It is actually 1 out 5 for 40 decibels or greater, since the article states in any of the frequencies and either 3 out of 5 at an auditory threshold greater than 26 decibels.
Military equipment is loud. It’s no wonder that the most prevalent service-connected disabilities among veterans are hearing loss and tinnitus. Unfortunately, the VA has made it difficult to prove service connection for hearing loss. What is more, they have affected the ratings veterans can receive if their hearing loss is more profound than a certain test can measure. To overcome that barrier here are three (3) things you must do to prove hearing loss for a VA disability.
1. Prove that your hearing loss is a disability.
2. Prove that it was related to your military service.
3. Establish a VA hearing loss rating by showing that it was significant enough for an impairment rating.
This summary is about the first barrier proving that your hearing loss is a VA disability.
To establish hearing loss, you must prove that your auditory threshold is 40 decibels or greater in any of the 5 different frequencies, 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000 Hertz. The auditory threshold measures your ability to hear, so if the quietest sound you hear at 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000 Hertz is 40 decibels or greater, then your hearing is a disability per VA claim. Additionally, If your auditory threshold is greater than 26 decibels in at least 3 of the 5 frequencies above, then your hearing loss is a disability.
To measure it you must take the Puretone Audiometric Test administered by a licensed audiologist. The test only measures the auditory threshold and no other hearing loss aspect.
Finally, another component that is affected by hearing loss is speech recognition. It measures how well spoken words, at an average sound level, are understood. It is measured by a consonant-vowel nucleus (CNC) test. If your speech recognition is less than 94 percent without the help of hearing aids, then you have established hearing loss per VA claim.
You will not be able to receive service-connected disability compensation for hearing loss if you can’t prove it with one of these three tests.