U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced legislation earlier this week that would help veterans get care for hearing loss as a result of their service.
Smith said veterans in Minnesota brought the issue to her attention and the bill aims to reduce the red tape veterans face with the VA.
Currently, veterans receiving VA benefits must document hearing loss or tinnitus incurred while in the line of duty in order to qualify for benefits when seeking treatment.
However, many veterans are not diagnosed until after they are discharged, and the VA places the burden of proof on veterans to prove the loss of hearing was a result of their time in the military.
The Veterans Hearing Benefit Act of 2022 would provide presumption for hearing loss and tinnitus to veterans who served in combat or in a military specialty where they were exposed to repeated loud noises, such as those who worked around heavy artillery, thus making it easier for veterans to establish service-connection and get the benefits they’ve earned.
The bill would also amend the Schedule for Rating Disabilities to help veterans get hearing aids if they need them.