Disability Claim for Tinnitus

Establishing a veteran’s tinnitus claim for VA disability benefits for tinnitus is the same for most other disabilities. 

You must have a medical diagnosis for tinnitus, you must be presently suffering from tinnitus symptoms, and the tinnitus must have a service connection to your military service through a disabling event or circumstances.

Because tinnitus is usually subjective, proving that you have it is usually the biggest hurdle to overcome in preparing your claim for benefits. The VA does not automatically approve benefit claim applications for tinnitus. You will need to support it with documentary evidence.

Your military service records, your medical records of diagnosis and treatment for tinnitus, and a nexus letter from your doctor stating how the tinnitus is service-connected are the most persuasive evidence you can give to the VA. 

You can also provide additional support through a written expert medical professional opinion and with “buddy letters” from others who know you and who were in a position to know the service-connected cause of your tinnitus.

A Stone Rose Law veterans lawyer can also help you with your claim. Simply fill out a form here or give us a call at (480) 498-8998 and we’ll help you get started.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a medical condition that causes you to hear noises in your ears. You can experience tinnitus in either or both ears. Among veterans, men over the age of 65 are more prone to develop tinnitus compared to the general population.

Tinnitus ordinarily is not permanent. But while you have it, it can be enough of a distraction from your ability to work or otherwise live your life that the VA recognizes it as a compensable disability.

what is tinnitus?

Types of Tinnitus

In most cases, if you have tinnitus, then no one else will hear the noises that you are hearing. This form of neurological tinnitus is known as “subjective tinnitus.”

In rare cases, about one percent of the time, it is possible for another person, usually your doctor, to detect the tinnitus sounds you are experiencing. This is because the cause is a physical issue that affects your ear, as opposed to a neurological sensation like subjective tinnitus.

This kind of physical tinnitus is referred to as “objective tinnitus.”

Tinnitus Symptoms

The most commonly reported tinnitus symptom is a ringing noise. It can happen intermittently or it can be persistent. It might be a steady sound, or it can change in its pitch and how loud it seems.

Other tinnitus symptoms include a buzzing, hissing, or clicking, whooshing, or roaring sound.

Often symptoms of tinnitus are most apparent at night or other times when you are in quiet surroundings. Sometimes during periods of prolonged noise exposure, it can be hard for you to even know that you are experiencing tinnitus simply because the surrounding environment is drowning it out. This is one reason why many veterans do not realize they have tinnitus until after their separation from service.

Secondary Symptoms of Tinnitus

Tinnitus can interfere with your ability to sleep. Sleep deprivation, in turn, can contribute to symptoms that include chronic fatigue, irritation, anxiety, weight gain, and an inability to focus or concentrate.

Tinnitus can lead to other medical issues such as fatigue from lack of sleep, anxiety, irritation, and more. There are some white-noise devices and other machines that can help overcome the condition more naturally, but medication can also be prescribed.

Causes of Tinnitus

Exposure to loud noise is the most common cause of tinnitus in veterans. 

In some cases, this noise exposure can reach extreme levels: for example, during flight operations, an aircraft carrier flight deck can reach noise levels of 140 decibels (150 decibels can rupture the eardrum).

Being around explosions, being subject to the frequent report of large and small caliber gunfire, and prolonged periods spent around heavy equipment and a variety of vehicle, ship, and jet engines are some other ways that tinnitus can set in during military service.

In some cases, tinnitus can result from other sources. These include infections and blockages of the ear, traumatic brain injury, neck injuries, and some medical conditions like vertigo, depression, Meniere’s disease, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or diuretics can also contribute to the onset of tinnitus.

Tinnitus Treatment

In those rare cases of objective tinnitus, because the cause is a physical one, medical treatment can be an option.

In many cases of subjective tinnitus, however, treatment to cure the condition may not be possible. In these situations, the object of treatment is to manage the symptoms of tinnitus and see if it will eventually subside with time.

Some symptom management products and techniques that can be helpful in coping with tinnitus include:

  • White noise devices. These can be as simple as a fan or a humidifier running in the background. Other products are specially designed to produce relaxing sounds like rainfall or the sound of the ocean shore. These can help to mask the tinnitus sounds.
  • Hearing aids. Tinnitus often occurs in combination with hearing loss. Not being able to focus on what you want to hear can make the tinnitus sound sensations more noticeable to you. A hearing aid can help you to concentrate on the sounds you want or need to hear and reduce the tinnitus effects.
  • Counseling and therapy. When the underlying cause of tinnitus is related to physical injury or mental stress, physical therapy through an audiologist and mental health counseling can address those sources.
tinnitus treatment

The good news here is that even if the VA assigns you a 0 percent disability rating for tinnitus (we discuss the VA disability rating for tinnitus below), this can still qualify you for VA healthcare benefits, including free medical treatment for your condition at a VA medical facility, and reimbursement for travel costs connected with seeking care from a VA medical facility or a VA authorized health care provider.

Can a Stone Rose Law VA Disability Benefits Lawyer Help Me With My Tinnitus Claim?

Our team of dedicated VA disability benefits attorneys at Stone Rose Law have the knowledge and experience to help you with your tinnitus-related disability benefits claim. Whether it is an initial application for benefits or appealing a claim denial, our attorneys are ready to help you obtain the disability compensation you earned.

If you have never applied for VA benefits before, then we will assist you at no cost to you in preparing and filing a claim. We will monitor your claim, assist you with preparing for C&P examinations, and advise you of any VA decisions as part of this free service.

Our attorneys have experience working with medical doctors, psychologists, and vocational examiners to obtain favorable opinions. Many times, C&P examiners contracted by the VA are not qualified, don’t listen to the veteran’s symptoms, or render medically unsupported opinions. In these cases, our attorneys have the experience necessary to combat these harmful examinations and to counter them with better medical evidence.

Has the VA Denied Your Tinnitus VA Disability Claim?

The VA denies about one-third of all the initial benefit claims it receives. If yours has been one of them, a Stone Rose Law VA disability attorney can help you to appeal that denial.

To present a compelling appeal to a denied veterans disability claim, it is extremely important for you to have a thorough understanding of VA regulations and procedures, how the VA applies them, and the time limit you must work within. This is what a Stone Rose Law disability claim denial lawyer will do for you.

Our expert veterans attorneys at Stone Rose Law are VA disability claim advocates. They have many years of experience in helping disabled veterans like you with their VA appeals, they understand veterans disability law, and they know how the VA appeals process works.

A Stone Rose Law veterans disability lawyer will know what goes into making the strongest and most persuasive possible appeal on your behalf, so you do not have to.

Our law firm is accredited to represent VA disability claims by the Department of Veterans Affairs. We are admitted to practice VA disability law before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. When you hire our law office to represent you in your VA claim, you can be confident that your VA disability lawyer will have the experience, competence, and resources to aggressively fight for your claim throughout the VA appeals process.

If we win your appeal, we only charge a reasonable, one-time contingency fee from your award from the VA.

If we do not win your appeal, then you owe us nothing.

Call Us Today

For more information about how one of our VA disability lawyers can help you with your tinnitus VA claim or appeal, request a free assistance consultation at (480) 498-8998. Or, if you prefer, you can reach us online to ask a question about veterans law, veterans disability benefits, or to set an appointment with one of our veterans lawyers for a free case evaluation.