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Today, the United States has approximately 1.3 million active-duty military troops and another 865,000 in reserves. (1) When these men and women retire with a service-related disability and an “other than dishonorable” discharge, they can qualify for a monthly tax-free VA Disability Compensation benefit. This benefit can range from $150 to over $3,400 every month, and the VA determines each veterans monetary amount based on a particular formula.  With such a large military force, men and women are continually retiring creating a large group of military disabilities that the VA pays compensation for. (2) Unfortunately, many veterans have to seek out a lawyer for military hearing loss, because they struggle with claim denials or incorrect disability ratings that prevent them from getting the full benefits they deserve.

Veteran Hearing Loss And Compensation

According to the Veterans Benefits Administration Reports,(3) the top VA claims are:

  • Tinnitus: 157,152
  • Limitation of flexion, knee: 99,467
  • Hearing loss: 76,102
  • Lumbosacral or cervical strain: 71,197
  • Limitation of motion of the arm: 67,375
  • Scars, general: 55,215
  • Limitation of motion of the ankle: 51,158
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: 46,931
  • Migraine: 41,251
  • Paralysis of the sciatic nerve: 38,730

Of all the 704,578 claims that were processed in 2018, 233,254 claims were strictly hearing related issues. Both tinnitus and hearing loss accounts for over 30% of all military disability claims paid out. However, if these two hearing-related issues are the most frequently compensated disabilities, why would someone suffering from either of these issues need a capable lawyer for military hearing loss? Unfortunately, veteran hearing loss might have been caused by defective 3M earplugs and not just by natural causes. It is possible that the VA might not be compensating veterans as much as they should for this claim and those who are suffering from a veteran hearing loss might be eligible for additional compensation based on these defective 3M earplugs.

Of all the 704,578 claims that were processed in 2018, 233,254 claims were strictly hearing related issues

What Are Defective 3M Earplugs?

In July of 2018, a lawsuit was settled with 3M stating that the company defrauded the government by selling faulty earplugs with “dangerous design defects” to the military. The suit alleged that 3M was aware of the problem before selling the earplugs to the military and that testing procedures and fitting instructions were unlawfully manipulated and the company did not disclose the design defect for the plugs they sold between the years of 2003 – 2015. (4) Since the lawsuit occurred, thousands of veterans have reached out to a lawyer for military hearing loss. These veterans are looking to seek punitive damages from 3M after they have developed hearing issues from 3M’s “gross negligence.” If you were serving in the armed forces during 2003 – 2015 and are experiencing veteran hearing loss, reach out to a Taylor Martino lawyer for military hearing loss to help with your potential claim.

Can Veteran Hearing Loss Occur Naturally?

Veteran hearing loss is the third most common cause of disability in the VA and can naturally be found in older veterans. Hearing loss is typically related to the aging process, and it is entirely reasonable for older veterans or those who have not experienced military service to suffer from the loss of hearing. However, there has been an increase in the number of both young and older veterans with hearing loss, and it could be due to a variety of factors. The use of using the defective 3M earplugs could contribute, or just hazards of the job with the frequent usage of weapons training, large vehicular engines, and tanks. Unfortunately, veteran hearing loss is a growing problem so it can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem and how many may be suffering from a hearing condition.

The Cost of Veteran Hearing Loss

Not only is veteran hearing loss a severe condition to those who are experiencing it, but it is also a considerable financial burden to the VA who pays for the disability compensation. While a lawyer for military hearing loss will help you with your hearing loss claims, the government will ultimately pay the final price for these medical conditions. According to data from the Hearing Center of Excellence, a part of the Department of Defense, hearing maladies cost more than $1.4 billion in veterans disability payments annually. The last year the data was available, the VA spent $216 million for hearing aids and related devices, and they pay an average of $348.15 per hearing aid each. (5) Since this data was collected, the numbers have only increased indicating that the VA is under a financial burden by a condition that could be alleviated.

Is the Military Working to Stop Military Hearing Loss Conditions?

In 2008 The Department of Defense established the Hearing Center of Excellence, or HCE, to focus on the “prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of hearing loss and auditory injury.” (7) The HCE was legislated by Congress and partners directly with the VA, institutions of higher education, and other mission-minded public and private organization to work to improve hearing-related issues that affect veterans. The HCE’s responsibilities include:

  • Develop a data registry to track hearing loss and auditory injuries across the military, and share data and resources with the VA
  • Encourage and facilitate hearing health research
  • Develop best practices and education
  • Ensure the coordination and delivery of VA benefits and services to veterans

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs office and research department has done fantastic research since its inception and has made strides with tinnitus management, blast injury hearing loss, hearing aid usage and more.

Reach Out to An Experienced Lawyer for Military Hearing Loss

When it comes to veteran hearing loss, experts say too few returning veterans don’t seek medical attention for their hearing loss when symptoms first appear. Many of these veterans don’t believe they have hearing loss before it is too late. If you are experiencing veteran hearing loss years out of the service, you could be entitled to additional compensation. An experienced lawyer for military hearing loss at Taylor Martino P.C., will assess your case and aid in protecting your rights. Having a lawyer for military hearing loss is especially crucial to help assist in all of the proper paperwork and the first steps for filing a lawsuit. If you’ve experienced veteran military hearing loss after serving in the military from 2003 – 2016, call Taylor Martino P.C., Personal Injury Lawyers  to take legal action today!

References:

  1. https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52814-Hearing-loss-statistics-at-a-glance
  2. https://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veteran-disability-compensation.html
  3. https://www.benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/abr/docs/2018-compensation.pdf
  4. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/military-veterans-claim-defective-3m-earplugs-caused-hearing-loss/
  5. https://backhome.news21.com/article/hearing/
  6. https://www.research.va.gov/topics/hearing.cfm
  7. https://hearing.health.mil/About-HCE/History
https://youtu.be/NXtAbbS4nMQ

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