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VA Hearing aids?

Discussion in 'Military Bubbas' started by timbo, May 16, 2019.

  1. timbo

    timbo Navy Veteran NES Member

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    Hey folks,

    Well, I think I may be looking at hearing aids....being a Vet (75-81) who served on flight decks on two aircraft carriers and around aircraft during most of my enlistment, I believe it was the start of my loss of hearing. I just had my annual hearing test here at work and it's not good.

    I signed up a few years ago to get my name in the VA system (they told me I made too much money for any kind of benefits at the time). I've been told by some that have been down this path already, just by virtue of my job while I was in, that I may qualify for hearing aids.

    Can someone here point me in the right direction? I have been told that there are VA folks that are willing to help a vet through the loopholes.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    The state of NH has a department SPECIFICALLY for navigating citizens of NH through the BS mess. I used them for my VA claim, and it went great.

    You will need the VA to rate you on your hearing in order for you to get hearing aids from them. Even a rating of zero will get you coverage, but a rating of NQ will not. I kept a journal of everything I did in the process.

    Contact the following people:

    About Us | NH State Office of Veterans Services

    Contact Us | NH State Office of Veterans Services

    I worked with Jamie Cummings. Shoot her an email (in the contact link) and ask her exactly what you posted here. She will give you a list of things you need to get together (if you can) and have with you before you sit down with her. I had the following with me in hard copy AND dvd:

    1. DD214
    2. Dependents and your SS cards
    3. Every single medical record I could get my hands on, government as well as civilian. It was like 400 pages LOL
    4. FOI on my training and personnel files - this included every hearing test as well as range reports
    5. Buddy statements (as required)

    PM me if you need to.
     
  3. SgtHal75

    SgtHal75 NES Member

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    U need to go onto ebenefits and put in a claim for tinnitus and hearing loss. If you need help, go to your towns VA Rep or local DAV or American Legion.
     
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  4. Wildweasel

    Wildweasel NES Member

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    Try the VA first and if you can't get them from them try costco's I am very happy with mine and they were $1600 (my regular ins actually paid 1400 of it)
    I haven't been to the VA since the 80's so I wasn't going to try them this time. (and my Ins from work would cover most of it)
     
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  5. yanici

    yanici NES Member

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    I got mine from the VA. I went down to my local town Veteran Agent with a copy of my DD214. He had the forms I needed to fill out and he took care of it for me. I did get a confusing phone call from some VA person in Philly so I just gave her my local agents phone number and he straightened it out. Next thing I knew I received mail telling me I had an appointment for a hearing test at the VA Hospital in JP. That was followed by an exam by a VA ear doctor. After that I got mail telling me to come in to the JP VA to get fitted for hearing aids. You need to be patient but when it's all said and done it is well worth the trouble.

    There is an audiology dept. at the VA Hospital in Manchester that can take care of you when the time comes.
     
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  6. timbo

    timbo Navy Veteran NES Member

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    Thank you all for your responses. After years of failing hearing, I am ready to look into hearing aids. I have not wanted to because I guess it meant I was getting old(er). It really is starting to impact my ability to hear things I need to hear. I will look for my local Veteran Agent. I can contact my state rep (he's a vet) if I can't locate one. I will also contact Jamie Cummings as suggested by CoastieRon and see if she can get me started.

    Thank you again!

    I will let you know how I make out.
     
  7. grizquad

    grizquad NES Member

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    My step dad retired Col. age 95 lives in Manchester and got an appointment with VA for hearing aids. Took a few weeks to get appointment but when he went in they took care of him and he got a real nice set that go behind the ear and work with his glasses. They did followup and he went in for appointment and no waiting. You shouldn't have any problem up there.
     
  8. yanici

    yanici NES Member

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    Once you're in the system with any service related disability it opens other doors too. I found out belatedly that you can schedule an eye exam and get eye glasses as a benefit too. That saves you hundreds of dollars. The frames you get to pick from are quite good also.
     
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  9. TayNinh_66

    TayNinh_66

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    Google is your friend. Start with Getting Veterans Disability Compensation for Vision or Hearing Loss
    VA will not provide any assistance. a DAV service officer will help you through the whole claim process. The State Office of Veterans Services may also help. Visitation Schedule | NH State Office of Veterans Services
    File your claim without documentation to start the clock. You have 1 year to send documentation. It must prove:
    • a current diagnosis of a hearing or vision condition
    • evidence of an event in service that caused the condition, and
    • a medical opinion linking the current vision or hearing condition to the event in service.
    You will need a complete copy of your military file. Not just your DD214. Your Audiologist must state clearly in his/her report that your loss is directly caused by carrier noise exposure or more likely than not caused by carrier noise.
    I have severe tinnitus and received 10% rating for that. Severe ski slope hearing loss rated at 0%. A 0% rating means you qualify for VA healthcare solely for that service related condition as a Priority 6. A 10% rating is a Priority 3. There is no copay for a service related disability but note that some VA clinics will give you a hard time on eligibility claiming you need priority X or higher. It's BS. If your service connected you are eligible.

    Once all docs are received, VA will schedule you for a hearing exam. Biggest problem for me was word recognition. I can't understand normal speech due to high frequency loss but once they put headphones on and ask you to repeat the word you hear, I passed with flying colors. Thus the zero percent on hearing loss. VA typically denies first claim. Appeal it. With the tinnitus and the high freq loss I qualified for VA hearing aids. Received a top end pair of phonaks that retail for $8K. Also received bluetooth setiup for TV. Once I received the HA's I put them in and never took them out. I opted for behind the ear model. Best for comfort and amplification. In the ear models are harder to get used to as they block normal sounds.

    I can hear normally in the house. Understand nothing in noisy restaurants. I have heard great things about costco HA's. Inexpensive, reliable, and effective.

    -Gary (Vietnam. 100% after winning the appeals)
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  10. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    I didn't know you can qualify for hearing aids with a tinnitus rating! I'll have to let my dad know. He is 10% for tinnitus only and needs them bad. He's in Louisiana, and not all VAs are created equal.

    I'm rated for tinnitus as well at 10% with a 60% over all rating. My experience with the VA has actually been pretty good at Manchester as of late. My experience through the rating process wasn't bad with the help from NH's veteran services.
     
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  11. Len-2A Training

    Len-2A Training Instructor Instructor NES Life Member NES Member

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    You should check your town's website. Veteran Agents (at least in MA) are town appointed officials and contact info should be on each town's website. If not, a call to the Town Clerk's Office (they are "official keeper of the records" for a town) should get you that info. Worst case a query to your local VFW or AL Post should be able to give you the contact info you need.

    I was never in the service. I worked on Poseidon Guidance Systems and later as a nuclear project engineer on Subs while folks like you served. I thank all of you for your service.

    However, I've learned a thing or two about hearing loss. I'm told that my tinnitus and severe hearing loss is not due to loud noises, etc. (in spite of all the chipping, welding and grinding I heard while in the boats for hours each day), but is somehow heredity (no idea . . . my Father was Army Infantry in WWII from D+10 to Berlin and suffered major hearing loss most likely from that experience).

    I've been going to Costco for hearing aids for years now, much less than 1/2 the cost of an independent audiologist (I went to one of those before Costco) . . . for those readers who aren't VA candidates. Same hearing aids in my case (Resound) as the independent audiologist offers. I used Costco in Dedham, but after I'm finally moved to NH I may switch to Costco in Nashua.

    However, hearing aids don't discriminate between sounds you want to hear and sounds you don't. In an environment where TV, people speaking to me and other noises exist it amplifies all of them equally making it very difficult to sort out the wheat from the chaffe!
     
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  12. TayNinh_66

    TayNinh_66

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    Service connected, VA will supply HA's. but you're correct, each VAMC may have their own troll guarding the eligibility desk... Have a person who won't take no for an answer accompany him.
    My experience with VA Jamaica Plain has been excellent for years. As good as any Boston hospital medically speaking.
     
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  13. TayNinh_66

    TayNinh_66

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    I worked on Polaris guidance and SINS, then the draft came calling. Long time ago...

    You're right, HA's amplify everything! I hear the noise but can't make out the words. I have given up all efforts to understand conversation in restaurants.
    I have a bluetooth transmitter connected to TV and a receiver around my neck that transmits to HA's so I have excellent clarity with TV. Resound has a similar setup.
    I purchased the Phonak Target programming software and the necessary hardware allowing me to program my own HA's. HA's have room for 4 programs, and I can tweak each program for specific situation. For normal home usage I have shifted the higher frequencies that I can't hear to lower frequencies that I can hear so I can understand my wife as long as she is in the same room. If I'm in the car I switch to the program where I have blocked the lower frequencies. Audiologist will do all of this but it may require a lot of visits. You can download Resound fitting software but would probably void the warranty by reprogramming them.
     
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  14. Wildweasel

    Wildweasel NES Member

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    My hearing aids only amplify the parts I have loss in. so High freq for me. I still do have issues in high noise environments, but the costco ones I have have a phone app with different settings for different environments. It does help some. overall once adjusted to you ( it may take a few visits ) and your brain gets retrained to make sense of the things it is hearing again it is much better. and when I have them in the tinnitus isn't as bad. (still there just quieter in my experience. )
     
  15. jd4444

    jd4444 NES Member

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    Apply for disability first, get that and then apply for the healthcare side. As mentioned above, 10% will get you no co-pays for service connected and non-service connected health issues. See a VA doctor (within the past 2 years) and you get emergency room visits at non-VA locations and 3 trips to urgent care with no co-pay per year. After the first 3 there is a co-pay. Co-pay for medications (if you have them) are 5, 8 and 11 for a 30 day supply.

    I took the hearing test and 3 weeks later to the day, had my determination.

    The only way to find out if you qualify for any of these benefits, is to apply for them. These are your benefits that you have earned.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
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  16. Knob Creek

    Knob Creek NES Member

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    Before you run off and get a hearing aid go to Mass Eye & Ear. I had a hearing loss in one ear that they completely corrected. Performed a procedure know as a Stapedectomy. Won't be a solution for everyone but I'm glad I went. And I know several others who also had success with this.

    Stapedectomy - Wikipedia
     
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  17. Laura

    Laura NES Member

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    My Dad used the VA; I know some people like Costco but remember, if anything happens to your hearing aids, only a Costco that services hearing aids can assist you. If you travel, and there's no Costco near you, or you're overseas, you're out of luck. You get hearing aids from the VA, have an issue when traveling or move to another state, anyone can assist you. It's not VA specific - Costco's is their own brand and only they can work on those hearing aids.

    I don't know of loopholes. If I did I certainly would have helped my Dad with that. We got the high end Widex Dream hearing aids which the VA now offers and they're way better than the Starkey he was stuck with before. I use the Widex brand myself, but my Dad didn't have to pay a dime for his....

    Edit to add: if they ask if you want the devices to go with the Widex hearing aids, always say "yes." You want the TV Dex (it allows you to stream sound to the TV direct your hearing aids. The TV volume can be completely off but you'll hear everything fine), the remote on your key chain which raises and lowers the volume (think sirens when you go for a walk, or the noise level in a store or when getting gas for the car) and then there's an M Dex that allows you to stream sound from your smartphone direct to the hearing aids. It's the only way I can hear myself.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
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  18. Len-2A Training

    Len-2A Training Instructor Instructor NES Life Member NES Member

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    Laura, I'm not a Veteran but my Costco hearing aids are branded Resound which is the same brand that audiologists sell/service. I do know that Costco sells some under their own brand and likely your statement is correct about those hearing aids.
     
  19. 440beeper

    440beeper NES Member

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    My Dad is a Korean war vet with hearing damage from his service. His hearing was pretty sketchy for years, but it has only got worse over the years. He finally broke down and got hearing aids from the VA. Even though it was many decades after his service, the VA took care of him.
     
  20. smokey-seven

    smokey-seven NES Member

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    My hearing is lost in a specific range. I don't hear birds much anymore. I have learned to live with it, and the female voice is the worst part.

    I am starting to enjoy some of it though. In traffic heading to a place during rush hours, I was listening to the traffic reports every 10 minutes. I was paying attention to traffic and only half halfheartedly listening. I did catch that there was some obstruction in the right two lanes up ahead and it was far enough away that I was not immediately worried. The announcer said, "The right two lanes are obstructed due to lion tamers."

    I said out loud, WTF? and had to wait 10 minutes for the next announcement. When it came on I turned the volume up and listened closely. When that right lane obstruction was announced again, it said, "The right two lanes are obstructed due to line painters."

    You gotta enjoy what you got.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
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