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Hearing Aids and the VA

Hearing Aid

A fine benefit for veterans is hearing aids.  Any veteran with an honorable discharge and a hearing loss is eligible, whether the loss is service connected or not.  I have had hearing aids for several years and love them.  Music and children’s voices are so much clearer.  Carol asserts that I don’t hear her with the hearing aids or without.

Recently I haven’t been hearing as well.  I didn’t know if the hearing aids needed work or my hearing is slipping.   The VA is complicated.  When I got the hearing aids, appointments were easy to get and timely.  Not so now.  I got appointments for checking the hearing aids and for a hearing exam.  The hearing exam is months away.

A couple of weeks ago I went in to get the instruments checked.  They needed cleaning and adjustment.  After that process, one aid worked fine, but the other one had almost constant feedback, much like the feedback from a PA system, but right in my ear.  The audiologist ordered different domes, the piece that goes in the ear from behind the ear hearing aids.  They just changed the pitch of the squeal.  I can’t wear that hearing aid.  Fortunately it goes in my so-called good ear.  That just means that there is less hearing loss in that ear.

I have called the audiology clinic and not received a return call several times. I have left messages for the audiologist I saw, generic messages, and a request for another appointment.  Nothing seems to work.

I must say this about the VA.  Their services are free for disabled vets, with low cost prescription medications and free immunizations.  The system works well for the most part, and their computerized medical records system is great.  Any authorized provider can access a patient’s medical records with the veteran’s surname and the last four digits of the vet’s social security number.

The problem is that right now, demand for services far outstrips supply.  The wars are winding down and the Iraq/Afghanistan veterans are in bad shape after several deployments.  Forty percent of them are applying for a service connected disability.  The Vietnam vets are getting older and sicker. The system is overloaded.

I am going to have to go to the audiology clinic at the Denver VA hospital and try to get something done.  If you have never been to a VA hospital, go.  Quite an experience.

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2 comments to Hearing Aids and the VA

  • I went back to the audiology clinic Wednesday. The office was open, and I have an appointment for next week. The VA can be difficult to deal with some of the time, but eventually delivers.

  • I went to the VA Hospital audiology clinic last week. Their office door was closed with a notice to fill out a form as they are short-staffed. I added my form to the small stack. So far, no response. I know they are very busy and recently lost one of their support staff members, but this is getting old. My next step will be the patient advocate office (if they are open).

    I did get my flu shot.

    Bill

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