Tinnitus is one of the most common ailments for which veterans file claims, and it can rise to secondary conditions such as sleep disturbances, anxiety, and migraines. As a veteran, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars in tax-free disabilities and not even know it. It’s important to know these conditions in order to form a better VA disability claim.
Keep reading to discover the different VA secondary conditions to tinnitus. However, it’s important to know what tinnitus is and establish the link between tinnitus and its common secondary conditions.
Tinnitus In A Nutshell
Typical tinnitus symptom is ringing in the ears, and additional tinnitus symptoms include buzzing, hissing, or whistling in the ears. This ailment is extremely common with veterans mainly due to the noise they encountered when they served in the military, like shooting, ammunition, and fighter jets.
Tinnitus receives a 10% disability rating from the VA. It’s still a maximum rating of 10% if you have tinnitus symptoms in both ears (as opposed to 10% for each ear). If you have both hearing loss and tinnitus — as many disabled veterans do — the VA will reimburse you for both.
5 VA Secondary Conditions To Tinnitus
Tinnitus can also be a symptom of other medical issues. Tinnitus patients often suffer from depression and anxiety due to their distressing symptoms. Check out the five most common VA secondary conditions to tinnitus:
- Somatic Disorder
- Meniere’s Syndrome
Migraines and tinnitus are linked according to medical research, and the symptoms are associated with a variety of headaches, including migraines and hypertension. According to recent findings, 27% of tinnitus sufferers also have headaches.
One of the most prevalent secondary conditions to tinnitus is migraine headaches.
Thus, there is some medical evidence that migraines, as well as many other forms of headaches, can be caused or aggravated by tinnitus. In 2022, the VA rating for migraines secondary to tinnitus is 0%, 10%, 30%, and 50%.
Anxiety and depression are common mental illnesses among veterans with tinnitus, as is indicated by numerous medical research studies.
Depending on the severity of your anxiety issue and how your anxiety symptoms influence your career, life, and social functioning, VA claims for anxiety secondary to tinnitus can be rated at 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%.
Medical research clearly shows that veterans with tinnitus are more likely to be depressed. In fact, the findings of a 2015 study revealed that 58.2% of the participants (91 veterans with tinnitus) were depressed. Overall, tinnitus can interfere with sleep, resulting in stress, weariness, and, eventually, depression.
Depression caused by tinnitus can be graded as 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%, depending on the intensity of your depression. For example, a veteran with tinnitus may earn a 10% rating for just that but a 70% rating for depression due to tinnitus.
Somatic Symptom Disorder
Somatic symptom disorder is defined by an excessive emphasis on physical sensations such as pain or exhaustion, which leads to significant emotional suffering as well as social and occupational challenges.
Individuals with SDD frequently have another medical disease that is linked to their symptoms. The individual’s reaction to the actual issue, on the other hand, is exaggerated or disproportionate to the situation. Veterans may become unduly concerned about their tinnitus symptoms and fret excessively.
Depending on the severity of your SSD and how the symptoms influence your work, life, and social functioning, VA claims for SSD secondary to tinnitus might be graded at 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%.
Meniere’s syndrome (endolymphatic hydrops) is a hearing and balance condition that affects the inner ear. It is included under Diagnostic Code 6205 as endolymphatic hydrops. Hearing loss, tinnitus, and dizziness or wooziness are some of its symptoms.
This ailment can be classified in one of two ways: once under this code, or three times as tinnitus, hearing loss, and peripheral vestibular disease. Choose the option that will result in a higher VA rating.
A veteran can submit a secondary claim for additional benefits if documentation can be supplied that relates the service-connected tinnitus to the secondary condition. They only need a medical diagnosis and confirmation that the secondary ailment is caused by or exacerbated by the primary.
Head to Disability Help for more resources related to this one, such as how to get disabilities for depression and anxiety.