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Smith Bill Would Ease Access to Vets’ Hearing Treatment

Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith has introduced federal legislation that she says would make it easier for veterans with hearing loss get treatment.

Right now, vets with hearing loss have to prove that the condition was caused by their work in the service.  Smith’s bill would change regulations to presume that vets’ hearing loss was caused by their service if they were in combat or in a specialty role with exposure to repeated loud noises.

“There’s a real problem with vets who experience hearing loss related to their service, but they had to jump through all sorts of hoops in order to get treatment for their hearing loss.  That’s what led me to introduce this bill, which says, really simply, you served our country, if you have a hearing loss related to your service you ought to know that we’re going to stand by you and make sure that you get treatment,” Smith said in an interview with WDIO-TV.

Smith, a Democrat, is seeking co-sponsors for her bill, the “Veterans Hearing Benefit Act,” in the Senate.  A companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Nydia Velazuez (D-New York).

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