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I submitted a fully-developed claim which included audiology results from a certified Au.D.:
Average of 1k, 2k, 3k, 4k = 58 in best ear. Speech recognition 55% & 65%
The VA made me take a test with their (outsourced) audiologist, unknown credentials:
Average of 1k, 2k, 3k, 4k = 56 in best ear. Speech recognition 94% & 94%!
How could there be such a discrepancy? Is this enough to appeal, or should I get another audiologist?
You deal with an incompetent VA contractor the same way you deal with any other erroneous medical information. There are 2 methods:
1. You have a right to dispute erroneous (medical You have a right to dispute erroneous (medical information) in your file. in your file. You dispute errors in with this regulation, 38 cfr 3.1579:
2. You can get an IMO/IME to refute medical evidence. Lay evidence does not refute medical evidence.
Speech discrimination is super important to your rating. I will try to explain why. Your brain interprets certain words to mean things. For example, if you said, “pass the spoon”, I would hand you the oval shaped eating utensil, as I would understand what spoon means. But that ability “breaks down” with time, and your brain loses its ability to make that interpretation, often, with hearing loss.
As an example, if I asked you to hand me a cuchura, you probably dont know what that means even if you heard me exactly. You heard the word, but your brain did not interpret “cuchura” into a spoon because you may not understand spanish.
With speech discrminination you hear the word “spoon” but your brain can not interpret it..its “as if” you heard the word in spanish or chinese, you still would not know to pass the spoon.
Hearing loss is progressive, and most hoh lose about 5 percent of their hearing a year. Worse, their speech discrimination declines even more dramatically.
VA’s hearing loss program is set up to rate you at 0 percent, or sometimes 10 or 20 percent, but usually 0 percent. You have to fight them to get service connected, fight them for the disability percentage, and fight again for the effective date. As the new VASEC admitted, its an adversarial system.