What is Tinnitus?
What is Tinnitus?
The definition of tinnitus is the perception of ringing, hissing, or other sounds in the ears or head. Especially when no other sounds are present. For some people, tinnitus is merely an annoyance. For others, it is much more troublesome.
Tinnitus is the most filed disability amongst Veterans. This condition affects at least one in every ten American adults. If you have ringing in your ears, read on.
Veterans have higher rates of tinnitus than the general public due to unique exposures. Sounds like gunfire, machinery, and aircraft have connections to causing this condition.
What to do About Tinnitus?
In most cases, there is no specific cure for tinnitus. Furthermore, research suggests that it can be made worse by symptoms such as stress, anxiety, or fatigue.
Your doctor may find a specific cause to your condition. If so, they may be able to determine possible changes to your life. These changes may help reduce the severity of your condition. Like any condition, diagnoses may require X-rays, tests, and laboratory work.
Treatment methods may include:
Concentration and relaxation exercises: These can help control muscle movements and circulation throughout the body. Some patients find relief in the intensity of tinnitus with relaxation exercises.
White Noise: This offers a masking sound that may help reduce tinnitus.
Filing a Claim
Unfortunately, the maximum rating you can get for regular or recurrent tinnitus is 10%. This is regardless of how bad it is or whether it is present in one or both ears. Keep in mind, each condition rates separately. For example, you can have a rating in addition to psychiatric conditions or a traumatic brain injury.
What to do if You Notice Symptoms
If you are a Veteran and think you may have symptoms, get a hearing test done. There is no cure, but reducing your condition can help you cope with everyday life.
The VA determines disabilities for hearing loss by speech recognition and tone tests. Testing results can issue various levels of rating percentages. However, for tinnitus, there are specific ways to prove your case with the VA.
First, did you have exposure to loud noises such as gunfire? Working on a flight line? Operating with or near explosives? If so, these are all factors that can help determine a nexus. This nexus can show you had an exposure that is relative to your tinnitus. Finally, if something else causes your condition, there must be some evidence of what you are claiming. For example, if you are claiming it was due to medications, you must be able to prove that cause. This can be done with documentation or through lay statements. The VA needs evidence that can help prove that you have taken medication that has caused the tinnitus.