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5.6.4 Reassessment of Tinnitus
Where a person, before the introduction of the policy requiring the use of objective testing (i.e. the TFI or similar), already attained an impairment rating of 15 points for tinnitus (being the maximum points available under GARP), the Department’s approach is that no further testing or investigation is necessary.
A similar principle applies where a person, before the introduction of the policy requiring the use of objective testing, was rated at 5 or 10 points. Where the veteran subsequently requests a reassessment for MRCA PI purposes, then the condition is subject to a reassessment, and the Department should use the current testing guidelines to re-examine the condition.
If, upon reassessment, the evidence indicates the veteran’s impairment would be assessed under the TFI or similar below the level at which they were previously determined, the Department’s approach is that the rating for tinnitus should remain at the existing level and not reduced.
This non-reduction approach is to acknowledge that tinnitus was deemed permanent and stable on the evidence at the previously assessed level based on the policy around tinnitus assessments in force at the time. Due to the nature of tinnitus, a veteran’s perception and reaction to tinnitus may fluctuate, but it can never be eliminated.
In summary, if upon reassessment the delegate finds the impairment has fallen below the previous rating, the Department should use the previous rating and not reduce the rating.