The military has many occupations that can cause hearing problems. From heavy machinery to loud ordnance, the booming, grinding and screeching can leave your ears far worse than when you joined to serve your country. If you haven't thought of the possibility of having hearing aids covered by Veterans Affairs (VA) assistance or have been stuck in the claims process, consider a few ways that a hearing aid professional could help you get proper compensation.
How Can The VA Help With Hearing Aids?
As a military veteran, you may qualify for certain medical benefits, including hearing assistance. In order to qualify for these benefits, your injury or condition must be service-connected.
A service-connected condition is any condition that could have been caused during your military service years, or made worse because of military service. You'll need proof that shows the time and place of the injury, as well as current medical evidence showing that you're still suffering.
Hearing problems can be difficult to prove under the service-connected system. Unless you complained about hearing problems during your military service and have documentation of those complaints, you'll need to do a little more work to create your proof.
Many occupations have understood hearing risks. If you worked with heavy machinery in military occupations such as hull technician, engineering positions or aircraft maintenance, it's understandable that your hearing may suffer because of military service. Combat roles involving exploding ordnance such as a mortar technician or mine warfare, also have a lot of fellow veterans who have received benefits, which can help your case.
Some jobs have less recognized hearing dangers. Communications positions with high pitched, loud alarms or high volume radio communications are a real danger, but not all communications personnel are subjected to the same dangers. Certain specialties within some jobs have more dangers than others, which may mean that there aren't many people who can attest to your problem.
A Civilian Hearing Specialist Can Help
The VA provides a compensation and pension (C&P) exam to determine your level of injury or the severity of your condition. You could be awarded monetary compensation, but even if you're rated at 0% disability (no monetary compensation, but access to VA medical benefits at no cost to you) you'll be able to receive hearing aids from civilian hearing professionals with the VA picking up the bill.
C&P exams are not always thorough. As a symptom of growing VA system problems, you may have to deal with a fast examination that doesn't cover all of your conditions thoroughly. If you're not satisfied with the exam results, go to a civilian hearing professional.
You won't have to deal with the VA's wait times and may have more control over the quality of care you receive. Examinations will be done on your terms and the hearing professional's terms, allowing appointments to be scheduled with enough time to write thorough documentation. Explain the situation to the hearing professional to get a report tailored to the VA system.
Since the VA is aware of long wait times, it's expected that you visit a civilian medical professional for a second opinion. Contact a hearing aid professional, or visit a hearing website, like http://www.HearDenver.org, to begin planning a better VA claim with better hearing loss evidence.