Hearing Loss

Hearing loss in one of the most common military service-related injuries.  Hearing loss is a growing complaint for todays veterans because of their history of noise exposure, coupled with aging of many veterans.  Because of their exposure to hazardous levels of noise during military service, veterans are very likely to suffer hearing loss.  Combat veterans may suffer hearing loss because use of hearing protection is impossible.  However, non-combat veterans may also suffer hearing loss. For example, veterans who served on aircraft carriers, in engine rooms, in artillery or mortar units, or even laundries or kitchen areas may suffer hearing loss.

Veterans who believe their hearing loss may have been damaged during military service may file a claim for disability with the local VA Regional Office.

Eligibility Reform

The VA will furnish hearing aids to veterans who receive VA health care services and who meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • they have a compensable service-connected disability or combination of disabilities rated at 10% or greater.

  • they are former prisoners of war.

  • they are receiving special benefits under 38 U.S.C. 1151, tort claims.

  • they receive increased pensions based on the need for aid and assistance or because they are permanently housebound.

  • they have hearing impairment resulting from the existence of another medical condition for which the veteran is receiving Va care, or which results from the treatment of such condition.

  • they have a significant functional or cognitive impairment evidenceed by reduced activities of daily living, but not including normally occurring hearing impairment.

  • The have a hearing impairment so severe that the provision of a hearing aid is necessary to permit active participation in their own medical treatment.

  • they have a non-compensable service-connected disability (0%) for hearing loss and the hearing loss contributes to a loss of communication ability.

Hearing Impairment Classification

The degree of hearing impairment is classified in terms of the effect of the loss on the person's ability to understand speech in everyday situations.


Mild hearing loss may cause difficulty hearing faint speech or normal speech in the presence of background music.


Moderate hearing loss may cause difficulty with speech at normal conversational levels, especially when background noise is present.


Moderately-severe hearing loss may cause difficulty hearing or understanding all but loud speech.  Speech recognition may be nearly impossible in the presence of background noise.


Severe hearing loss may cause an extreme difficulty understanding spoken words, even in quiet situations.


Profound hearing loss may cause loss of hearing even amplified sounds and is functionally deaf.