Friday, May 24, 2024


I hope no one missed last week’s episode of the long running series “Why haven’t you en­rolled in VA Health Care?”. A quick reminder if you do not recall the topic, I discussed VHA vi­sion care and the possibility of free prescription eyeglasses for eligible Veterans. The series con­tinues this week with a brief discussion about VHA audiology services.

VA offers comprehensive healthcare services to Veterans with hearing loss, tinnitus, and bal­ance disorders. Auditory system disabilities including hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in ears) are among the most common service-relat­ed disabilities in every period of service since WWII. VA is the largest employer of audiolo­gists in the United States, employing over 1300 audiologists. VHA Audiology has access to the most current, state of the art technologies to in­clude hearing aids, personal amplifiers, assistive technologies, and cochlear implants.

All Veterans enrolled in VA’s health care sys­tem are eligible for comprehensive audiology diagnostic evaluations. Specific eligibility rules apply to hearing aid services. To receive hear­ing aids through VA, you must first register at the health Administration/enrollment section of the VA Medical Center of your choice. Once regis­tered (or if already registered), you may sched­ule an appointment at the Audiology and Speech Pathology Clinic for an evaluation of your hear­ing. The audiologist will make a clinical determi­nation on the need for hearing aids and/or other hearing assistive devices. If hearing aids are rec­ommended and fit, the hearing aids, repairs, and future batteries will all be at no charge to you, as long as you maintain VA eligibility for care.

According to Forbes, “the average cost of one hearing aid is approximately $2,000”. Depend­ing on the type of hearing aid and the need for a pair (one for each ear), you may spend between $4,000 and $8,000. But wait (in an infomercial voice), Veterans may be eligible for free hearing aids if enrolled in VA health care. Why wait, call your CVSO today to schedule an appointment to complete your VA Form 10-10EZ Application for Health Benefits. You can even apply from the comfort of your own home! www.va.gov/health-care/how-to-apply/

The time and effort to complete the application outweighs the possible benefits. Even if VA says “no” (limits care benefits), you may resubmit if your situation changes. Apply today and let VA know you are a Veteran and ready to receive your earned benefits.

Brad Anderson is the Lake County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.834.8326, or cvso@co.lake.mn.us

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen. christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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