I was recently awarded a combined rating of 60%. 50% for Sinusitis, 10% for hearing loss, 10% for Labrynthitis and 10% for Chronic Ear infections. VA rated the Tinnitus as 0% non-SC.
In the findings letter, there are numerous statements from doctors who have treated me that mentions hearing loss as well as the tinnitus. VA stated that the first mention of Tinnitus was 18 years after my separation from the Marine Corps and for that reason, they couldnot tie Tinnitus to my service time.
I was an AMS (Aviation Structural Mechanic) on F-4 Phantoms. The last two years of my tenure my squadron served aboard the USS Nimitiz, where I was a Cat- Checker. We performed final inpections of the aircraft just before they were catapulted off the ship. These inspections included a final walk under the A/C looking for any fuel or hydraulic leaks or anything unsafe for flight. We were also stationed within close proximity of the A/C to confirm that the aircraft engines were in afterburner. Once we gave a thumbs up - the A/C was catapulted and we prepared the next aircraft.
Anyone that has served on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier can attest to the hazards that personnel have to endure. The noise of screaming jet engines, the jet blasts can toss you overbaord of your not aware of your surroundings and the odors/smells of jet engine exhausts literally numbs your senses.
As I said, VA found the Tinnitus to be non-service connected. I have to tell you - I was shocked!! I was more concerned how I would be rated for the Sinusitis - which I also feel was attributed to the flight deck environment I described previously.
According to the VA notice letter - they even contacted the private ENT, he described to VA all the issues related to my sinus problems; the medications, the surgeries, the lack of any hearing in my right ear and the tinnitus.
Having my complete history, I was shocked to not get the Tinnitus! Especially now, knowing that I received the combined rating of 60%, had they awarded the tinnitus, would have pushed me over 70%! It is my intent to pursue a Nexus Letters from my doctor.
I've also learned from this web site that another ailment I have, may require another claim. I also have Allergic Rhinitis with polyps. This was mentioned in the VA Notification letter and it is also mentioned throughout my medical records. I didn't know when I filed the sinusitis claim that Allergic Rhinitis with polyps was different than the Sinusitis claim (left maxillary sinus cyst with extensive pan sinusitis and bilateral anstrostomy defects) (previously rated as cyst, left maxillary sinus). So it is my intent to file a new claim for the Allergic Rhinits with polyps.
Any comments or advice would be appreciated!