Is there a cure for tinnitus? This question is often asked, particularly from those whose tinnitus has caused confusion and depression.
Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for severe cases of tinnitus since it is often only a symptom of a bigger issue at play. Tinnitus, also known as Meniere's disease, is the name given to strange sounds in your ears, such as buzzing, ringing, and whistling and can be brought about by noise-induced hearing loss (a loud noise), a damaged auditory nerve, age-related hearing loss, or something more sinister. The severity of tinnitus can range from mild to severe and debilitating. Though there is tinnitus treatment to help you manage the symptoms, it isn’t always effective and the day-to-day living of patients can be severely affected by tinnitus.
Veterans from the military are at a higher risk for tinnitus and other hearing problems than civilians. In fact, tinnitus is the most common disability for veterans.
Once you find what’s causing your tinnitus, you can take steps to lessen this annoying symptom. We’re going to go over different treatments for tinnitus and how it’s diagnosed.
How Tinnitus Is Diagnosed
Tinnitus symptoms vary. However, if you hear any strange noises and endure any discomfort, you may want to visit your doctor. First, a doctor may run a few tests on you to help discover the underlying condition that’s causing your tinnitus. There are several hearing exams your doctor may use, most of these tests being subjective.
This means the results will vary from patient to patient.
In order to treat your tinnitus, it helps to know what’s causing the symptom in the first place.
Some of these tests include:
- Pure tone audiogram: To determine if the tinnitus is caused by hearing loss, a doctor may have you take a hearing exam called a pure tone audiogram. This test includes you wearing a set of headphones. Your doctor will play a variety of noises and sounds for each ear and at different frequencies and volumes. You’ll notify the doctor each time you hear the sound.
- Speech recognition test: This type of hearing exam tests your ability to hear speech and distinguish certain words. They use headphones so they can test each ear separately. Your doctor will read off a series of words at different volumes. You have to repeat the word back to them so they know you’ve heard the word properly. This determines if you can hear and understand conversations and at what level you can hear speech.
- Tympanogram: A tympanogram determines how well the mobility of the tympanic membrane and the conduction bones are, located within your middle ear. After examining your ear visually, your doctor will use a probe with a rubber tip. They insert the rubber tip of the probe into the ear they’re testing. This probe causes air pressure in your ear canal to change while you listen to low-toned noises and sounds.
There are numerous ways to end up with tinnitus. However, there’s one major cause of tinnitus in veterans and those still serving in the military.
This is noise-induced tinnitus. As a soldier, you’re exposed to prolonged loud noises, from engine rooms to the constant use of firearms and other weapons. There’s no way to avoid these constant loud noises as a soldier.
That’s why prevention is key to stop tinnitus and hearing loss before it starts. Using ear plugs is the best way to protect your ears from hearing loss and tinnitus.
Types of Tinnitus
There are a variety of causes of tinnitus which can lead to a variety of sounds. It’s different for everyone
Since there’s a variety of causes of tinnitus, there are a few different types of tinnitus.
Some of these types of tinnitus include:
- Subjective Tinnitus: Subjective tinnitus is the most commonly diagnosed tinnitus in both civilians and soldiers alike. This type of tinnitus is usually caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises. One type of subjective tinnitus includes sensory tinnitus. This means there’s a disruption in your auditory system. It can also cause you to feel unbalanced.
- Somatic Tinnitus: Somatic tinnitus is created by physical movement. It’s usually caused by muscle spasms in your neck. Instead of being caused by a sensory problem, it’s caused by some outside force.
- Objective Tinnitus: Objective tinnitus is a rare form of tinnitus. When it’s referred to as “objective,” meaning that a doctor can also hear the sounds produced in your ear with a stethoscope. These sounds usually follow in time with your heartbeat.
Treatments for Tinnitus
Unless something curable is causing your tinnitus, you may have to deal with it for the rest of your life. On the bright side, there are some treatments that can make dealing with tinnitus so much easier.
Some of these treatments include:
- Hearing aids: In most cases, if you’ve been in the military, you will have tinnitus that’s coupled with hearing loss. Hearing aids can not only help you hear, but many also find comfort from tinnitus. The more expensive hearing aids even include features for tinnitus therapy.
- White Noise: Along with hearing aids, there are other options for noise suppression. These devices can help suppress the noise in your ears. You can use a white noise machine or even a fan or air conditioner.
- Masking Devices: Masking devices fit in your ear much like a hearing aid. These devices usually create a constant signal or even tonal beats. These types of sounds mask the tinnitus sound you’re dealing with.
- Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (also known as
- TRT) is cognitive behavior therapy with the aid of a masking device. This trains you to ignore tinnitus.
- Prescription Medication: There are prescription medications that help suppress the noise produced by your tinnitus when nothing else seems to work. The two main medications prescribed for tinnitus are amitriptyline and nortriptyline.
- Alternative Medicine: Some vets find relief when using alternative medicines out there. This can include acupuncture, hypnosis, and different supplements and vitamins.
The Bottom Line
Tinnitus can be severe and make like difficult in some. There are no true cures for it, but it can be managed with different treatment options. Between you and your doctor’s professional opinion, you should find the treatment that’s best for you.
The complicated nature of the many laws, codes and
regulations in the United States isn't typically something your average citizen
knows a great deal about. There is simply too much of this type of information
to digest and often the language of this material is hard for some folks to
grasp. Aside from these deterrents, people also find comfort knowing that if a
legal issue arises, they can simply call a lawyer to help handle and explain
what's going on. Though this often works out just fine for most, there has been
a noticeable growing trend of people who are becoming more and more conscious
of what the governments laws are, and the motivations behind them.
This rise in political and legislative awareness can be attributed to a variety of factors, but one topic has perhaps stoked people's interest more so than the others. That topic is government whistleblowers and the rights and allowances private citizens have when exposing fraud or other illegal activity meant to damage the federal government. Though many people connect whistleblowing to folks like Edward Snowden, who exposed the United States and other countries of illegally spying on its citizens; however, the term can also be used to describe people who help the government.
Though the current political climate in the United States is somewhat divided, there are still active and aware individuals who seek out the governments help when they notice something illegal going on. In these instances, the Federal False Claims Act is used in order to protect and reward the person who is helping the government stop whatever illegal activity is going on.
These types of situations can happen to anyone and that is why having a concrete understanding of the Federal False Claims act is important for people to know. Thankfully, this article will give you a rundown of what this act entails and how it is used not only to help the government catch criminals, but also to protect individuals from retaliation sought by those they expose.
In order to get the clearest picture of what the Federal False Claims Act is, it's best to first know about its history. The Act was passed into law by Congress on March 2nd 1863 in response to the government becoming aware of various successful acts of fraud used to procure money from them. Basically, a whistleblower told the government that some of the companies supplying the Union army were committing fraud by selling the government moth ridden blankets and boxes of saw dust instead of guns. There were certainly many more instances of dishonest activity, which the government soon realized, and, in response, Abraham Lincoln enacted the Federal False Claims Act. This gave provisions to allow private citizens to sue those defrauding the government on its behalf. In order to persuade people to do this, the government would give the whistleblower 50% of the money recovered from the case and punish those responsible.
As time went on the United States government began to change the Federal False Claims Act by first lowering the reward amount and adding stipulations that prevented people from getting their rewards if the evidence leading to the exposure of whatever illegal activity was going on was already in the government’s possession.
These changes, made is 1943, began to dissuade people from cooperating until the act was again amended in the late 1980s when the government again became aware of widespread fraud used to swindle money from them. In this particular instance, Cold War defense contractors were drastically overcharging the government for items, but no one on the inside was willing to provide the information needed to prove it because they were afraid they would lose their jobs. To counteract this fear Congress revised the Federal False Claims Act to prevent workplace retaliation and also added a number of other stipulations that encouraged more people to cooperate with the government including getting rid of the evidence clause mentioned above. There have since been a few other amendments which were mainly in response to the growing number of fraud instances seen in the healthcare industry and wall street.
Now you're probably wondering if these changes were successful or not in the government’s attempt to persuade private citizens to help them and the answer is a resounding yes. The incentives and protections added to the Federal False Claims act were certainly not perfect. Since the 1980s, however, there have been billions of dollars recovered and in the year 2015 alone the amount was a massive $3.5 billion and that number has continued to hold steady each year.
The bulk of this money can be attributed to defense contracting companies, as well as banks, investing firms and health care. Not only have whistleblowers helped catch these fraudulent and greedy individuals, but they've also helped decrease the amount of criminal activity that some of these industries were accustomed to doing. Of course, that's not to say that these actions have all gone by the wayside, but those looking to defraud the government certainly think twice about their actions because of the Federal False Claims Act.
In closing, it's important to understand that the term whistle blower is not something to scoff at or connect to any positive or negative assumptions. It's essential for morally conscious people to expose wrong doings for the benefit of everybody. If these actions were to go unchecked our society would cease to exist. Nothing is perfect in this world and whatever your views on the government and whistleblowers are, it is still comforting to know that the Federal False Claims Act will protect you when you expose any wrongdoings. Even though some people will claim and believe that whistleblowers are only providing information to the government in hopes of getting a large monetary reward from the case, the majority of these folks simply have a value system that urges them to take action.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the Federal False Claims Act and a somewhat clearer view of what whistleblowers are. There is certainly more information available and It's important to learn about laws like these because you may find yourself needing to incorporate what you've learned here at some point in your life.
When discussing the United States judicial system and the
various laws, civil penalties, liability, justice, codes, and regulations set forth by the federal government,
you tend to get opposing viewpoints on a number of issues that these topics
invoke. While some people wholeheartedly agree with certain rules and penalties
for making a fraudulent claim, others may argue that these federal law rules
don't make sense or the punishments are too harsh. These discussions can
snowball into much larger issues when more and more people get involved and can
even boil over to the point of mass protests and civil unrest both in and out
Though these situations are somewhat few and far between, they are nonetheless an important and viable way to get unfair laws and regulations changed. No government is perfect and it's up to individuals to come together as citizens to voice displeasure in certain government actions. One such issue that has been gaining momentum and seeing an observable increase in the number of people taking notice is the False Claims Act.
While this topic may be unfamiliar to some, it's definitely in your best interest to learn about and understand the various nuances associated with this act. I say this because there has been an uproar of displeasure with some of the changes made to the False Claims Act, more specifically the penalties levied against those who are in violation of it.
This article will help guide you through these important issues as it will explain a little about the history of penalties associated with the Federal False Claims Act, how it will affect those intent to defraud and, more importantly, what is happening currently that has people protesting both in support, and disapproval of the changes being made. Not only will this information help you form an educated opinion on the topic, but it could also help protect you, or someone you know from being unfairly punished with what many believe are overly excessive penalties.
The Federal False Claims Act was enacted by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 in response to claims of fraud and corruption by businesses supplying the Union army with weapons, and other such items during the Civil War. Needing help from its citizens, the United States government passed the act, which allowed people to sue those actively defrauding the government. The government would then share the monetary damages awarded with the person who initiated the investigation and punish those responsible.
The initial Federal False Claims Act penalty was that the guilty party had to pay double what the damages were found to be, as well as a $2000 fine for each false claim submitted against them. The money received was then split equally between the government and the person who filed the suit with each party receiving half of the money awarded.
In 1943, the United States government altered the Federal False Claims Act by reducing the amount of reward money given to whistleblowers. They also added a clause which allowed them to eliminate suits filed by people based on evidence that was already in the government's possession even if they weren't currently investigating the issue. These changes severely reduced the number of people willing to cooperate with the government as the incentives to do so were simply not worth the trouble.
Similar to the initial causes for enacting the Federal False Claims Act, in the late 1980s during the height of the Cold War, inaccuracies in defense contracting spending, along with multiple claims of billing fraud, led Congress to make another round of changes to the False Claims Act. Since the incentives to file a suit on the government’s behalf was not enough to persuade people with the information needed to prove the defense contracting fraud claims were true to come forward, the government was pretty much forced to make changes.
They did and amended the act giving 15% to 30% of the monetary damages to people whose cases were successful and also gave them protection from workplace retaliation. Another significant change that was enacted during this time was that monetary penalties for those guilty of defrauding the government are now to be held responsible for treble damages and payments for each claim in the amount of anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000. For those who are unaware of what treble damages refers to, it basically means that the government can triple the amount of damages being awarded to the plaintiffs if the case meets certain criteria. These include—but aren't limited to—if the guilty party displayed willful intent in their violations and certain anti-trust and racketeering cases.
The addition of treble damages is a key reason why some people believe the government may be over-penalizing people and business who are subjected to them. To make matters worse a new round of changes in 2016 saw the False Claims Act penalties rise once again. These were not small changes as the payments for each claim was doubled from a $5,000 minimum payment to almost $11,000 and the max amount from $10,000 to $20,000.
The doubling of payments seems a bit much, but what is most concerning to people is that the treble damages clause gives the government the ability to significantly increase the amount of money it receives from those found guilty to the point of being overly excessive. In fact, there have been recent instances of judges ruling that the fines imposed on people guilty of defrauding the government were so astronomical that they were deemed unconstitutional. It's rather alarming that the government would use the False Claims Act penalties to seek monetary amounts that are vastly disproportionate to the actual damages caused.
Of course, there are always going to be those in favor of harsh penalties for every person who breaks the law and also those who believe these excessive punishments are unjustifiable. There are certainly convincing arguments for both sides and currently, the debate has garnered the attention of many concerned citizens. Hopefully, this article provided you with enough information to become involved in the debate and further investigate the subject. It's important to take an active stance on topics like this because it raises important questions regarding government abuse of power and much more.
Whistle blowers are a new type of American hero. Qui tam lawsuits were created to ensure whistle blower protection (also called relators in court) so they can come forward about others who defraud the government.
When a whistleblower comes forward with information
and knowledge that someone is defrauding the government, they are protected
If a company retaliates against a whistleblower
lawsuit, the whistleblower can take the company or person to court for further
Qui tam is a shortened version of the Latin phrase, qui
tampro domino regequam pro se ipso in hacparte sequitur,
which roughly translates as “he who brings an action for the king as well as
for himself.” These people are important in helping the U.S. Treasury retrieve
money they were defrauded from.
Today is a great day to discuss the intricacies of qui tam lawsuits, from who can file a qui tam lawsuit to the steps it takes to get the lawsuit to court against a fraudulent claim, such as government fraud.
What Is the False Claims Act?
Qui tam is a provision under the False Claims Act which is also called Lincoln’s Law by some. So, what exactly does the False Claims Act do and why was it enacted in the first place?
The False Claims Act was created during the Civil
War by Abraham Lincoln so suppliers couldn’t commit fraud against the Union
Army after being defrauded constantly. It was enacted on March 2, 1863.
In 1943, the act was revised to lessen the monetary
reward that whistleblowers were awarded when the government received the stolen
money back. This deterred people from coming forward.
Then, in 1986, it was revised again and more
amendments were added. This time whistleblowers who brought forth a winning
case against someone defrauding the government were awarded 15–30% of the money
the government got back.
What Are the Most Common Ways People Defraud the Government?
There are several types of actions that can be considered fraud under the False Claims Act.
Sneaky and dishonest companies and people have found every way possible to con
the government throughfraudulent activity and other violations in order to line
their pockets with unearned money and should face hefty civil penalties.
A few types of fraud include:
- Defense Contractor Fraud: Defense contractor fraud is fraud committed by a defense contractor that was hired by the government. The government hires defense contractors all the time for various services. They can commit fraud by overcharging for goods or services, charging the government for services that weren’t provided, not following the conditions of the contract between the two, and claiming they’re purchasing American goods and parts when they aren’t.
- Finance Fraud: The financial industry can also commit fraud to the government. Some of these instances of fraud include providing false information to the government to receive financial assistance, providing false information to receive loans or mortgages on the property, and receiving funds to help FEMA and not using them for their intended purposes.
- Grant Fraud: Grant fraud is when someone commits fraud to receive grants from the government. Grants are given for a variety of projects such as education, healthcare, and medical or clinical research. When someone receives a grant for their research or project but spends the money on other things, it’s considered grant fraud.
- Healthcare Fraud: Just like with defense contractors, the government pays for medical services, equipment, and medication all the time. Some healthcare fraud includes hospitals that bill the government for services they didn’t provide, hospitals giving unneeded procedures to patients and billing the government for it, medical companies knowingly billing for defective equipment, and even not giving discounts to medical clients that were given to them by the government.
Who Files Qui Tam Lawsuits?
A whistleblower has personal knowledge of a company
or someone that’s defrauding the government. So, the whistleblower heads to
court with their lawyers as the plaintiffs in the case. The person committing
the fraud is considered the defendant.
Anyone who has knowledge or evidence of someone
defrauding the government can file a case as a stand-in for the government.
In most cases, whistleblowers who intervene through
If you’re thinking of filing a lawsuit under the qui
tam provision, you need to have everything in order. This means you need to
have evidence and documents of the scam. You also need to file the lawsuit
before the statute of limitations for qui tam is up.
What Are the Steps of Filing a Qui Tam
Winning a qui tam lawsuit is not for the weak. It’s
a complex process and can take some time for an investigation to end. It can
take even longer once the lawsuit goes to court.
The steps of a qui tam lawsuit include:
- First, you need to hire an attorney with
the right expertise to help you.
- Them you have to file the appropriate
paperwork to start the lawsuit in a federal court. A lawyer can help you with
this difficult process.
- The lawsuit that’s been filed is kept
under seal and only a U.S. Attorney General will have access. They’ll also have
a written statement that provides them all the information and evidence needed
in the case. The details of a lawsuit are kept sealed for at least 60 days.
You’re also not allowed to discuss this lawsuit with anyone other than your
lawyer, otherwise, your case can be
- Next, the government has to investigate
the claims that you’ve brought forth to federal court. This includes
interviewing you to find out what you know of the fraud in question.
- When the investigation ends, they’ll
decide if they’ll prosecute your whistleblower case. You’ll be notified of the
If they decide to prosecute, the defendant will
receive notification of the lawsuit and then it will become public. The
government then takes over the case but you will be compensated if the case is
proven to be true by court standards.
If it’s decided that the government won’t pick up
the case, the whistleblower can proceed without the government’s help.
Defrauding the government hurts all taxpayers,
meaning all Americans. That’s why whistleblowers are important to a
Power of Attorney & Contract of Employment (T3)