Tinnitus is when there’s a buzzing or ringing noise in the ears. While it is a common problem among civilians, it’s even more common among Veterans. Because they’ve been in spaces exposed to loud noises, such as aircraft and gunfire, it’s one of the most common ailments for those who’ve served. Tinnitus VA disability can provide assistance for those suffering.
Tinnitus VA Disability Rating
Does tinnitus qualify for VA disability? Yes. The standard rating for tinnitus is currently 10%, and this applies for both conditions of whether the issue affects only one ear or both.
Can you get VA disability for hearing loss and tinnitus? Absolutely. One can also claim benefits for hearing loss if they were subject to high levels of noise in their past military ventures. Even if you experience hearing loss years into your discharge, you can still receive compensation as long as you submit evidence that you were exposed to loud noises during military operations.
The good news is that the VA is planning on making changes to raise the tinnitus rating for Veterans to receive more compensation.
How To Get VA Disability for Tinnitus
You must apply for tinnitus Veterans disability benefits online at the VA/DoD eBenefits website. How much VA disability for tinnitus is available? Because there’s currently a 10% rating for the ailment, those eligible will receive $152.64 for their monthly benefit.
Just because you apply, this does not mean that you’re guaranteed compensation, especially if the VA does not think your condition is severe enough to be receiving money as a benefit. However, a 0% rating would still allow you to receive free medical treatment and reimbursement if you need to travel to receive VA medical care. On top of that, the VA can re-evaluate the condition of the Veteran to see if the issue has improved.
On average, re-evaluations happen 2 to 3 years after the initial award is given or 6 months after discharge. Of course, you will be notified beforehand of a re-evaluation. And if the VA determines that the tinnitus has improved, then the disability rating will reduce, but you may appeal the decision, as well.
In order to diagnose tinnitus, the VA needs to conduct a compensation and pension (C&P) exam. The VA must determine whether the disability is service-connected and how severe the tinnitus is. The individual will be given a speech recognition test and a pure tone audiogram, which will help determine the tinnitus diagnosis.
New Tinnitus Treatment 2022
There are many tinnitus treatments that have been proven to help relieve the problem. Common treatments include:
- Removing earwax blockage.
- Using hearing aids.
- Changing medication that might be causing tinnitus.
- Treating a blood vessel condition, such as through surgery or medication.
For the most part, tinnitus cannot be fully cured, but doctors have suggested using electronic devices to lessen the noise. For example, masking devices can be worn in the ears that create small white noise. White noise machines also help by producing sounds like static or ocean waves, which can assist in sleep. Other similar devices include humidifiers, air conditioners, and fans.
Counseling for behavioral treatment is often recommended to help improve one’s mindset about tinnitus. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn how to cope with problems linked with tinnitus, such as depression and anxiety. There’s also tinnitus retraining therapy, where you wear an ear device that hides the tinnitus, which can help the individual notice the sounds less over time.
Recently, an app has been developed using therapies to create individualized plans for users. It’s reported that successful results are supposed to come within 6 to 12 weeks. While the app is not yet available for public use, it is going through regulatory review. In an interview with New Atlas, Grant Searchfield, an associate professor in audiology, said, “What this therapy does is essentially rewire the brain in a way that de-emphasizes the sound of the tinnitus to a background noise that has no meaning or relevance to the listener.”
While there is more work to be done with the app, researchers promise strong results in six months when the app will be available for clinical use. In the meantime, if you or someone you know is struggling with tinnitus, VA disability benefits are available.