What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a balance disorder caused by an infection or diseases of the ear and inner ear. This balance disorder is very specific and can occur when you are walking or even sitting still. It is a specific type of dizziness that elicits the sensation of spinning or the world around you is spinning. It can last for hours or days and co-occurring symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, headaches, double vision, or racing heartbeat. In this blog we will touch on how the VA rates vertigo and how VA Ratings for vertigo are reached.
Common Vertigo Causes
Vertigo is usually caused by inner ear infections or diseases such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuritis, or Meniere’s disease.
- BPPV: Calcium buildup in the ear canals leading to brief dizziness; usually brought on by head trauma or moving head into certain positions.
- Vestibular neuritis: inner ear infection causing inflammation around the nerves that help the body sense balance; can include hearing loss.
- Meniere’s disease: buildup of fluid and pressure in the inner ear, often includes tinnitus and hearing loss.
- Other medical conditions and infections such as chronic suppurative otitis media, chronic otitis externa, mastoiditis and more.
VA Disability Ratings for Vertigo
The Department of Veterans Affairs bases its disability ratings for disability benefits on most vertigo issues based on the severity of symptoms, meaning it will usually assign higher ratings for more severe symptoms.
- Peripheral Vestibular Disorders: Conditions that affect the ears’ ability to sense proper body balance. Must be diagnosed (a sense of being off-balance is not enough for rating purposes). Hearing loss or liquid from the ears can be rated in addition to this rating.
- Dizziness that includes occasional staggering when walking: 30%
- Occasional dizziness: 10%
- Meniere’s disease: Also known as Meniere’s syndrome is a disorder of the inner ear affecting both hearing and balance. Must be diagnosed. Symptoms include attacks ofvertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus, and dizziness. All three can be rated separately under hearing loss, tinnitus, and peripheral vestibular disorders, or combined under Meniere’s disease as follows:
- Hearing impairment with dizziness less than once per month: 30%
- Hearing impairment with dizziness and staggering that occur one to four times a month, with or without tinnitus: 60%
- Hearing impairment with dizziness and staggering that occur more than once per week, with or without tinnitus: 100%
How Do I Establish Service Connection for Vertigo?
Once you are diagnosed, file a VA disability claim for VA benefits. A service member who served in a MOS that put them near loud engines or machinery during active duty, in combat situations, or firing weapons, even many years after the exposure, can link ear problems such as recurrent tinnitus to military service as a veteran. Ear conditions may also be secondary to other service-connected conditions so check with your doctor or health care provider for a medical opinion and file a disability claim for your medical conditions. If denied, do not hesitate to contact our law firm! We have represented veterans for over two decades and have helped many get their rightful disability compensation. VA Ratings for Vertigo and other conditions can be difficult to get right the first time so let us know!
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