Nexus Letters Aid Veterans with Hearing Loss and Sleep Disorders in VA Disability Claims

February 23, 2024
Elite Medical Review Associates

Veterans suffering from hearing loss, tinnitus, or sleep disorders can face difficulties achieving an accurate VA disability rating to collect the compensation and benefits they deserve. Hearing loss is something that can generally be readily tested, however in some instances it can be psychological in addition to physiological. It can require specialized equipment, in addition to a nexus letter written by an experienced medical professional, to effectively link your sleep disorder or hearing loss to your active service. 

Tinnitus, or the persistent hearing of a ringing noise in the ears, can be impossible to prove or test beyond the statements provided by the individual suffering from the condition. Sleep disorders are difficult to identify as they happen while the affected veteran is sleeping, and because of this a sleep study is generally necessary to collect disability benefits. 

The way that a veteran suffering from a sleep disorder, hearing loss, or tinnitus works towards winning service connection is by having a medical expert assess their current condition and their military and history, and if this finding determines a link between the condition and service, drafting this into a nexus letter. The “nexus letter” provides the connection between a veteran’s present diagnosis and their service, which in turn entitles them to the full benefits available through the VA. 

Testing for Hearing Loss Requires Time, Effort, and Expertise 

While the VA provides veterans with the opportunity for free hearing injury testing through their facilities, often a general practitioner of medicine will be providing the assessment, or a nurse practitioner. When it comes to accurately identifying hearing loss, the use of specialized equipment is essential. Additionally, medical professionals with specialized training are better able to provide you with an accurate diagnosis. 

If you have been denied in your initial application for VA disability benefits, a veterans’ disability benefits attorney can help with your appeal. Alternatively, if you already have a VA disability rating for another service-connected condition, but are now beginning to experience hearing loss or tinnitus, you can apply for additional ratings by filing a new claim. As we’ll discuss below, an experienced veterans’ disability benefits lawyer can help with your appeal or supplemental claim. 

Sleep Disorders Can be Difficult for Single Veterans to Identify, Watch Out for These Signs

A sleep disorder such as sleep apnea is when the breathing of a veteran is interrupted during sleep for a variety of reasons, resulting in lower quality rest. These periods of waking and falling back asleep can deny the brain oxygen as well, and ultimately results in less restorative sleep. This in turn can cause a broad variety of health problems ranging from drowsiness to depression or other physical or psychological symptoms. 

Given that sleep disorders symptoms emerge while a veteran is sleeping, single veterans may not have a witness present like a spouse to notice their sleep disturbances. Given this, it is helpful to watch out for the following signs of a sleep disorder: 

  • Feeling drowsy or tired during the day, despite spending enough time sleeping
  • Experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Awakening multiple times throughout the night 

While this list is by no means exhaustive, no pun intended, it is a helpful guideline to take into account when you are considering why your work productivity is experiencing difficulty, or you are having trouble with personal relationships. The purpose of VA disability compensation outside of healthcare coverage is to replace lost earnings linked to your disability. If your capacity to work is not impacted, then it is not likely that you will receive a high rating for  compensation payments from the VA.

A Sleep Study is Necessary for VA Disability Coverage for Sleep Disorders 

One important factor to keep in mind when it comes to your VA disability rating for a sleep disorder is that you’ll need the outcome of a sleep study to provide as evidence to the VA. A sleep study is when a veteran has their sleep monitored throughout the duration of a night or many nights so that the medical professional can assess what type of disorder they might have, and how severe it is. 

Some sleep disorders are caused by physiological changes that occurred due to an injury experienced during active duty. Sleep disorders can also emerge as secondary conditions to other service-related issues, such as obesity. When certain drugs are required or treatments that lead to weight gain, obesity can cause certain sleep disorders that ultimately impact a veteran’s overall health and ability to work. 

Connect with a Veterans Benefits Legal Expert for Assistance 

The most effective way to ensure that you receive an accurate VA disability rating for your hearing loss or sleep disorder connected to your service is by having a well-written nexus letter. A VA disability attorney will have a network of these professionals available to provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your current condition, and a thorough consideration of your military history to determine how it might be linked. When you are able to link your current diagnosis through a medical expert’s opinion formatted into a nexus letter the VA will understand, your disability benefits and ability to support yourself and your family will be optimized. 

If your claim is on the appeal level, a veterans’ benefits attorney can help you throughout the entire duration of your claim. Your initial case consultation is free, and when a VA disability lawyer takes your claim, they only get paid if they win. Payment comes out of the back-pay that you are owed, and receive in one lump sum, then from there forward you and your family are the sole beneficiaries of your successfully appealed or expanded VA disability benefit and compensation. 

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