Hearing aids for veterans

from playing with the remotes in the waiting rooms (yes we have nice flat screens tv) from the 3 brands above with a pair of aids turned down and kind of in my ears it seems to me the best and biggest no brainer is the Siemens Tek if you only want bt phone and tv. (you can connect pc, mp3, etc via a cable to the Tek) or if you like gadgets the miniTek has more options and is smaller. very few of the guys like the Phonaks because of the neck-loop thing.

Here is my hearing test results as best I can decipher it since it is in chart format but none of the headings line up and only numbers are given:
500 Hz, R 60, L 60; 1000 Hz, R 65, L 65; 2000 Hz, R 70, L 100; 3000 Hz, R 85, L 100; 4000 Hz, 95, L 95; AVG, R 79.0, L 90.0; Maryland CNC, R 68, L 12

I also have Tinnitus for which I was granted a 10% disability.

I currently have BTE Phonak Micro Excelias which seemed the best fit for me at the time, about 5 years ago. As for as Bluetooth, I was interested in Bluetooth but resisted due to bad reports on the neck loop accessory. I am more interested in TV and radio listening than telephone. I have an AT&T wireless phone that I tend to get by with in speakerphone mode. I would also like a small remote that can go directly from one program to another. My present aids have 4 programs and I have to go through the push button cycle to change programs.

It appears that the Siemens would be the best choice for me. About 8 years ago I tried a Siemens but returned it due to shoddy Quality Control but hopefully things have changed by now.

Thanks again for the feedback.

in my opinion and you can always trade them in and try others I would try the Siemens Pure Carets which come with rechargeable size 13 batteries that are good for at least 18+ hours. They have a rocker on each aid one can be set for VC and the other for PC. The Tek is a nice unit not too big but not too small has direct access with 5 large buttons and a small screen. It also has a treble control. It does not need to be hanging on your neck most the guys put them in their shirt pocket but with the on-board rockers it not a big deal if you forget to take it somewhere. With your numbers I would go with the HP receivers and custom molds. But, be sure to remind the Audi you would like the rechargeable batteries. When you go back to be fitted you should get the aids, recharge, Tek which comes with the tvlink. program 1 with be normal/auto, 2 will be BT phone by default. I would ask for the Tek on program 3 and speech focus on 4… there’s a long list of programs you could try on 5… noise, outdoors, music since with Tek you don’t need to cycle through the program you might as well try something on 5. it can easily be changed at every visit. not at the fitting appt by the next most guys want less treble and more bass put on the Tek program 3. checkout the Phonak, Siemens and Widex site so you have current information to talk with the audi about.

Wow! Great response, you answered most of my questions before they were asked. Since, I assume you work at the Cincinnati VA and I will be going there for my fitting after my initial MD appointment, I hope I draw you as my audiologist. My MD appointment is in Lawrenceburg on August 21st so will hopefully go to the Cincy VA sometime in September.

thanks, I forgot, be sure to ask for a car charger for the Tek. also, go to the Siemens site and compare the Tek and the miniTek…

Just to add to the discussion about the VA and hearing aids. I am a Korean vet and when I first joined the VA Clinic I received a hearing test and was told at that time my hearing loss had to be service connected which I could not prove. This was about 2003. Now I have learned that the qualifications have been modified. Last month I had a hearing test at the clinic and was fitted with Naida S IX aids and EasyLink, MyLink with a supply of batteries. All at no charge. It pays to persevere.

I had to visit a VA MD before I could see an Audiologist for my recently approved hearing disability. I guess because I was new to the system. Anyway I saw the MD on 8/21 and they in turn scheduled an appointment with the Audiologist on 9/27 at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. I suppose they will have to order the aids after that and no telling how long before I get the aids I like and fine tuned to my loss. I am heading to Florida in the Ft. Meyers area in December for the winter and hope I can continue the process down there if not completed by then.

i SERVED FROM 1964-1969 BUT NOT ACTUALLY IN VIETNAM. How have severe hearing lost and been told to contact VA and have the online form to start the process. I know I need some good programable aids and like some of the other post wonder what proof I will need to get them??

thanks, mike

There are certain restrictions on VA eligibility such as annual income cannot be over a certain amount per year for any services in ANY VA.
Obtaining service connection for hearing loss/tinnitus definitely gets you into the system regardless of income or anything else not sure if 0% or 10% gets you in.
Also, some VA’s require service connection and some do not.Interpretation of the regulation is nebulous and apparently is subject to a particular VA’s budget?
I work at one that gives them to anybody eligible for care at the VA if they have enough hearing loss period…and yes, it’s freakin busy.
AS stated above…get in to see the eligibility people in your area VA.
It is true we give the best hearing aids in the world…top of the line models with many accessories (these may be limited due to budget) but batteries are always free as are the devices, although you may have a co-pay of a whopping $50.00…small price to pay for $6000.00 aids.
Success for wearing hearing aids relies on: programming, programming, programming &
counseling, counseling, counseling!

Thank you for this info. My husband is hearing impaired and a veteran. This will help us a lot.

If it is not service-connected, they still pay. Met a guy with Meniere’s at VA-- was into self-programming-- evidently it was moving along quickly. I think severity is also a factor.

There was a post here regarding who to contact at VA and cannot find it anymore. Visited VA website and hubby no idea where to go.

Learning a lot from this website. Thank you all.

250    500    1K    2K    4K    8K

R 50 45 60 55 100 0
L 15 25 20 20 35 45 w/ current ear infection
Mix sensorineural/conductive
3x surgery R ear(last one tymphanoplasty)2005
Current: Oticon(R early only)
Planning: Resound Forza-will retest in 2weeks

to make a long story (which is on the first page of this post) short make an appointment with you county VSO (veterans service organization) and they will walk you through the process.

This is an update to my other posts. I finally got to see an Audiologist at the Cincinnati VA on 9-27-12. I was able to get what I wanted with the Siemens Pure Carat with all the bells and whistles as recommended by DocJake on this forum. The only problem is I can’t get my hands on them until November 30, 9 weeks from the date of my appointment. I explained that this was a conflict since I have a rental in Florida reserved starting December 1. They told me I can call in and try for a cancellation but that was the best they could give me for an appointment. I am 84 years old and think that this whole process is too time consuming. I have heard of private audiologists being hired by the VA to fit hearing aids in some instances but when I mentioned this to the VA Audiologist, I was not given any encouragement at all. I can only imagine what the schedule would be for tweaking visits or selecting another brand of aids if these are not satisfactory.

Does anyone know what it takes to have the VA hire a private Audiologist to do fittings when they are overwhelmed? As it is I will probably hire one to do the program tweaking at my expense once I get possession of the aids. In the mean time I guess I will be calling in on a daily basis looking for a cancellation.

A little further rant, I got the letter approving my disability on July 17 and I have followed their schedules of visiting an MD, 1 month lost there, then only after this visit can the Audiology fitting be scheduled, then only after this can the pickup date be scheduled. It just seems like this is way too long, July17 to November 30 for someone to get their hearing aids on a 60% SC hearing disability.

Does anyone know what it takes to have the VA hire a private Audiologist to do fittings when they are overwhelmed? won’t happen

As it is I will probably hire one to do the program tweaking at my expense once I get possession of the aids. good luck

-at 60% your are getting $1k per month or $1.1K per month if married. (tax free)
-free Rx
-free health care
-so it will be about 4 months to get $6+K hearing aids for free w/accessories.

I’ll bet there is a whole long list of folks that would take that deal and be damned glad to get it.

I will also bet that most of those people you are talking about do not have the degree of hearing loss that I do (approximately 85% in one ear and 60% in the other). I would very readily trade those great benefits you speak of for just moderate hearing loss that could be easily corrected through hearing aids. I don’t want to come across as a cry baby but when you get to be 84 years old you don’t have a lot of time left on this planet and those 4 months could very well represent 10% or more of my remaining life. Also those 4 months could stretch out to a lot more if I decide , after evaluation, on different aids. My point in the post is that 2+ months between appointments is way too long to have the programs tweaked to your preferences and do a meaningful evaluation.

go private and get what you want when you want.

you could find a VA clinic close to you in FL and get a few adjustments. your luck with getting appointments would improve going to a smaller clinic.

I am hoping that is the case but with all the old folks in Florida, I have my doubts. My closest clinic in Florida is Ft. Myers. Anyone have any experience with that one?

I actually worked with one of the audiologists at the VA in Cinci (before she went to the VA) and worked in NKY at an ENT practice for a few years so I am familiar with the area and how things work up there.

No, they do not contract with other providers in the area to provide services when they are backed up.

The time frame you describe is typical of large, busy VA hospitals. I was at the VA in Seattle in the late 90’s and their wait time was similar and that was over 10 years ago before they were able to fit the same tech as private sector dispensers. This wait time is probably the only drawback of dealing with the VA for hearing aids.

I know of a provider in N. Kentucky (Florence to be exact) that also dispenses Siemens products that would be able to adjust your hearing aids, but there would be a fee involved. I am not sure what their fee schedule is anymore (used to work there) for hearing aids purchased elsewhere. You would also need to bring a copy of your most recent hearing test or they may require you do get a new one and see one of their ENT’s - not sure about that part though. I suspect you have medicare. If you see the ENT and get a new hearing test, Medicare should pay for it. If you’re interested in the person’s contact information send me a PM and I’ll send it to you.

I’m not familiar with the west coast but at least I read your post before jumping…

Check with DocAudio she knows all…