V.A. and free hearing aids

I have applied for hearing aids and was turned down. Have hearing loss do to jet engine noise in the Air Force. The VA said I have a loss now, (I had the VA test and one I paid for) and I served in the Air Force around jet engines but I need to relate the two?

I have a statement from my audiologist and the ENT who is a MD that I am going to submit to appeal the rejection. Are there income limitations, or maybe I am doing this wrong??

I think my claim is valid for service connected disability rating, but all I really care about is getting my hearing back via hearing aids. My service in the AF was during the Vietnam era working on B-52 bombers and other related jet air craft.

PS I was impressed by the VA hospital I went too, I wish all hospitals were as organized and well run.

You need representation when dealing with the VA. Call you local Disabled American Veterans organization. This is a link for finding a Service Officer or a National Service Officer,DAV. org . Good luck.

Does your loss have to be service related? I served during the Korean conflict and was told by the VA I was not eligble because my loss was not service related. How do you know if it is or not.

tevz32,
What did you do in the Korean conflict? If you were on the front lines or in an artillery battery I would be willing to bet your hearing was worse when you came home than when you arrived in Korea. Maybe the VA has a review board you can appeal to. Good luck!

The VA can be tricky. I have heard from a VA employee that any veteran, whether their hearing loss is service connected or not, can get hearing aids through their system. They may have to pay, but it would be less than buying them private sector. This said, it seems that not every VA is aware of that and if you call to ask, they will do anything to try to dissuade you of this idea.

I did a 6-month traineeship when I was finishing Grad school and that was awhile ago so the information I’m about to post may be out of date (it was in 1998). While I was there if you had a 10% service connection for anything, could be gout or an arm problem or your feet, anything at all, and you could get hearing aids at no cost. If you had a 0% service connection for anything related to the ear (which includes tinnitus) you could qualify for hearing aids. 0% service connection is a rating that allows you access to services but doesn’t award any money.

I did a little search and found this site from 2008:

http://www.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1789

and this page:

http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/coveredservices/SpecialBenefits.asp#EyeEar

YOu might have to scroll down to get to the part about hearing aids on that last link.

DocAudio, thanks for your information. I’ll follow up and see if they can help.

Background: I did 4 years as an Morse Intercept Operator listening to high pitch code which I believe likely resulted in my hearing loss. When I applied for VA hearing help, I was turned down because it wasn’t conclusive that my hearing loss was the result of my job. It would have been nice if they could have given me some help but I know their are a lot of guys more needy than I am. Recently, I obtained a pair of Phonak Exelia Art M from an estate sale. They seem to work reasonably well. Although, it would be nice if I could get them programed to my test. I was told by a HA seller that they will program only for the original purchaser. I would be willing to pay. Is it true that HA sellers will only program program for the original purchaser? Rick

Some of them, yes. Myself? If the hearing aid is appropriate for their loss and they are paying for the appointments, then I’m not one to turn people away. There are a number of reasons why people get “hand-me-down” hearing aids and my job, first and foremost, it to help people hear. Who am I to criticize people for where they get their hearing aids from??? We have a set fee schedule for programming/servicing hearing aids not purchased through our office for that reason. This really only applies to BTE hearing aids. I won’t do ITE’s because there are too many issues surrounding fit and other things that are important when it comes to an ITE and if it’s made for another person it just won’t work right for the new wearer.

Many of my colleagues aren’t as open-minded however so it can be a chore to find someone to program them sometimes.

Doc, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Yes, my HA’s are BTE. I’ll call around and see if I can find someone to reprogram them (they aren’t that far off). I would certainly be inclined to purchase replacement HA, in the future, from someone who was willing to be helpful. Too bad you are not close to Shelton, WA. rick

Funny you should be from Washington. I grew up in Federal Way, got my Master of Science from UW and worked in various places in the area so when you are ready maybe I can help there, although most of my stomping grounds are in the South Puget Sound area. I am still in touch with some of my class/workmates in the area. The traineeship I did was at the Seattle VA…I went to American Lake a couple times to fill in. My husband was stationed at Ft.Lewis for a couple years as well…

Small world.

Doc, way to funny! You have got to miss the beautiful NW. I’m 20 miles North of Olympia on the left side of the water. I spend as much time as possible backpacking in the Olympics and horseback riding. Great to be retired. If you’re you are ever back home (NW) and can accommodate a phonak re-program, let me know. I will travel (well not to Kentucky), rick

Doc, thanks for the research and the links. It seems to say any veteran who receives VA care (I do) is elegible and then again maybe not. Typical government speak. I will persue it further. Thanks again.

Glad to see you vets are being taken care of…I am Canadian and am in a somewhat similar situation, not through the armed forces, but through Workmans Compensation…A year or so a go, my doctor noticed my hearing loss and asked me about it. He felt that, me having worked in a noisy factory enviornment for 35 years, had a great effect on my hearing. He suggested that I file for aid through Workmans Comp. It took 7 or 8 months, but they approved it and have for my hearing aids for life, batteries for life…I am wearing Widex 330 Clears for 3 months now and am quite happy with them. Just thought I would put that out there for any other Canadians in a similar situation.

I spent several years of my childhood living in the flight path of McConnell AFB in Wichita Kansas. The B-52s would fly so low overhead that stuff fell off the shelves.

I have had significant hearing loss with aids for 20 year.

Don’t suppose there’s a way to claim anything from the AF?

Okay, get off the floor laughing…

I am a100% rated Vietnam era vet, my hearing is really bad, I do not use VA medical I feel, it a benefit I can provide thru personal insurance and I hate the idea of draining public resources to get medical help ie:glasses, Physical ailments such as common problems broken finger things like that prescribed medications for sore throat etc. I am hemiplegic as a result of a service-connected scenario(But that doesn’t matter). However I find myself in need of hearing aids I bought a pair for almost $5000.8 years ago. I just got approval for hearing Audiology test to be fitted for new ones, Financial circumstances as a result of the last 10 years has made it impossible for me to afford upgrade. I understand new technology has improved hearing immensely. I have the opportunity to take advantage of the benefit and for the first time in 40 years I am going to. I really want to hear what I’ve been missing. So in closing I will sum up my post by asking a question, When I go see the audiologist at the VA Hospital how do I ask for the correct fitting or what type of hearing aid I need or will they know, I have a feeling surgery may be more of a benefit than not but that could be from frustration of wearing hearing aids, it’s not fun, if you know what I mean
Hopefully I didn’t bore you with my long drawnout post, thank you any information would be greatly appreciated. Have a nice day

I’m told I have otosclerosis I forgot to mention, does anyone have an ideas of questions to ask the audiologist?

I picked up my ReSound Linx2 Series 9 hearing aids in December (2015). They are amazing!!! I had Phonak hearing aids (low end due to cost) and they were just okay. These are amazing. The batteries last about 40% longer. The sound is about 60% clearer, and the features are about 500% more complete. Needless to say, I’m VERY happy with them. All I need to do now is see if I can get my disability rating adjusted. I’m already 50% disabled, so it’s worth a try.

iNorm, I see no one replied to your inquiry. Hopefully you’ve been seen by audiology. Sometimes surgery is recommended for otosclerosis, but it just depends on your particular situation–many factors to consider! Sometimes surgery isn’t pursued and a traditional hearing aid can help. Sometimes a bone-anchored hearing aid is necessary. All of this is something your audiologist will be able to discuss in depth with you.

I worked with the VA audiology people for many years (was in HA industry technical leadership) and they have very high standards, you will get the very best care, for free, Highly recommended.

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I have been with the VA now for about 15 years and I have been to 5 different VA clinics in 3 different VA regions and I have had nothing but the best service from the VA when it comes to my hearing and even my health in general.