It can be hard to gauge your hearing loss after the military. If you've worked in an area with regular hearing loss threats, you and your fellow service-members are likely to have the same level of hearing loss, and it's hard to tell if differences in hearing are temporary. Don't leave the issue to chance; take the time to work with an audiologist and Veterans Affairs officials to figure out if you have hearing issues, how to get compensation and how to make the problem less severe.
Military Hearing Loss Situations
Hearing loss isn't difficult to understand at the basic level, but it may be difficult to admit or comprehend your own hearing problems.
As mentioned in the introduction, if you work in an area that causes hearing loss, it's likely that the others who work with you have hearing issues as well. In the Navy, for example, people who work in engineering are regularly working with loud machinery and fans that create a noise floor (a minimum noise level) that everyone has to talk louder to avoid.
These aren't sudden, powerfully damaging noises in many cases. To add to the complex situation, your hearing seems to adjust from the noise after some time outside of engineering. You may run into others outside of engineering who seem to notice your hearing issues and the problem may fix itself after your ears adjust, but years of the sound environment can lead to damage.
With constant noise in engineering, it's understandable that some loud noises may be a regular occasion that could lead to hearing loss. Moving into combat jobs, mortar specialists may deal with loud explosions on a regular basis. The damage is so well known now that mortar specialists are almost expected to receive hearing loss disability simply as a check in the box for their career path.
This can be frustrating for careers that don't have well-understood hearing loss threats. The Information Technology (IT) field in all branches, for example, covers many different fields and experiences. An unfortunate misconception is that all IT jobs are computer desk jobs, but many IT professionals work with loud sound systems, piercing alarms, or the computer and telecommunications equipment located in the previously mentioned hearing danger areas.
If you're in such a situation, you'll need to do some extra work to prove your issue.
A Hearing Test Is Necessary
The VA provides compensation for hearing loss among many other condition, but you'll need to prove that your condition is related to military service (service-connected).
It's not impossible for you to suffering hearing loss after the military, then request military compensation. This can be considered fraud, but usually results in a VA claim denial. Thankfully, as long as you believe that your hearing loss was caused by the military, you can appeal the denial as much as you want. For your appeal to be successful, you'll probably need the help of a civilian audiologist.
An audiologist's team can perform an extensive hearing test that may go beyond the VA's capabilities, especially with long wait times making VA medical appointments hard to deal with. The level of hearing loss can be compared to different situations in your medical record, which can be used to prove your problem and how it may be related to the military.
Contact a hearing loss professional, such as Hearing Specialists of DuPage, to schedule a hearing test, and be sure to discuss your veteran disability claim situation to begin working on claim evidence to make the VA cover your costs--not your own wallet.