1) Since I was sent for another hearing exam after the evidence was being reviewed stage can I assume that the SC aspect was not an issue?
Do not assume service connection is not an issue. Exams are ordered for specific reasons: to evaluate if the Veteran has a current diagnosis of the claimed condition, to determine if the Veteran's current condition is caused by or due to his/her military service, and to get a nexus linking the Veterans current condition to their military service.
you may have had to go to another exam for a variety of reasons.- the first examiner may not have reviewed your cfile, they may not have addressed tinnitus like they were suppose to, they may have never released the exam and the RO could not get the report and it had to be re-done, the examiner may have been on leave or no longer is employed by VA and never released your exam- there may have been conflicting report of findings that needed clarification, she may have stated her opinion would be speculative - on and on there are so many reasons to be reexamined. Apparently, the VSR or rater needed something to help decide your claim.
2) My claim was for Hearing Loss, but the VES examiner also checked out my tinnitus and asked asked a lot of question with regard to the tinnitus. Do i need to file a seperate claim for the tinnitus?
The DBQ Audio examination which is mandatory for the examiner to complete, also includes a section for tiniitus. Tinnitus is automatically addressed whether or not it is claimed by the Veteran. If at the time of the exam you tell the examiner you suffer from tinnitus, the examiner will provide his opinion whether or not your current tinnitus is related to your military service, and provide the usual, is less likely than not related to military service, or as likely as not related to military service. If you tell the examiner you do not have tinnitus, the examiner will note on the DBQ exam you have no complaints of tinnitus.
The raters will look at the DBQ. If the examiner says less likely than not related to military service, tinnitus will not be addressed in the decision. If the examiner says you have tinnitus and it is more likely than not related to your service, you will be service connected for tinnitus without ever filing a claim.
3) If I file for tinnitus will it slow my current claim decision?
You do not need to file a claim for this now. It was addressed at the time of your examination. If you file a claim, the VSRs have to send you new due process letters of acknowledgement, and yes it will slow your claim down.
4) I am not using a VSO for this claim, should I get VSO support at this stage?
Personally, I am not in favor of VSO representation however, there are some good ones and some not so good. I find HADIT to be very good at providing advise over the years and there is more knowledge on this board than you will ever get from a 15 minute visit with a VSO. Per advise from HADIT I asked my original VSO to send in my claim for IU, with my original claim for compensation. She did not do it, as a matter of fact- she lied to me and said she did. When my rating was completed, IU was not addressed even though I was 60% for one condition and eligible for IU. I submitted the IU paperwork on my own, and within six months I had IU, but my effective date has been on appeal since 2010. So I do not trust VSOs to do what you ask them to do, they seem to think they know more than we do, which is not always the case. I have always used this website for my own VA compensation claims.- jmho
Edited by harleyman, 20 July 2013 - 03:25 PM.