10-Year Member
Aug 23, 2006
My son is applying to West Point and ROTC Scholarship. He had tubes in both ears at 7 months old. At 6 years, we found that he had a mild-moderate conductive hearing loss in right ear. He has never had any issues with left ear. We were advised that the conductive hearing loss could be corrected with surgery, but should wait until he was a little older. My husband is active duty, and audiology tests were done at an Army Hospital 2 years ago, when our son was 14. He was given the option to have the stapedectomy performed. It had never caused speech or learning disabilities (in fact, he has partcipated in sports, Boy Scouts, Gifted Program, Band, etc), but was advised that he was a very good candidate to possibly restore his hearing to the normal range. The stapedectomy was performed in July 2004 at the Army Hospital. He had audiology tests done 6 weeks after and 6 months after the surgery, showing that his hearing was restored to the normal range, with only slight difficulty in the high frequency range (4000 and 6000). His recent DODMERB audiology test showed similar results as the March 2005 test, with his worst being a 50 in the 6000 range on the right ear. We were told that the test is done with a single soundproof barrier, rather than a double soundproof, which can raise the score slightly (although this was not noted on the report). We have moved overseas since the surgery, so these audiology results were not done in the same facility. I know that I have read that any surgery of the inner/middle ear will disqualify the candidate, but was just wondering if this is waiverable for ROTC or West Point. Thank you for your help.

The history of middle ear surgery will be a disqualification. No way around that. As for the chances of a waiver, I'm not sure. It will all depend on how invasive the procedure was, the chances of another problem occurring and how his hearing is now. I never saw many applicants with a history of a stapedectomy, and I really cant recall how many were waived.

I would have your son apply to whatever program his is interested in (if he hasn't already) and go for the waiver. DoDMERB may not request all the records regarding the surgery, but the waiver authorities will need it, so if you don't have copies of it yet, I would go ahead and gather them up now.

I know that this really isn't much help, and if you have other questions, please feel free to ask away!
Thank you for your suggestions. Since I read your post, we have already started getting copies of the records from the surgery. This forum has been very helpful throughout this process.
DODMERB has received my son's exam forms. We thought that it would immediately show "disqualified" for the ear surgery, and then we would submit the records of the surgery to apply for a waiver. As for the refraction, I believe they wrote on his form "correctable to 20/20" instead of the specific results. My son had lots of questions for me this morning when he saw the information below. Both items were posted in regards to his application to USMA and the ROTC scholarship. Is this a good start to a possible waiver? Thanks again for your help.

Current Medical Status: Remedial Requested

R120.00 - Provide all medical records regarding middle ear surgery
R152.14 - Obtain a manifest refraction

The manifest refraction is probably for what you stated, the fact the optometrist didn't put the complete information on the form. For the records request, most likely DoDMERB didn't feel they had enough information to either qualify or disqualify. Once the records are received, DoDMERB will then add the disqualification (they may not, but if they don't I will be very surprised!). The records that you submit will then be forwarded to the waiver authorities. Then the waiver authorities will make the wavier determination.

As for this being a good start, at least the wavier authorities will have all the information up front and won't have to go looking for it. If you want to include a personal statement to DoDMERB and the waiver authorities, feel free to include one with the medial records. It definitely will not hurt, and in my experience, the more information the waiver authorities have, the better off they are.
RetNavyHM ...
IF information is submitted for a "remedial" is that info automatically passed on to the USNA waiver authority?

Also ... my candidate has also applied for NROTC. Will his physical info automatically be sent to that body?

Lastly, are med qual standard(s) for USNA and NROTC same ?
Whistle Pig,

1. If an applicant is medically disqualified, any additional information, even if it doesn't pertain to that disqualification, is forwarded to the wavier authority. If its a remedial that is pending for DoDMERB, the DoDMERB reviewer will clear, if he/she can, that remedial before sending to the waiver authorities.

2. Yes. If an applicant is in for multiple programs, there is just one button the DoDMERB reviewer has to hit to forward any new information to all the wavier authorities.

3. The medical standards for all the services are the same except for vision. For USNA and NROTC the only difference is the USNA looks to see if an applicants uncorrected distant visual acuity is greater than 20/40 and NROTC doesn't care.
Well, I just checked the website, and it has been updated with the information below. Now that he has been disqualified, do we continue with the process of gathering/submitting medical records and personal statement? When I read the "Waiver instructions", it sounded as if we must wait to hear from USMA and ROTC review boards. Is this correct?

Current Medical Status: Pending Waiver Submission/Review

R152.14 - Obtain a manifest refraction
R250.00 - Pending waiver review by USMA

D122.00 - History of inner or middle ear surgery
D252.10 - Non-rebuttal code

Current Medical Status: Pending Waiver Submission/Review

R152.14 - Obtain a manifest refraction
R250.50 - Pending waiver review by AROTC

D122.00 - History of inner or middle ear surgery
D252.10 - Non-rebuttal code

Thanks, as always, for sharing your experience with all of us who are going through this process.

I would continue to get the medial records and the statement and send them in to DoDMERB. DoDMERB will forward that information to the waiver authority. The more information the waiver authority has the better decision they can make.

For USMA you do not have to request a waiver, if your son's admissions package is competitive, USMA admissions will have the waiver authority review it. For AROTC your son will need to request the wavier. The information will be mailed to you by DoDMERB. The waiver request from your son can be the same as the statement he will write to DoDMERB, it will just be mailed to Army Cadet Command.

Again, any other questions please let me know!
Stapedectomy - some good news

Just wanted to send a "Thank You" to RetNavyHM. I was just on the DODMERB website and found for the ROTC Scholarship, my son's waiver has been approved for the inner/middle ear surgery. As for USMA, the waiver is still pending. When I sent in all audiology and surgery records, I noticed that the audiology test done on the right ear before surgery would not have disqualified him from West Point according to their current catalog. Since the surgery was done to improve his hearing loss, we are hoping that the waiver will be granted for USMA, also. Thanks again! It would have been extremely difficult going through this process without your expertise.
concernedmom ... please proceed to the end of the LOOOOOOOOOOOONG and growing line of those of us wishing to kiss the ring and buy the lunch of our dear friend RetNavyHM. He's been a real god-send, guiding light, and hand-holder to a bunch of us with concerns and needs in this complex journey.

Many thanks again, RetNavy for being so generous with your knowledge, experience, and time to assist some lost sheep. You're a real blessing.

P.S. Everyone ... don't forget to vote, and vote wisely today!