Veteranclaims’s Blog

November 18, 2022

Single Judge Application; VA’s standards for adjudicating hearing loss claims, which presumes that military audiograms performed before 1969 used ASA standards and those after used ISO-ANSI; See VA ADJUDICATION PROCEDURES MANUAL, M21-1, pt. III, subpt. iv, ch. 4, sec. D.2.c,
http://www.knowva.ebenefits.va.gov (Feb. 12, 2020);

Designated for electronic publication only
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS
No. 21-6339
DONALD HARRIS, APPELLANT,
V.
DENIS MCDONOUGH,
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
Before LAURER, Judge.
MEMORANDUM DECISION
Note: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a),
this action may not be cited as precedent.
LAURER, Judge: United States Army veteran Donald Harris appeals, through counsel, a
June 14, 2021, Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) decision denying service connection for
bilateral hearing loss.1
Appellant presents two issues on appeal. First, he argues that the Board failed to consider
lay evidence that he has had continuous symptoms of hearing loss since service.2 Second, appellant
asserts that the Board relied on inadequate VA compensation and pension (C&P) opinions.3
The Court holds that the Board sufficiently supported its denial of service connection.
Appellant cites no evidence supporting his contention that he suffered continuous symptoms since
service. At best, he seeks to modify his statements or their context to change their meanings in
support of his current arguments. The Court also concludes that the July 2015 and July 2020 C&P
opinions are adequate and that the Board acceptably explained why it relied on them. Thus, the
Court will affirm the Board’s decision.
1 Record (R.) at 5-10; Appellant’s Brief (Br.) a t 1.
2 Appella nt’s Br. a t 8-15.
3 Appella nt’s Br. a t 15-20.
2
I. ANALYSIS
A. Legal Landscape
Establishing service connection generally requires evidence of (1) a current disability, (2)
incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury in service, and (3) a nexus between the claimed
in-service disease or injury and the current disability.4 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(b) relaxes the nexus
requirement for veterans suffering from certain chronic diseases such as sensorineural hearing
loss.5 In such cases, § 3.303(b) provides alternative methods of establishing service connection,
including continuity of symptomatology.6
To establish service connection for a chronic condition based on continuity of
symptomatology, a claimant must show (1) that a condition was “noted” during service, (2)
evidence of postservice continuity of symptoms, and (3) medical or, in some cases, lay evidence
of a link between the present disability and the continuity of symptoms. 7
The Board must support all legal conclusions and factual determinations with an adequate
statement of reasons or bases that enables appellant to understand the precise basis for its decision
and facilitates this Court’s review. 8 To satisfy this requirement, the Board must account for
evidence it finds persuasive or unpersuasive, analyze the credibility and probative value of relevant
evidence, and provide reasons for rejecting any evidence favorable to appellant. 9 The Court
reviews the Board’s factual findings for clear error10 and may overturn the Board’s factual findings
only if they have no plausible basis in the record and the Court is “left with the definite and firm
conviction” that the Board’s decision was in error.11
4 See Holton v. Shinseki, 557 F.3d 1362, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2009); Shedden v. Principi, 381 F.3d 1163, 1166-
67 (Fed. Cir. 2004); 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(a) (2022).
5 See Caluza v. Brown, 7 Vet.App. 498, 506 (1995), aff’d per curiam 78 F.3d 604 (Fed. Cir. 1996) (table);
see also Walker v. Shinseki, 708 F.3d 1331 (Fed. Cir. 2013); Fountain v. McDonald, 27 Vet.App. 258, 264 (2015)
(noting that, as organic diseases of the nervous system, sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus may be service
connected under § 3.303(b)); 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(b).
6 See 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(b).
7 Walker v. Shinseki, 708 F.3d 1331, 1340 (Fed. Cir. 2013).
8 Allday v. Brown, 7 Vet.App. 517, 527 (1995).
9 Caluza, 7 Vet.App. at 506.
10 See 38 U.S.C. § 7261(a)(4); Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 49, 53 (1990).
11 See Gilbert, 1 Vet.App. at 52 (quoting United States v. United States Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395
(1948)).
3
B. Continuity of Symptoms
The Board considered whether appellant was entitled to service connection for hearing loss
as a chronic disability.12 It noted that appellant provided lay statements about in-service noise
exposure, but the Board found that he never made statements “indicating that he has experienced
symptoms of hearing loss continuously since active duty service” and that the record showed the
onset of appellant’s symptoms happening more than 30 years after discharge.13
Appellant disputes the Board’s conclusion that he didn’t complain of continuous
symptoms, but the Court finds his argument unpersuasive. First, appellant appears to say that in a
March 2018 decision, the Board found him credible to report on continuity of symptomatology.14
But appellant misconstrues that Board decision. The Board made that positive credibility finding
about continuous symptoms when adjudicating appellant’s claim for tinnitus, which it granted in
the March 2018 decision.15 In the section of the Board decision adjudicating hearing loss, the
Board made no such finding.16 The Board’s finding about different symptoms when adjudicating
a different claim aren’t relevant to the decision on appeal.
Second, and more importantly, appellant identifies no statement that supports his assertion
of having continuous hearing loss symptoms since service. Appellant cites an October 3, 2018,
statement that during his exit physical, he told the specialist about “hearing trouble.” 17 In
appellant’s June 2015 and June 2020 C&P exams, he described the functional impact of his hearing
loss, including difficulty hearing conversations, difficulty hearing in crowds, and the need to keep
television and phone volumes louder than normal.18 And, in a May 2011 statement, appellant’s
wife detailed the functional impact of appellant’s hearing loss and the problems it causes in their
relationship.19 But none of this evidence supports a history of hearing loss since service. Appellant
generally describes reporting “hearing trouble” at separation, then cites three times when he
12 R. at 9.
13 Id.
14 Appella nt’s Br. a t 10.
15 R. at 295-301.
16 R. at 299-301.
17 R. at 259-60.
18 R. at 122, 329.
19 R. at 422.
4
detailed the effect of hearing loss after its onset in 2005. Nothing in these statements describes
historical symptoms or suggests that appellant has had consistent hearing loss symptoms since
service.
Appellant also highlights an October 19, 2020, statement he made in response to the VA
regional office’s July 2020 Statement of the Case. He stated “I totally disagree with your findings
about my bilateral hearing loss due to my service as a field artillery [military occupational
specialty]. This is real and I along with my family suffer from it every [] day of my life.” 20
Appellant’s counsel asserted that appellant’s use of the term “every day” should be read meaning
“since military service.”21 But nothing in appellant’s statement supports that interpretation. It’s
written in the present tense and makes no historical references. And, despite appellant’s assertion,
the Board’s interpretation of appellant’s use of a different term from a different statement while
adjudicating a separate case simply isn’t relevant here.22
At best, appellant disagrees with the Board’s interpretation of his lay statements. But the
record supports the Board’s conclusion that those statements described current symptoms and not
historical symptoms since service. So appellant proves no clear error in the Board’s decision. 23
C. Compensation and Pension Opinions
The Board relied on July 2015 and July 2020 C&P opinions to deny service connection on
a direct basis.24 The July 2015 examiner opined that it was less likely than not that appellant’s
hearing loss related to his in-service noise exposure because appellant left service with normal
hearing and had no significant shifts in hearing thresholds during service. 25 The July 2020
examiner conceded that appellant had “hazardous noise exposure” in service, but she opined that
appellant’s hearing loss was less likely than not related to service because he had normal hearing
with no significant threshold shifts at separation and had a history of noise exposure since he left
service and became a civilian.26 In an addendum that same month, the July 2020 examiner
20 R. at 20.
21 Appella nt’s Br. a t 11.
22 See id.
23 See Gilbert, 1 Vet.App. at 52; see also Hilkert v. West, 12 Vet.App. 145, 151 (1999) (en banc) (holding
that appellant bears the burden of proving error on appeal), aff’d per curiam, 232 F.3d 908 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (table).
24 R. at 8-9.
25 R. at 8; 333-35.
26 R. at 121.
5
explained that appellant likely had normal hearing when entering service, and she reiterated that
appellant had no hearing loss or significant threshold shifts when leaving service. 27 She opined
that appellant’s current hearing loss was “most consistent with a pattern seen in age -related hearing
loss” and that hearing loss was less than likely related to service because of appellant’s normal
hearing at separation and the time between his separation and the onset of his hearing loss.28
Appellant first contends that the C&P opinions are inadequate because they failed to
address the different testing standards in appellant’s in -service audiograms and because it was
unclear which audiograms the examiners compared.29 But the July 2020 C&P exam and opinion
resolve both concerns. The examiner explained that there were three sets of audiometric test
results, one on entrance in September 1971,30 one near the end of service in May 1973 that was
only in “graphical representation,” 31 and one on separation in June 1973. 32 This description
matches the examiner’s opinion and the record.
What’s more, the July 2020 examiner stated that the May 1973 military audiogram was
obtained in American Standards Association (ASA) standards, so she converted it to the standards
used by the International Standards Organization–American National Standards Institute (ISOANSI)
for comparison.33 The examiner also noted that the June 1973 audiogram was already in
ISO-ANSI standards.34 Finally, the examiner found that no standards were listed on the September
1971 entrance exam but that ISO-ANSI standards “are presumed unless otherwise documented.”35
This aligns with VA’s standards for adjudicating hearing loss claims, which presumes that military
audiograms performed before 1969 used ASA standards and those after used ISO-ANSI
.36 So
despite appellant’s contentions, the Court determines that the July 2020 examiner reasonably
27 R. at 104.
28 Id.
29 Appella nt’s Br. a t 16-19.
30 R. at 113, 442, 444.
31 R. at 113, 443.
32 R. at 113, 440.
33 R. at 113.
34 Id.
35 Id.
36 See VA ADJUDICATION PROCEDURES MANUAL, M21-1, pt. III, subpt. iv, ch. 4, sec. D.2.c,
http://www.knowva.ebenefits.va.gov (Feb. 12, 2020)
.
6
explained which audiometric data she reviewed, what standards that data relied on, and that she
converted the data when required.
Appellant next asserts that the July 2020 opinion is flawed because the examiner’s rationale
resembled that of an adjudicator, not a medical examiner.37 It is true that medical examiners and
adjudicators have distinct roles,38 but the examiner’s word choice alone doesn’t render an opinion
inadequate.39 The examiner gave a medical opinion supported by rationale that allowed the Board
to understand the medical issue; the examiner’s mere discussion of the 1-year presumptive period
after separation doesn’t undermine that opinion.40
Appellant also argues that the C&P examiners erred by not addressing his lay statements
that he had an in-service onset of hearing loss.41 Though appellant doesn’t identify what statements
these are, the only evidence that might support his argument is the October 3, 2018, statement that
during his exit physical, he told the specialist about “hearing trouble.”42 But that vague statement
differs from reporting an onset of hearing loss in service.43 As noted, appellant is service connected
for tinnitus that he experienced since service. No statement appellant has cited undermines the
examiner’s rationale or supports an earlier onset or continuity of symptoms, so the examiner didn’t
need to address those statements.44
Last, appellant appears to generally disagree with the July 2020 examiner’s conclusions
about the evidence. Appellant contends that the examiner should have modified her opinion when
the Board requested an addendum with “more data.” 45 That mere disagreement with the
37 Appella nt’s Br. a t 18.
38 See 38 C.F.R. § 4.2 (2022) (“It is the responsibility of the rating specialist to interpret the reports of
examination in light of the whole recorded history, reconciling the various reports into a consistent picture so that the
current rating may accurately reflect the elements of disability present”); see also Moore v. Nicholson, 21 Vet.App.
211, 218 (2007), rev’d on other grounds sub nom. Moore v. Shinseki, 555 F.3d 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2009).
39 See Ardison v. Brown, 6 Vet.App. 405, 407 (1994) (explaining that an adequate medical exam or opinion
must reflect the veteran’s prior medical history a nd describe his or her condition with a level of detail that allows the
Board to make a fully informed decision on the relevant medical question).
40 See id.
41 Appella nt’s Br. a t 19.
42 R. at 259-60.
43 See R. at 296-99.
44 See Miller v. Wilkie, 32 Vet.App. 249, 258 (2020) (instructing that a medical examiner must address
relevant lay statements).
45 Appella nt’s Br. a t 19.
7
examiner’s interpretation of evidence can’t prove any legal error.46 Appellant also disputes the
examiners’ characterization of his noise exposure since becoming a civilian, but this again is a
disagreement with how the examiner analyzed the evidence. And neither the July 2015 nor July
2020 examiner relied solely on that factor. Indeed, both examiners relied mainly on appellant’s
normal separation exam and the extensive time before the reported onset of symptoms.47
Finally, appellant makes two undeveloped and unsupported assertions of error. He argues
that the Board “failed to address the inconsistencies of the articles cited by the examiner before
basing its decision on them.” 48 But appellant doesn’t clarify which exam or articles he is
contesting, identifies no inconsistencies, and cites no law or evidence in the record.49 Appellant
also asserts that the “audiological examinations conducted while he was in service may not be
trustworthy[.]” 50 Yet again he doesn’t explain this bare allegation and cites no law or fact to
support his claim.51 Because these arguments are undeveloped, the Court need not address them.52
The Court holds that appellant proves no error in the July 2015 or July 2020 C&P opinions
or the Board’s reliance on them.53 Because appellant has shown no error in the Board’s decision,
neither remand nor reversal is appropriate.54
II. CONCLUSION
For these reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the June 14, 2021, Board decision denying service
connection for bilateral hearing loss.
46 See Hilkert, 12 Vet.App. at 151; see also Ardison, 6 Vet.App. at 407.
47 See R. at 114, 333-35.
48 Appella nt’s Br. a t 19.
49 Id.
50 Id. at 14.
51 Id.
52 See Locklear v. Nicholson, 20 Vet.App. 410, 416 (2006) (holding tha t the Court won’t entertain
undeveloped arguments).
53 See Hilkert, 12 Vet.App. at 151.
54 Id.
8
DATED: October 28, 2022
Copies to:
Augusta Siribuo, Esq.
VA General Counsel (027)

Designated for electronic publication only
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS
No. 21-6339
DONALD HARRIS, APPELLANT,
V.
DENIS MCDONOUGH,
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
Before LAURER, Judge.
MEMORANDUM DECISION
Note: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a),
this action may not be cited as precedent.
LAURER, Judge: United States Army veteran Donald Harris appeals, through counsel, a
June 14, 2021, Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) decision denying service connection for
bilateral hearing loss.1
Appellant presents two issues on appeal. First, he argues that the Board failed to consider
lay evidence that he has had continuous symptoms of hearing loss since service.2 Second, appellant
asserts that the Board relied on inadequate VA compensation and pension (C&P) opinions.3
The Court holds that the Board sufficiently supported its denial of service connection.
Appellant cites no evidence supporting his contention that he suffered continuous symptoms since
service. At best, he seeks to modify his statements or their context to change their meanings in
support of his current arguments. The Court also concludes that the July 2015 and July 2020 C&P
opinions are adequate and that the Board acceptably explained why it relied on them. Thus, the
Court will affirm the Board’s decision.
1 Record (R.) at 5-10; Appellant’s Brief (Br.) a t 1.
2 Appella nt’s Br. a t 8-15.
3 Appella nt’s Br. a t 15-20.
2
I. ANALYSIS
A. Legal Landscape
Establishing service connection generally requires evidence of (1) a current disability, (2)
incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury in service, and (3) a nexus between the claimed
in-service disease or injury and the current disability.4 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(b) relaxes the nexus
requirement for veterans suffering from certain chronic diseases such as sensorineural hearing
loss.5 In such cases, § 3.303(b) provides alternative methods of establishing service connection,
including continuity of symptomatology.6
To establish service connection for a chronic condition based on continuity of
symptomatology, a claimant must show (1) that a condition was “noted” during service, (2)
evidence of postservice continuity of symptoms, and (3) medical or, in some cases, lay evidence
of a link between the present disability and the continuity of symptoms. 7
The Board must support all legal conclusions and factual determinations with an adequate
statement of reasons or bases that enables appellant to understand the precise basis for its decision
and facilitates this Court’s review. 8 To satisfy this requirement, the Board must account for
evidence it finds persuasive or unpersuasive, analyze the credibility and probative value of relevant
evidence, and provide reasons for rejecting any evidence favorable to appellant. 9 The Court
reviews the Board’s factual findings for clear error10 and may overturn the Board’s factual findings
only if they have no plausible basis in the record and the Court is “left with the definite and firm
conviction” that the Board’s decision was in error.11
4 See Holton v. Shinseki, 557 F.3d 1362, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2009); Shedden v. Principi, 381 F.3d 1163, 1166-
67 (Fed. Cir. 2004); 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(a) (2022).
5 See Caluza v. Brown, 7 Vet.App. 498, 506 (1995), aff’d per curiam 78 F.3d 604 (Fed. Cir. 1996) (table);
see also Walker v. Shinseki, 708 F.3d 1331 (Fed. Cir. 2013); Fountain v. McDonald, 27 Vet.App. 258, 264 (2015)
(noting that, as organic diseases of the nervous system, sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus may be service
connected under § 3.303(b)); 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(b).
6 See 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(b).
7 Walker v. Shinseki, 708 F.3d 1331, 1340 (Fed. Cir. 2013).
8 Allday v. Brown, 7 Vet.App. 517, 527 (1995).
9 Caluza, 7 Vet.App. at 506.
10 See 38 U.S.C. § 7261(a)(4); Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 49, 53 (1990).
11 See Gilbert, 1 Vet.App. at 52 (quoting United States v. United States Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395
(1948)).
3
B. Continuity of Symptoms
The Board considered whether appellant was entitled to service connection for hearing loss
as a chronic disability.12 It noted that appellant provided lay statements about in-service noise
exposure, but the Board found that he never made statements “indicating that he has experienced
symptoms of hearing loss continuously since active duty service” and that the record showed the
onset of appellant’s symptoms happening more than 30 years after discharge.13
Appellant disputes the Board’s conclusion that he didn’t complain of continuous
symptoms, but the Court finds his argument unpersuasive. First, appellant appears to say that in a
March 2018 decision, the Board found him credible to report on continuity of symptomatology.14
But appellant misconstrues that Board decision. The Board made that positive credibility finding
about continuous symptoms when adjudicating appellant’s claim for tinnitus, which it granted in
the March 2018 decision.15 In the section of the Board decision adjudicating hearing loss, the
Board made no such finding.16 The Board’s finding about different symptoms when adjudicating
a different claim aren’t relevant to the decision on appeal.
Second, and more importantly, appellant identifies no statement that supports his assertion
of having continuous hearing loss symptoms since service. Appellant cites an October 3, 2018,
statement that during his exit physical, he told the specialist about “hearing trouble.” 17 In
appellant’s June 2015 and June 2020 C&P exams, he described the functional impact of his hearing
loss, including difficulty hearing conversations, difficulty hearing in crowds, and the need to keep
television and phone volumes louder than normal.18 And, in a May 2011 statement, appellant’s
wife detailed the functional impact of appellant’s hearing loss and the problems it causes in their
relationship.19 But none of this evidence supports a history of hearing loss since service. Appellant
generally describes reporting “hearing trouble” at separation, then cites three times when he
12 R. at 9.
13 Id.
14 Appella nt’s Br. a t 10.
15 R. at 295-301.
16 R. at 299-301.
17 R. at 259-60.
18 R. at 122, 329.
19 R. at 422.
4
detailed the effect of hearing loss after its onset in 2005. Nothing in these statements describes
historical symptoms or suggests that appellant has had consistent hearing loss symptoms since
service.
Appellant also highlights an October 19, 2020, statement he made in response to the VA
regional office’s July 2020 Statement of the Case. He stated “I totally disagree with your findings
about my bilateral hearing loss due to my service as a field artillery [military occupational
specialty]. This is real and I along with my family suffer from it every [] day of my life.” 20
Appellant’s counsel asserted that appellant’s use of the term “every day” should be read meaning
“since military service.”21 But nothing in appellant’s statement supports that interpretation. It’s
written in the present tense and makes no historical references. And, despite appellant’s assertion,
the Board’s interpretation of appellant’s use of a different term from a different statement while
adjudicating a separate case simply isn’t relevant here.22
At best, appellant disagrees with the Board’s interpretation of his lay statements. But the
record supports the Board’s conclusion that those statements described current symptoms and not
historical symptoms since service. So appellant proves no clear error in the Board’s decision. 23
C. Compensation and Pension Opinions
The Board relied on July 2015 and July 2020 C&P opinions to deny service connection on
a direct basis.24 The July 2015 examiner opined that it was less likely than not that appellant’s
hearing loss related to his in-service noise exposure because appellant left service with normal
hearing and had no significant shifts in hearing thresholds during service. 25 The July 2020
examiner conceded that appellant had “hazardous noise exposure” in service, but she opined that
appellant’s hearing loss was less likely than not related to service because he had normal hearing
with no significant threshold shifts at separation and had a history of noise exposure since he left
service and became a civilian.26 In an addendum that same month, the July 2020 examiner
20 R. at 20.
21 Appella nt’s Br. a t 11.
22 See id.
23 See Gilbert, 1 Vet.App. at 52; see also Hilkert v. West, 12 Vet.App. 145, 151 (1999) (en banc) (holding
that appellant bears the burden of proving error on appeal), aff’d per curiam, 232 F.3d 908 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (table).
24 R. at 8-9.
25 R. at 8; 333-35.
26 R. at 121.
5
explained that appellant likely had normal hearing when entering service, and she reiterated that
appellant had no hearing loss or significant threshold shifts when leaving service. 27 She opined
that appellant’s current hearing loss was “most consistent with a pattern seen in age -related hearing
loss” and that hearing loss was less than likely related to service because of appellant’s normal
hearing at separation and the time between his separation and the onset of his hearing loss.28
Appellant first contends that the C&P opinions are inadequate because they failed to
address the different testing standards in appellant’s in -service audiograms and because it was
unclear which audiograms the examiners compared.29 But the July 2020 C&P exam and opinion
resolve both concerns. The examiner explained that there were three sets of audiometric test
results, one on entrance in September 1971,30 one near the end of service in May 1973 that was
only in “graphical representation,” 31 and one on separation in June 1973. 32 This description
matches the examiner’s opinion and the record.
What’s more, the July 2020 examiner stated that the May 1973 military audiogram was
obtained in American Standards Association (ASA) standards, so she converted it to the standards
used by the International Standards Organization–American National Standards Institute (ISOANSI)
for comparison.33 The examiner also noted that the June 1973 audiogram was already in
ISO-ANSI standards.34 Finally, the examiner found that no standards were listed on the September
1971 entrance exam but that ISO-ANSI standards “are presumed unless otherwise documented.”35
This aligns with VA’s standards for adjudicating hearing loss claims, which presumes that military
audiograms performed before 1969 used ASA standards and those after used ISO-ANSI.36 So
despite appellant’s contentions, the Court determines that the July 2020 examiner reasonably
27 R. at 104.
28 Id.
29 Appella nt’s Br. a t 16-19.
30 R. at 113, 442, 444.
31 R. at 113, 443.
32 R. at 113, 440.
33 R. at 113.
34 Id.
35 Id.
36 See VA ADJUDICATION PROCEDURES MANUAL, M21-1, pt. III, subpt. iv, ch. 4, sec. D.2.c,
http://www.knowva.ebenefits.va.gov (Feb. 12, 2020).
6
explained which audiometric data she reviewed, what standards that data relied on, and that she
converted the data when required.
Appellant next asserts that the July 2020 opinion is flawed because the examiner’s rationale
resembled that of an adjudicator, not a medical examiner.37 It is true that medical examiners and
adjudicators have distinct roles,38 but the examiner’s word choice alone doesn’t render an opinion
inadequate.39 The examiner gave a medical opinion supported by rationale that allowed the Board
to understand the medical issue; the examiner’s mere discussion of the 1-year presumptive period
after separation doesn’t undermine that opinion.40
Appellant also argues that the C&P examiners erred by not addressing his lay statements
that he had an in-service onset of hearing loss.41 Though appellant doesn’t identify what statements
these are, the only evidence that might support his argument is the October 3, 2018, statement that
during his exit physical, he told the specialist about “hearing trouble.”42 But that vague statement
differs from reporting an onset of hearing loss in service.43 As noted, appellant is service connected
for tinnitus that he experienced since service. No statement appellant has cited undermines the
examiner’s rationale or supports an earlier onset or continuity of symptoms, so the examiner didn’t
need to address those statements.44
Last, appellant appears to generally disagree with the July 2020 examiner’s conclusions
about the evidence. Appellant contends that the examiner should have modified her opinion when
the Board requested an addendum with “more data.” 45 That mere disagreement with the
37 Appella nt’s Br. a t 18.
38 See 38 C.F.R. § 4.2 (2022) (“It is the responsibility of the rating specialist to interpret the reports of
examination in light of the whole recorded history, reconciling the various reports into a consistent picture so that the
current rating may accurately reflect the elements of disability present”); see also Moore v. Nicholson, 21 Vet.App.
211, 218 (2007), rev’d on other grounds sub nom. Moore v. Shinseki, 555 F.3d 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2009).
39 See Ardison v. Brown, 6 Vet.App. 405, 407 (1994) (explaining that an adequate medical exam or opinion
must reflect the veteran’s prior medical history a nd describe his or her condition with a level of detail that allows the
Board to make a fully informed decision on the relevant medical question).
40 See id.
41 Appella nt’s Br. a t 19.
42 R. at 259-60.
43 See R. at 296-99.
44 See Miller v. Wilkie, 32 Vet.App. 249, 258 (2020) (instructing that a medical examiner must address
relevant lay statements).
45 Appella nt’s Br. a t 19.
7
examiner’s interpretation of evidence can’t prove any legal error.46 Appellant also disputes the
examiners’ characterization of his noise exposure since becoming a civilian, but this again is a
disagreement with how the examiner analyzed the evidence. And neither the July 2015 nor July
2020 examiner relied solely on that factor. Indeed, both examiners relied mainly on appellant’s
normal separation exam and the extensive time before the reported onset of symptoms.47
Finally, appellant makes two undeveloped and unsupported assertions of error. He argues
that the Board “failed to address the inconsistencies of the articles cited by the examiner before
basing its decision on them.” 48 But appellant doesn’t clarify which exam or articles he is
contesting, identifies no inconsistencies, and cites no law or evidence in the record.49 Appellant
also asserts that the “audiological examinations conducted while he was in service may not be
trustworthy[.]” 50 Yet again he doesn’t explain this bare allegation and cites no law or fact to
support his claim.51 Because these arguments are undeveloped, the Court need not address them.52
The Court holds that appellant proves no error in the July 2015 or July 2020 C&P opinions
or the Board’s reliance on them.53 Because appellant has shown no error in the Board’s decision,
neither remand nor reversal is appropriate.54
II. CONCLUSION
For these reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the June 14, 2021, Board decision denying service
connection for bilateral hearing loss.
46 See Hilkert, 12 Vet.App. at 151; see also Ardison, 6 Vet.App. at 407.
47 See R. at 114, 333-35.
48 Appella nt’s Br. a t 19.
49 Id.
50 Id. at 14.
51 Id.
52 See Locklear v. Nicholson, 20 Vet.App. 410, 416 (2006) (holding tha t the Court won’t entertain
undeveloped arguments).
53 See Hilkert, 12 Vet.App. at 151.
54 Id.
8
DATED: October 28, 2022
Copies to:
Augusta Siribuo, Esq.
VA General Counsel (027)

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