Citation Nr: 18154113
Decision Date: 11/29/18	Archive Date: 11/29/18

DOCKET NO. 17-60 424
DATE:	November 29, 2018
Service connection for tinnitus is remanded.
The Veteran had active service from January 1984 to March 1985.
This matter comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) from a July 2017 rating decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regional office (RO).
1. Tinnitus
The Veteran seeks service connection for tinnitus.  In his November 2017 substantive appeal, VA Form 9, the Veteran reported that he served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves (USMCR) as a drilling reservist in motor transport until October 1989.  During this period, he was exposed to noise from military vehicles and weapons.  He stated that his tinnitus started shortly after discharge from service.  Notably, personnel records from his period of service with the USMCR have not been associated with the claims file.  On remand, attempts must be made to obtain these records for review. 
Additionally, the Veteran had a compensation and pension examination in June 2017.  The Veteran reported that his tinnitus started in 1990, shortly after his discharge from the USMCR.  The examiner found no nexus to service, in part, because the disability started approximately five years after separation from active service.  The examiner did not consider the Veteran’s asserted acoustic trauma injuries that occurred during periods of ACDUTRA or INACDUTRA while serving with the USMCR.  On remand, an addendum opinion should be obtained addressing whether the Veteran’s tinnitus is related to acoustic trauma injuries sustained during his period of service with the USMCR. 
The matter is REMANDED for the following actions:
1. Obtain the Veteran’s complete service personnel records, to include all documents pertaining to his service in the Reserves.  Verify all active duty for training and inactive duty training dates for alleged service in the Reserves from 1985 to 1989.  If necessary, a request should be made to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).  Document all requests for information as well as all responses in the claims file.
2. Obtain an addendum opinion from the June 2017 examiner or another appropriate clinician regarding whether the Veteran’s tinnitus is at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) related to asserted acoustic trauma injury sustained during his period of service with the USMCR.  
The examiner must be provided access to the electronic claims file and indicate review of the claims file in the examination report.  
The examiner must consider the Veteran’s lay statements concerning the onset of his symptoms and provide a rationale in support of the opinion provided.
If the examiner cannot provide the opinion without examining the Veteran, then an examination must be scheduled.
3. Thereafter, readjudicate the matter on appeal.  If the benefit sought is not granted, issue a Supplemental Statement of the Case and afford the Veteran and his representative an appropriate opportunity to respond.  The case should then be returned to the Board as warranted.
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals

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