I've about had it with the VA

I don’t remember having a means test. Or, maybe they accessed my IRS records and just knew. Year before last, while retired, I worked as a consultant and $40 an hour adds up, even part time. But, the VA didn’t seem to care. Once I was in the system, all I had to do was make an appointment with the clinic. I have never been asked to pay anything for what I have received through the VA. I actually wouldn’t mind having to pay a reasonable co pay. I don’t think having a disability rating has anything to do with getting hearing aids. It sure didn’t with me. I have been disappointed with the level of care at the Audiology clinic. I will say though, that a few years ago I went to a regular hearing aid place and got some aids. The level of care I got there was no different to what I have received at the VA. Much to my surprise, when I came back in for the second time asking for adjustments, they quickly offered to refund my money.

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Before I was given the disablity rating I was asked to fill out a report every January stating my imcome for the previous year. And I was getting my hearing aids then. Once I go past the 0% disablity rating and got the 20% disablity I have not had to do the yearing report, but I still pay a copay for my medications. And having the disablity rating has really helped in the cost of getting a VA loan for the home we have now. And it has been nice too getting refinancing on the VA loan when the interest rates dropped like they have lately, and it hasn’t costed me a penny to refinance and has saved me a lot on monthly payments.

I feel for you John. My departed husband went to the VA about four years ago. He has been gone now for 2 1/2 years. he could hear nothing with those Phonak hearing aids. I think they were a good brand back then. They even gave him a remote to change the volume etc. I don’t know because I didn’t know as much as I am learning now. I told him to block his ears with his hands to see if he heard them squeal. But he did not.

After he died I tried them because they were newer than mine. I knew I would not hear perfectly but you know what, I heard nothing. Brand new batteries nothing, no sound at all. So he was wasting his time going to that VA office. If I had known what I know now that man would not have gotten away with this.

He saw an audiologist and took some tests to make sure that he had a hearing loss. But then at the local satellite office the man probably was just a fitter and didn’t seem to care at all.

I wish you the best John and know that you will be able to figure out what will work the best for you.

Hey CV, they told you it was illegal for you to have a copy of your medical records???. I have never heard of any such dastardly thing. As for me I am not a veteran but I keep all my own copies of medical records and procedures. We should all do that.

You are a fighter. Wink wink

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@John_Green I am going to be another person that may upset you but sorry, not sorry. You’re clearly intelligent and capable of expressing yourself. But if you keep going to doc after doc and having similar experiences, I would hope you’d eventually reach the conclusion that the factor in common is you.

You mentioned in this thread your sensitivity to loud sounds. Have you shared that? Have you given examples, distinct examples, of the kinds of sounds that bother you, and of the kinds of sounds / parts of speech with which you’re still having issues, to your various audiologists? A challenge with loud sound sensitivty is that there’s very little room, most likely, between the gain you need to communicate effectively, and the sounds that will bother you once amplified. You can only solve this by writing down what bothers you, writing down what you still need, and sharing it and asking for assistance.

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Yes, I have stated multiple times that I am sensitive to loud sounds. I even specified the dB level at which things become uncomfortable. I also told them that of all places, WalMart was one of the worst for wearing aids. It isn’t all that loud, but something about the noise inside my local one just defeats my aids and I have to take them out. I don’t leave them in, because the molds cut down on the sounds I need to hear.
They always nod their heads as if they understand, but every time I have left that building, I have to take the aids out because I can’t drive with all the noise bothering me. I have had hearing loss for a long time. When I finally decided to try to do something about it, I knew I had high frequency loss, but thought it would be pretty simple to fix. I was wrong. I think the Audiologists at the VA see my audiogram and think:“Oh, I have seen this often. Severe to profound high frequency loss. This is no big deal. I’ll just give him enough gain so he can hear those frequencies again.” Which is exactly the wrong thing to do. Sound Recover is about the only thing that helps, but 2 different audiologists told me that the VA doesn’t use frequency lowering technology, and one said they did. That is another thing about the VA. I see a different audiologist every time, and every one tells me something different. It seems I am not your every day hard of hearing old man. My case is different, and that is what the VA can’t seem to grasp. You are quite correct. The common factor in all this is me. What works for others, doesn’t seem to work for me.

Are you hearing low frequency noise or high freuency noise, you have really good low frequency hearing and if your aids are not set correctly that could be your issue with the sounds. I also have a friend with the same issues as you talk about she cannot understand speech very well at all but she hears sounds she says is very high pitch. I have looked at her audiogram and if I read it correctly she has high frequency loss. But we have done other sound test and she hears sounds that are far above what an hearing test would test for. Maybe you need to experiment with a test on your own that test for sounds above the hearing aid normal range. If that is not the case then maybe the aids are over amplifying the low frequencies.

why don’t you try a community hearing aid vendor, ie Costco, they offer a long trial period, a least then you would have a basis for comparison as to how they set the aids for you.

John … I’ve had bad experiences at my local VA too. If I was continuing to have VA issues I think I would start asking for help with my congressman or the Surgeon General.

I think the VA is fine for doing the audio-gram but when it comes to programming digital hearing aids that’s way out of their league at my local VA. I initially tried writing down what I didn’t like or liked about them and let them make adjustments but after 4 or 5 visits without any success I got sat down and lectured to about being difficult to work with. Never been told that by anyone in my life before.

With my latest HA’s when I asked for 4 separate programs, that I could switch to manually, I got told I didn’t need that … the aids would program themselves over time and automatically switch to the correct settings when I got into each environment. I gave that a try but it was horrible … especially since I’m a musician and when playing live I need a special program for that with many of the special features turned off. After that experience I acquired everything I needed to do my own programming and learned how to do what I needed to do. Since I saved the VA’s last programming … I reload that when I go back in for visits and if asked I tell them I don’t need any adjustments … they’re perfect and that seems to make them happy. When I get home I reload my programming and then I’m happy. It’s too bad that my experience fits a lot of others with VERY useless help and self-serving audiologists at VA clinics. They just don’t get it.

I disagree with you on the programing of aids, I have had nothing but good results from the Audis that I have worked with. They do their best to get you fitted, but I have to say you have to be patient and willing to work with them and to explain your issues as clearly as possible. You also have to keep your feet to the fire and also the Audis too. I have found the best results is when I have clear notes for my Audi and if possible to get those notes to the Audi at least a week ahead of the appointment. And most of all you have to give them some respect. They do deal with people that do not knoww how to respect out people.

So if the physical fit is good, that is, you’re not getting feedback and they don’t physically hurt, and you’re a self programmer, why do you keep going back? Why not just ebay up a PartnerMic for $125 (they’re there, I looked when I first saw this thread) and be done with it? If you’re driving long distances to get to the VA, that gas money adds up pretty quick (that is, the $125 shouldn’t be an excuse). That won’t get you a Roger, but it’s something?

Also, regarding the sounds that bother you, have you gone into the Fine Tuning and Automatic Fine Tuning options in Target and used the options in there? For example, in Automatic Fine Tuning (Open Session/New Session, Fine Tuning tab, Automatic Fine Tuning at the bottom right), you can select from the pulldown menu, Speech - Reverberant Speech or Noise - Party Noise, both of which may be representative of Walmart, and select from the associated pull down if it’s too echo-y, too boomy, etc. You click the Fix Issue button, and it makes adjustments to resolve the issue (theoretically). Obviously you won’t be able to tell if it works instantly but if you have a laptop you could conceivably sit in your car and do this, go in the store and check it out, go back and make further adjustments.

Clearly part of the problem is that you’re just not used to the sound after so long (I’m guessing probably decades?) unaided while you needed it, so that’s playing havoc with your brain. There’s little that can be done about that except more time. Drink some bourbon and go with it, ya know?

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Hi John and other’s in this post. I am very grateful to have this VA benefit I received my Phonak’s V90s from VA in Dec 17 and proceeded to make my own adjustments from home. I had the equipment at home because I did not like gong in to make adjustments my bad. There are some good audis and bad audis out there just like anywhere else where service on instruments is required. My audi wanted me to do an cochlear inplant I turned that down did not want anything sticking out of my head with no guarantee that my hearing would improve. I have profound hearing loss almost none high frequency sounds. I suffered with the new hearing aids for more than a year. The auto sense programming was really bad for my hearing loss. Whenever I was in the car or at church the volume would zoom on me and really distort the sounds I was hearing. I would then turn down the volume and not be able to understand anything being said. I decided to go back to VA and get an adjustment. I also could not understand being said on the phone. That was March 19. I was due for an audiogram because VA likes for their patient’s to get one once a year. This time I asked for a REM test and was given one did not get one at the first adjustment. My audi set my aids to the rem and it was too loud and she lowered again too loud. I was having a bad day weather 10 degrees outside. She was not able to fix the problems I had. She suggested using the speaker phone for the phone problem after a couple of months started doing that and guess what I understood the phone conversations better. I know this is a lengthy post but I feel your problem. Another thing she did was to eliminate auto sensing programing. and enable a manual speech in noise program and a telecoil program. I used the telecoil program for a little while but not much help. The manual speech in noise was a improvement but not really a big improvement. A couple months after the March appointment I was reading some posts on this forum and ran across a post about different hearing formulas. Apparently there is several different hearing aid formulas for the phonak hearing aids. I decided to try the DSL v5 for the adult and am glad I did because it change my speech understanding. I have not gone into my hearing aids and changed very much since that time. By the way a year ago if you had problems with your VA Phonak hearing aids you had to go to VA with your problems. Now I understand you can call Phonak to get help with your aids. I’ve gotten a lot of help with ha problems off this forum thanks to everyone. One last thing honestly, I have worn ha for the last thirteen years and phonaks naidas for profound hearing lost the ten. John don’t give up trying to get programmed for your loss. Also read a lot on this forum to understand your hearing loss.

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Chuck,
It isn’t low frequencies that are the problem. It seems to be upper mid frequencies. Ones where I have some loss, but notsevere loss. My stepdaughter’s voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I have put on headphones and using an online program, listened to tones of varying frequencies to see if there was a range that causes me problems. When I do that, I can’t seem to find a particular region that is troublesome. I know, it doesn’t make sense. I need to figure out a way to do it when wearing my aids. If I stand near the local road that runs by my house and a car passes by, the sound the tires make on the roadway is very bothersome. But this is only with aids. When I enable SR2, and listen to tones produced by an app on my phone, I can hear up to 9 KHz pretty well. This means voices should be a snap. But they aren’t. I still have problems with voices, especially in noise. It seems my aids amplify the noise, but not the voice. I have tried to explain all this to the folks at the VA, but they don’t seem to listen. Every time they have programmed my aids, they are way too loud, and whatever frequencies that cause me the most discomfort are the worst. I end up turning them down 3 or 4 clicks, so they aren’t doing much of anything except partially blocking sounds.

Reading this makes me think that you have gone so long without hearing aids that your brain hasn’t heard the sounds in such a long time that it is going to need longer to relearn to accept the sounds. You need to keep the volume down and slowly increase it until you can handle the volume you need.

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@godavid_d
Did the audiologist at the VA more or less insult your intelligence about doing your own programming? They did mine. If they mention that again, I am just going to tell them that since they don’t seem to know how to do it, even with all their training, I thought I couldn’t do any worse. It might get me thrown out, but I wouldn’t care. If they aren’t interested in doing things to actually help, I don’t need to be going back, and back for basically nothing.

@phobos512
Yes, I have tried the fine tuning areas in Target. I couldn’t really tell that they did anything. I don’t use Autosense most of the time because it only makes things worse. The audiologist at the VA I spoke with yesterday said I wasn’t supposed to be able to tell when Autosense did things. That is true to a point. I can’t tell it is changing anything, just that noises get worse when I have it enabled. I turned whistle block almost off because I didn’t like what it does to tones, like beeps. I turned noise block down because it doesn’t block noises. And yes, I did try it with all that set the way the VA set it. I won’t buy a Partner Mic because the VA is going to give me one. I don’t think it will help because it is supposed to be worn by the person you are talking to, and be 8 inches from their mouth.
I want a Roger Select iN, but they won’t give me one.

I haven’t heard a lot of high frequency sounds in a long time. That is true. A lot of what I do hear when wearing aids is noise to me, and annoying. One of my big issues with aids is that the longer I wear them, the more annoying they get. Just the opposite of what it is supposed to be. I have grown somewhat accustomed to the artifacts introduced by SR2. Everyone having a huge amount of sibilance, even me, took some getting used to. But all that other noise just makes me want to put them on the shelf.

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Two things.

  1. I have a brother in law who pretty much said the same things about his aids when he got them.
    His solution was screw it I ain’t wearing them.
    So he doesn’t. The result is he can’t hear well.
    When I talk to him I do not care if he understands me are not. That is his problem not mine. I do not repeat myself to him.
  2. The loud sounds the trouble hearing in noise I went through all of that.
    I use to laugh when I would read your brain needs time to adapt.
    I thought they were nuts.
    I still have problems in certain situations. But believe it are not my brain really has adapted.
    My left ear has a bad distortion. Everything I hear in that ear sounds like a broken speaker. A badly broken speaker.
    I didn’t think the aids were any good. Didn’t realize it was my ear. Kept trying to have the broken speaker sounds adjusted out. I have adjusted to the broken speaker sound.
    I’ve been trying to figure out how to put up my audiogram. It’s very interesting.
    To quote my old ENT I have an unusual loss.
    Try to stick it out.
    It’s in your best interest.
    Best regards.
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freezerman404
I am glad you adjusted to your aids and are being helped by them. One big issue with me I think, is that I have adjusted to my hearing loss pretty well over the years. My loss doesn’t actually impact my quality of life all that much. Sure, I have problems understand people, especially in noisy situations. But, I am now retired, so I am not around that many people any more, and I have learned to just tell people I am hard of hearing when difficulties arise. It doesn’t always help, but at least they know I am not just ignoring them. So, I am not as willing as a lot of folks to put up with all the negative aspects of wearing aids as some folks. For the little bit of increase in hearing ability I get, I have to accept a lot of negatives. They are uncomfortably loud, everything sounds wrong. By this I mean strident, or screechy, if that is a word. My own voice sounds like I am speaking through a very low quality microphone, as well as being too loud. And situations that are normally OK, are now too loud. Frequencies I hear OK without aids are now muffled by the molds. I am a much more relaxed and comfortable person when I am not wearing them. So, even though I might, and I emphasize might, adjust eventually, I really don’t want to have to put up with all the misery until that day finally arrives. I don’t like admitting this, but I don’t think that even though I have pretty lousy hearing, I am most likely not a good candidate for hearing aids.

And if you just turn these up so you can hear them again, are you unable to tolerate the sound of your own voice or what? What happens for you if you replace the lows without trying to replace the highs?

I’ll second Zebra that the partner mic is better than the old remote mic. What are you looking to use it for though? Because you are right–you need to be able to self-advocate and have people actually wear it for it to be effective.

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Qualifying for VA benefits depends on many things: when did you serve, in which war if not peacetime, are you subject to an income restriction, which varies by locality? Service at certain times and obtaining a combat ribbon may trump restrictions that would otherwise suggest you don’t qualify. Once qualified, getting approval for hearing aids is generally straightforward, assuming your service record supports exposure to sound that might harm hearing. You need to better understand how this all works to know whether VA clerks are making a mistake or not. Look up “qualifying for VA benefits” on the internet. It will help you understand whether you are likely to qualify.