Antiquated Process: The Maryland CNC Word Recognition Test

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Many Veterans would agree that something failed during their audio VA compensation and pension examination. It is difficult to point out the many flaws within the system, however, I do know that Veterans viewed the examiner’s opinion of them as “incredulous”.  “I felt they did not believe me that I could not hear the word“, and “she thought I was lying“.

What is the process by which the VA evaluates if condition has gotten worse or improved? The reliability of the examiner.  

Early Period Models in New Age Technology

Did you know that the system by which the VA measures hearing loss is antiquated? The Maryland CNC Testing word recognition is no longer offered at audiologist offices across the counties. I know, I have looked.

It is only fair that a Veteran present outside unbiased medical evidence to contradict the existing VA “paid” examiner results. Only then is the evidence valid. Veterans can not argue the validity of an audiology exam when using a system that cannot be compared. The problem is that Veteran Law Judges are often unaware of the community provider faulty practices that lead to faulty claims and redundant appeals.

Per 38 CFR 4.85, The Maryland CNC testing is required to evaluate speech discrimination for VA compensation purposes. Nothing else is accepted.  To contradict a VA paid examiner results a Veteran must present an audio exam which contains the speech recognition results. Veterans are not educated in regards to what constitutes a “VA purpose” hearing loss and spend countless hours obtaining audio examinations that DO NOT contain the necessary value to change their ratings.

During a motion hearing to stop a reduction in hearing loss, the decision review officer agreed that a hearing loss does not automatically improve without medical intervention. How can a person’s hearing loss with use of hearing aids automatically increase speech recognition and threshold limits without a medical intervention. While possible, what are the chances? This Veteran’s hearing loss was being reduced from 30% to 0%.  Of course he disagreed and set out to obtain contrary evidence that his hearing loss had not improved.  VA determined that his audiogram dated 03/14/2019 was not adequate for rating purposes because it did not meet the requirements of 38 C.F.R 4.85. The community unpaid private hearing test using a word recognition reveals an “unrecordable in the right ear and 52% at 70 db in the left ear” was not considered because the test lacked the CNC Maryland testing word recognition, case was denied and he was reduced.

How is a Veteran able to supplement unbiased medical opinion if the testing models are archaic? This is an unfair practice that requires change.

Another factor impacting the results of the CNC Maryland test model making it an invalid test is the manner in which it is administered. The audiologist asks the patient to repeat a series of words. The capacity to pronounce word effectively and ask for patient to repeat should be taken into account. Some examiners often are not proficient in the English language makes it difficult for Veterans to adequately understand and repeat what they hear resulting in asking for clarification. Asking for clarification increases the provider’s frustration leading for Veterans to be left feeling “something went wrong” and leading to faulty exam results.


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