I've about had it with the VA

As some of you here already know, I haven’t had much success with my VA hearing aids. Last time I was there in February, they basically called me an idiot for doing my own programming. At that time, I asked for a Roger Select iN, and was told I didn’t need one. I was told to wear the aids for at least 12 hours a day for 2 months and not to touch the programming. I did that. The way they had them programmed, I had to turn the volume down at least 3 clicks to be able to even wear them. After 2 months, I re programmed them, but they still don’t help with voices in noise. I made an appointment with another VA clinic closer to where I live which has been put off until August. I wrote a letter to the head of the Audiology department pleading my case for getting a Roger Select. Today, an Audiologist called me saying that I would need to try a remote mic. They wouldn’t give me a Roger Select. I told her that I had already tried a remote mic designed for older Phonak aids and it didn’t help. She still insisted that I didn’t need a Roger Select. She pretty much called me an idiot for doing my own programming again. She wants me to mail her my aids. She is going to re program them and send me a remote Mic. Before I send them, I am going to restore the programming to what it was the last time I went. I don’t really want them knowing what I changed. The thing is, I already know that the remote mic won’t help, because I already did that. I will, however give them a chance. If things don’t improve after my appointment in August, I am through with the VA. And pretty much through with aids as well. I will probably keep the aids as they are good for watching TV, but as for helping me hear better, they are useless. I lived with my lousy hearing for so long, it rarely bothers me. I don’t really miss all those high frequency sounds anymore. Since I am retired now, I don’t have to interface with that many people, so it isn’t all that big of a deal. I am just pretty disappointed in the VA. I should have known better.

John it isn’t the VA as a whole he is the clinics, I have use 4 different clinics, and about 6 different Audis, it is the Audis or the head of the department that is the issue. I have had really good luck with about 3 of the Audis I have seen. It takes one that is willing to listen, thank goodness if have one now that really listens to my needs, he also has come to understand that my profession was a troubleshooter, so I know how to analyze issues, and if I do not know what I need to know I will research, ask question, and find an answer. I sure wise you lived here or close by and could go to my Audi I think he would be able to work with you, now I do know he would not like you doing it yourself but he would listen and experiment with you. Also, regardless which clinic I have used I have never been turned down for anything that I requested.

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You have to right to go on the VA website and report your issues, you also have the right to go directly to the director of the VA in DC with your complains. Hell I have even gone directly to the White House before, yes I did get answers.

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I don’t think that taking it higher up would work. I pretty much did that by appealing to the chief of that clinic, and all he did was hand it off to the very same Audiologist I first saw. The one who gave me Resounds and refused to even discuss Marvels. I know that government agencies have their ways of doing things, and they often try to shove a square peg into a round hole, regardless of outcome. They always say they want to work with me, but then never seem to actually listen to anything I say. I fully realize that I am an outlier when it comes to hearing loss and the best way to approach a solution. As I have said before, the VA seems to have a one size fits all mentality. They see my audiogram and think to themselves:“This is pretty simple. Just increase the gain in the upper frequencies, and away you go.” Unfortunately, that just doesn’t work for me. I am really beginning to believe that hearing aids will not, and cannot help me. My particular problem is unusual enough that it literally falls through the cracks. No one seems to have a clue, not the Audiologists, or the hearing aid makers. I know I am different because the vast majority of people with my loss get aids and say:" Wow! This is great. I can hear again." But to me it is just a lot of uncomfortable noise with the voices I need to hear lost.
I am glad at least someone has had success with the VA.

The new PartnerMic for the Marvels is a lot better then the old RemoteMic for the ComPilot.

The Remote Mic is omnidirectional.

The PartnerMic is directional and has noise reduction in it as well.

Give it a go, you might find it helpful!!


John this may make you mad and if so I am sorry but I have dealt with the VA ever since 2003 or 2004 I cannot remember for sure now. I have service related hearing loss that is in my Navy medical records, and I still had to fight for my hearing aids. Before it was all over I sent letters, and made calls to my congressmen, both senators, and even to a retired Navy admiral that was a member of the team I was in. The admiral also has the same hearing loss as I do and as it turns out so does the whole team I was with. With the admirals connections to politicians, and even the White House, I was finally approved for not only my aids but a small disability check. I am not sure what records the VA holds and keeps about all of the communication that happened in that I believe 18 months but I can tell you this I have never had anymore issues with the VA in getting what I reasonably needed. I have always said my please and think you and I have made many a friend at all of the clinics I have used.
And I have to say I sure could not have afforded the hearing aids I have gotten over the last 15 years, if I had to pay for them out of my pocket.


I could use some help getting VA approval for HAs. I have been purchasing my own HAs since the '80s. I did not know VA would provide them. Recently, I found out from some buddies that VA gave them their HAs and I should be eligible also. So, I visited the VA and found out that I am not eligible because of a recent (last couple or three years) change in the law. Your income now needs to be below a certain level. Any suggestions on the best way to try an obtain an exception to this rule (law?) so I could get approval would be greatly appreciated.

Yes there was that law in effect by in 2004 also and that is why I had to prove that my hearing loss was service related. My dad also had that issue as far back as the 1980s, and he never made that much money in a year in is life. But once you have any military related disablity then you are in the system regardless of income from what I can tell.

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I will give it a try. I am just not very hopeful that it will help. What I don’t get is that fact that almost without exception, everyone I have heard about only had to ask for anything they needed to get it from the VA. They seem very reluctant to do the same for me. And, I think I have good reasons for asking. I don’t really need another trinket to have to mess with, but if I can get something to actually help, I will.
Chuck, No, it doesn’t make me mad at all. I know you had a real time getting what you needed from the VA, but finally got it, including your monetary compensation. I am glad you did. You deserve it. In my case, I can’t prove service connection, and truthfully, I don’t think being in the service had much to do with my loss. I felt lucky when I got in the VA healthcare system. I go twice a year and have blood work done, then meet with the doctor who tells me I am doing fine for someone my age. I have a couple of medications I take, but don’t get them from the VA. I know there is no way I could have afforded decent hearing aids on my own. I am grateful to the VA for getting me what I have, but they don’t seem too concerned with anything past that. I just want the same treatment that everyone else has gotten.

I don’t know what to tell you regarding the means testing the VA does regarding eligibility for getting hearing aids. I don’t remember having to disclose any kind of income information when I applied. I do remember being told that I didn’t qualify for enrollment in the VA healthcare system. I went ahead and applied online and was accepted right away. Once you are in their system, all you have to do is make an appointment with you local Audiology department. Chuck has much more experience with the VA and might be able to give you more details.

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If you think you have anyway to prove that your hearing loss is service related, then you have a real chance of getting your hearing aids, and your hearing loss would get you at least 20% disablity. But to be honest it is a chore proving military related hearing loss, even when you have the hard medical record proof. I was lucky I had my own copies of my medical records, which by the way was a problem itself seeing they claimed it was illegal for me to have a copy of any of my medical records. But I did fight an I use the sources that are available. The state Veterans advocates, the state congressman, state senators, and others that I could find. It is worth the fight but you have to be patient and stay after it.

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I have known a couple of people whose medical records were classified. One in particular who was trying to prove service connected Parkinson’s. He worked with chemical weapons while in the service, and they weren’t about to let him open that can of worms. He told me about some really strange medical procedures carried out on him while he was in the service. Probably violated some sort of law in doing so.

So very sad. My hearing problem because we traveled around the country and the world, in jet cargo planes without any hearing protection. When I was given my mustering out physical they did a hearing test and I was told I had some hearing loss, and that information did make it in my records. That was what finally got me my hearing aids even though it took so many with some power to push through the red tape.

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I took a quick look at the Partner Mic, which is almost certainly what the VA wants me to try. The Phonak literature pretty much says it won’t work for me. It is supposed to be worn by the person you are talking to, a virtual impossibility in the real world. And it isn’t supposed to be more than 20 inches from the speaker. Again, not likely in today’s world. I don’t know what made them think it would possibly work for me. Probably the fact that it costs about a tenth of what a Roger Select iN costs. Still, I will give it a try.

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Question did you fully explain to them what you want it for?
John I keep a set of journals. One being my hearing loss and hearing aid experiences. In it I keep notes on all of the good points and bad experiences that I have with my hearing/hearing aids. About a week before my appointment I email a subset of my notes to my Audi, or if no email address I print up the notes and take it with me. It is just a way for me to one remember what I want to accomplish and two my Audi places the notes in my records. That is just a suggestion but it sure has worked for me.

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This may make you mad at me but I think it needs to be said. You keep reprogramming the aids. That is like going to the Doctor getting a prescription, then throwing it in the trash and medicating yourself with snake oil. Quit reprogramming your aids. THEN you will have an argument that will stand. Give them a chance to see what happens when you take the “medication” they prescribe. But I will bet its too late to change. They already have you in the books as a meddler.


I have to agree with you, I am an electronics tech with lots of training and engineering training in communications, and audio, I am also a trained software engineer, I could if I desired manage to do so hearing aid programming, if I took the time to install the software ans spend the time studying the software. I chose not too for many reasons, mostly I do not have too, and I am not trained as an Audiologist.


BeachBum, Your eligiblity for hearing aids is not based on income, but a copay will apply if you don’t meet the financial criteria. They have tiers which are set for your income, and location.
I paid a $50.00 copay for my 1st hearing test, and subsequently requested a form for service connected loss.
Once approved (may take 6 moths or more) , you should get a disability comp, as Chuck said, and no more co pays.
You need to register with the VA healthcare system, and create an account on Home - VA/DoD eBenefits.


When I went in February, They told me to wear them at least 12 hours a day and not touch the programming for at least 2 months. I was supposed to go back in April, but circumstances made that impossible. I did wear them for at least 12 hours a day for two months and didn’t touch the programming. I hated every day of it. The longer I wore them, it seemed the worse they got. Finally, after the 2 months, I did change the programming. They weren’t as annoying, but still weren’t helping me hear any better. I made an appointment with a different clinic closer to my home for April, but that appointment got canceled and a new one was made for August. They probably do have me pegged as a meddler, and that is OK with me. I am one of those folks who happens to believe that such things as medical care and yes, even hearing is primarily my responsibility. And if a doctor prescribed me drugs that I thought either dangerous, or ineffective, I wouldn’t take them. That is pretty much the situation with the VA. They don’t seem to take what I tell them about my hearing issues seriously. I tell them that I am very sensitive to loud sounds, and they program my aids for a volume I can’t stand to hear. And so it goes. When I finally go to that other clinic, I am going to be straight with them. I am going to go over the history of my experiences with the VA, then tell them that if they will give me what I ask for, I won’t darken their door again, ever. If it doesn’t work, I’ll just put it on the shelf along with the aids and go on living my life as best I can. I had thought that I would keep going back as long as it took for them to actually do something. But, there comes a point where it just isn’t worth all the bother. As I said, I am about through with the VA.

The VA income means test has nothing to do with getting a hearing loss disability. It only has to do with determining if you’re eligible to use VA services WITHOUT having at LEAST a 10% disability. While working and retired, I can’t met the VA means test. BUT, I got a 10% disability for service-related tinnitus back in 2009 and have been using the VA for all my medical needs since. When a Vet gets at least a 10% disability, there is no longer a means test. And, since my disability is hearing related, I obviously get hearing aids from the VA.

However, while some Vets, like cvkemp, have been getting great service from their VA audi’s, I don’t think that’s the norm for most of the VA audio clinics. I started with my 1st hearing aids last September and I’m on my 3rd trial waiting for a chance to get back into the audio clinic to request a 4th trial. While I didn’t have to fight them to get TV streamers with all 3 trials, I did have to strongly request the TV streamers because that’s where my primary hearing problem is. To paraphrase the audi’s–“you should use the hearing aids without the streamer and phone app because those things aren’t really necessary.”

I would probably still have my first trial Starkey Livio AI RIC’s if the VA audio clinic had listened to me and done something about the problems I was experiencing and complaining about. Instead, they just ordered a different hearing aid brand. I just recently found a Starkey Inspire X Thrive Technology Troubleshooting Guide dated 04/19 that lists some of the same, exact complaints I had and how the audi’s could have adjusted my hearing aids to correct the problems. So, the VA audi’s had the guide and means to adjust my hearing aids but never mentioned it or did anything about it.


I fully understand there are some Audis mostly in the very busy very large Clinics that don’t seem to listen to what the patients are telling them. I had a little of that with the VA Hospital in Dallas. I was in the process of moving to Austin when I finally get my aids. So right after I got the aids I moved to Austin, transfered to the Austin clinic, and was given the choice to turn in the aids I had or to allow the only audi in the Austin clinic to work with me that had ever seen the siemens hearing aids to try and fit me correctly. I chose to work with the Audi before I ever met her. She was right out of school with her Doctor of Audiology and she worked hard to get my aids working for me. She remained my Audi for 10 years and she was really good at getting my aids working and guided me through a total of three sets of hering aids. I also worked with 3 other Audis in that clinic when I did walking clinic for repairs are very minor adjustments. But none of them really listened to me like the one that guided me for 10 years, and got me interested in learn about hearing loss, and what hearing aids really do.
I have also went to other clinic across the country for emergency repairs due to traveling for my job, that would keep me in an area for a month to 6 months at a time. I found a some of them great and most of them in a hurt to get you out the door.
I am now in Arkansas in my retirement home, and loving the small clinic here in Hot Springs. The clinic is laid back everything has its time and its place. My Audi is someone that could be in any clinic anywhere in the country. Or even have his home business, but chose to be in this clinic which he basically started up and does pretty much runs it. He listens, and he doesn’t get upset when I make suggestions, some of them very stupid now that I think about it. He has gotten me to volunteer at the clinic help Veterans with minor issues with there aids. I am hoping I can be at the clinic to do the volunteering again soon. I believe I was born to help and support people.