The linked Jacksonville Daily News Article reports that tinnitus was the most popular claim for disability before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2011. On a personal note, as an Army veteran who suffers from tinnitus, I can appreciate how debilitating this condition can be.
Tinnitus, otherwise known as ringing in the ear, is most commonly caused by normal hearing loss associated with age, noise-related hearing loss, excessive build up of earwax, and bone problems in the inner ear. As servicemembers are all too aware, exposure to loud noises is an accepted daily risk both at war and in garrison. As the linked Medical Research on Tinnitus documents, the medical and scientific communities now accept the theory of delayed-onset tinnitus associated with hearing loss caused by noise exposure.
The VA has acknowledged this condition and considers tinnitus as a separately compensable disorder under 38 C.F.R. 4.87a (Diagnostic Code 6260). Therefore, even if you have service-connected hearing loss that is rated at 0%, you may still be entitled to a 10% disability rating for tinnitus.
If you are a veteran suffering from tinnitus but unsure how to advance your claim before the VA, please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation at sdirector@FRE-L.com or through our website at www.finkrosner.com.