What Is Meneire’s Disease?
Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that can cause dizzy spells (vertigo) and hearing loss. Abnormal fluid buildup in the ear appears to be the most likely cause of Meniere’s, but there are multiple possible causes for that fluid buildup. Factors that can affect the fluid of the inner ear which might contribute to the development of Meniere’s disease are improper fluid drainage, abnormal immune response, viral infection, or genetic predisposition. For many veterans, their Meniere’s disease is due to noise exposure during military service that caused damage to the inner ear, thus affecting its ability to properly drain fluid. In most cases, Meniere’s disease only affects one ear.
The most common symptoms of Meniere’s disease are recurring episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and the feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear. Of the symptoms associated with Meniere’s, vertigo tends to be the most severe and have the greatest impact on an individual’s life. Episodes of vertigo can last 20 minutes to several hours and can cause nausea and falls, leading to possible injuries. For many veterans, their Meniere’s disease also occurs alongside a case of tinnitus, which is the presence of intermittent or constant ringing in the ears.
How Does The VA Rate Meniere’s Disease?
Under 38 CFR § 4.87, the VA rates Meniere’s disease based on the severity of the condition and how detrimentally it impacts the veteran’s daily life.
Diagnostic Code 6205: Meniere’s syndrome (endolymphatic hydrops)
- 100 – Hearing impairment with attacks of vertigo and cerebellar gait occurring more than once weekly, with or without tinnitus
- 60 – Hearing impairment with attacks of vertigo and cerebellar gait occurring from one to four times a month, with or without tinnitus
- 30 – Hearing impairment with vertigo less than once a month, with or without tinnitus
The VA evaluates Meniere’s disease using either the above rating schedule, or it will individually evaluate each symptom of the disorder, including vertigo (DC 6204), hearing impairment, and tinnitus (DC 6260). VA decision makers are required to use whichever method of rating yields the highest overall schedular disability rating.
Get Assistance With Your VA Claim For Meniere’s Disease
For veterans looking to apply for service connection for Meniere’s disease, or those seeking an increase in their schedular disability rating for Meniere’s, please contact our office today.