VA Hearing Aid Repair

I know there are some veterans on here who got their hearing aids from the VA. I have a pair of Oticon OPN Minirite aids that I got from the VA about 3 years ago. They have been great but the left Aid recently quit working completely after failing intermittently for a couple of weeks. Now it doesn’t even play the tones after the battery door is closed. During this pandemic my local VA Audiology dept is telling us if we have a hearing aid problem to drop off our aids to them and they will repair them and mail them back to us. I dropped them off about a week ago and received them back in the mail today…with the same problem. Since the problem started as intermittent I thought the problem might be the wire from the aid body to the earpiece or possibly the battery door connection and I told them that in the note I put with the aids a week ago when I dropped them off. Apparently the person who “repaired” the aid replaced the wire and the battery door and did not bother to check if that fixed the problem. It still doesn’t even play the tones when the door is closed. So obviously it wasn’t checked. Today is Saturday so I cant reach anyone at my local VA until Monday. What happens next? Do the aids have to be sent to Denver to be repaired? If so, how long can I expect to be without them. In the 7 or so years I’ve have had hearing aids from the VA, this is the first problem I’ve had that wasn’t fixed locally and easily. Thanks.

Then take it back in. The clinic here is open so I would take it there myself and my Audi would check out then send it in if needed. I have never gotten an aid back that wasn’t fixed and they ensured that the aid was adjusted correctly for my needs. Even with the shutdown. But the know each clinic is different

That’s why you should describe the problem but not the solution.

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I agree I just say they are not working correctly and give them my description of what I am or am not hearing. The only time I tell them what is wrong s if it is something physically bad that is visible

I did tell them there were no tones when the battery door was closed. How hard could it have been to check that out before sending them back to me? That is just basic stuff. Something that simple to check and they blow it. That’s what is so disappointing. My experience with VA Audiology has been very good up until now though. I am going to take the Aid back today and drop it off. They have a drop box.

I agree with you there, they should have equipment to verify that everything is working correctly, even ways to verify that your programming is correct

You can get a new pair every 3 years. Request a fitting for a new pair. The will still repair the old one, and you will have a spare set.

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And it your aids are really having issues over and over or your hearing changes enough you can get new aids even sooner.

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Thanks for that info. It will be three years for this pair of Aids in October 2020 so I’m not quite there yet.

If you are having that much trouble with the aids. Make a request for new aids now.

At my location the VA is using a drop box outside the Audiology dept while this pandemic is going on. They want us to put our Aids in the drop box along with a note explaining the problem. They repair the Aids then mail them back to us. I just took the Aids to the drop box again this afternoon. Hopefully they will actually repair them this time and send them back to me in good working condition. If they come back not working again I will be requesting a new pair of Aids. Thank you guys for the help. I appreciate it. I’ll update here with the results when things get settled.

Request now for an appointment. Most likely will be October anyway!

Just an update. I received an message from my local VA audiology dept that the the left aid has been sent in for repair, I assume to the main facility in Denver. I’m glad I have a backup pair of aids or I’d be hurting. I’ve been without them since 7/17/20. It is now 8/6/20.

When you put the aids in a drop box do you get some kind of proof that you dropped them off. It seems to me like a pretty lazy system. How hard is it to communicate the problem with someone even if it’s by phone. Assuming you can use a phone. I think your V. A. could make a little more of an effort. My audi always has supplied me with temporary aids when my aids need work which fortunately hasn’t been that often. What are you supposed to do while you’re waiting for your aids to return. Talk to the wall? Sorry if I sound a bit indignant. But when it comes to a vet I feel the V. A. should go above and beyond to resolve a problem. Oops, now I’m preaching.

I have never ever had to put my aids in a drop box for a repair. I have always either given them to my Audi or one of the hearing aid repair techs.

I agree. But apparently that’s not how this VA works. But then again their reason for their method is the virus. I just think there are better ways to handle this. Especially since the individual is a vet and this is the VA

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As far as time from sending them to Denver, when i sent mine back in May it took a little over 3 weeks to get them back. My understanding from talking to them is that they send them on to the manufacture in my case resound for repair in a lot of cases. I am currently trying to get a firmware to update to 0.44 (so that they will work with my android phone) and my local VA says they are making appointments but will update if that is in fact true. Waiting on their reply. (Kenersville NC VA)

I think the point here is the lack of customer service to a group of individuals who are deserving of way more than this

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I did not receive any proof that I had put them in the drop box but I did receive a msg thru the VA system that the aid was sent in for repair. This drop box idea at my local VA facility is just due to the pandemic to minimize face to face activity. I’ve been getting my hearing aids from the VA since 2013. I first started wearing hearing aids in 1999 and the first few pair I bought myself on the outside. Honestly my local VA has given me better service that I got on the outside at least up until this pandemic started. The VA audiologist who I worked with getting fitted for my first two VA pair is very good and very knowledgeable. I’m not sure if she is still there.

Actually I think the idea of leaving a note may be better than voice communication given the current situation. That is assuming they actually read the note (see my earlier msgs). Verbal communications can be misinterpreted among other things especially when the information has to be passed down the line to multiple people.

Before covid-19 at my location you could walk in to audiology with no appointment and probably see an audiologist within 30 minutes. I usually asked for the same one so sometimes had to wait a little longer because of that. If the problem could be fixed/adjusted on site there you could walk out with the problem resolved (new wiring, battery doors, adjustments, etc). It was extremely good service. Generally I don’t think one could do that well on the outside. Before I started using the VA it often took me two weeks to get an appointment on the outside. Hopefully after this pandemic things will return to where they were. The only problems I’ve had with the local VA is with some of the lower level clerical people some of whom seem to just be going through the motions and treat everyone as a number.

I appreciate the feedback ref how long it takes to get the aids back from Denver. That means I should expect them back in about a week. As I mentioned in an earlier msg, I’m glad I have a backup pair of aids or I’d be considering taking a sign language class. :smiley:

I have been getting my aids for the VA since 2005, and honestly I have never had any regards or any bad service from the VA system. I have used Clinics in Dallas, and Austin Texas. Now I am using the VA in Hot Springs and Little Rock Ar. And while my experience with the Clinics in Texas have really been good, I would say my experience here in Arkansas has been really great so far. The staff here just seems to go out of their way to help in every way. During the virus shutdown time my doctors or nurses have called to make sure I am okay or needed any help at least every other week.