Hearing Aid

Come Again? Hearing Equipment For Veterans In Need Sat Unused

Of all the disabilities that plague us as veterans, hearing loss is the second-most common. It makes sense. We usually have long-term exposure to explosions and pitched battle.

The U.S. military is well-protected in many ways. As troops on the ground, we go through intense training, wear weather-tight boots and don body armor. But the establishment has not exactly emphasized hearing protection. There is no Kevlar for the eardrum.

Perhaps that lack of protection, and the relative ease and low cost of preventing hearing loss in active-duty personnel as evidenced in private sector industries from construction to music, is an article for another day. Today, we are talking about treatment for hearing loss that has already happened.

Specifically, I would like to address an incident in Omaha, Nebraska, where a local TV news crew uncovered important accommodation equipment, like hearing aids and TTY phone devices, sitting idle in the facility for no discernible reason.

KETV of Omaha found that the Nebraska-Western Iowa VA system had full access to these supplies, and they did not translate their access into veteran access well in the slightest. The woman who brought this matter to public attention, Army veteran Jasmine Lewis, is deaf and also blind.

“I need to be able to communicate at all clinics because I have multiple needs,” Lewis said. “I want to be able to communicate on my own.” Such a simple, human thing. So important to leading a fulfilling life, being treated with dignity and respect.

“Without TTY to call, I can’t contact the VA,” she told local veterans’ groups. Those groups got the attention of local media, and here we are, spreading the word and hashing out the implications now.

We should unpack this issue a little. Ms. Lewis, who lost her sight and hearing in the line of duty, overcomes great obstacles to communication on a daily basis. She has one simple request for reasonable accommodation: TTY or a similar teletype system with Braille buttons.

That system allows her to express herself to others. It is not rare or expensive, and as such it should be available in all VA locations on principle. Most of these devices also include Braille buttons.

Not only that, but this location is now verified to have had these exact devices sitting in storage the entire time that Lewis and other veterans may have needed them. Why were these devices gathering dust on random shelves when they needed to be put out for use by patients?

Joe Coskey, chief of audiology and speech pathology at this VA location, was not able to say why such devices had been “here for quite some time, basically unused.” He also said that they are starting to deploy them more mindfully, since the few that were deployed were not in high-traffic areas.

It makes the most sense to have these devices available wherever a person might place a phone call in the first place, such as the pharmacy. Local volunteer and Vietnam vet Dick Harrington wants VA patients to know that he now mans a TTY unit on his shifts at another important area – the info desk.

Harrington would also like vets to know about 711, a relay service available to all veterans to help them communicate. It is a phone number you can call to have your text translated to speech on the other end. A lot of people who need it are simply unaware that it exists.

If even one of you reading this finds communicating easier because of something you learned today, I have done my job. If you are inspired to treat Deaf and hard-of-hearing vets with greater compassion, I am also happy to spread awareness of that.

On many levels, the fight for equal access at the VA is far from over. Still, the hospital’s immediate cooperation and positive outlook on future patient outcomes is a step in the right direction.

As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below. Do you live with hearing loss or deafness? How do you handle your trips to the VA? Other veterans could benefit from you sharing your story…

Source: https://www.ketv.com/article/va-admits-equipment-for-hearing-impaired-vets-sat-unused-until-ketv-investigation/22171701

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  1. Tvery hatd to leave reply my hraring aid ro supress my tinnitus isnt working well enough. Have to take pain meds at timez to think.heard about sytex system that pairs with VNS implant to help. Is tnere any hooe for me tnere? I have had an VNS implant over 10 years for seizures.
    Just need help so i can hear.

  2. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:

    Off topic: I have been involved in the #Unity4J campaign. First I would appreciate if as many people as possible could spread the word about #Unity4J.

    Second, this is a world wide campaign and I am learning an awful lot about how this stuff works, I hope when I am done working on this, I can apply it to Veterans issues, in the same manner.

    Anyway, those with twitter accounts #Unity4J.
    Thank you, and goodnight.

    1. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:

      WyldeChylde, I did get Discord up and running, I needed to for the above mentioned project. User id is : cj#0667

  3. Wilkie confirmed: “Senate Confirms Robert Wilkie as Veterans Affairs Secretary”, By Sarah Mervosh, the New York Times, July 23, 2018

    “U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Expands Access to ReWalk Exoskeletons for Paralyzed Veterans with Revised National Policy” News provided by ReWalk Robotics Ltd., Jul 20, 2018

    Updated VA policy provides expanded access for training to additional VA centers and private rehabilitation clinics through the Veterans Choice Program



    Trump Loyalists Accused of Purging Veterans Affairs Ahead of New Secretary’s Arrival
    By Margaret Hartmann, New York Mag, July 19th, 2018

    Personally I say it is dam skippy about time they fired a whole sloue of worthless fcks at the VA. I am sure that a bunch of them are AFGE Union personnel that cant do the jobs they were hire to do in the first place. I heard that most of them are running for the doors because they fear retailiation from those they retaliated against while they held their jobs as Union officials.



    “Review of Alleged Split Purchases at the VA St. Louis Health Care System”

    “The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) substantiated an allegation that purchase cardholders at the VA St. Louis Health Care System (System)”

    Nothing like using funds for medicare to do building maintainance and any other things they want. What Corruption.



    ” ‘Chaos’ as VA Implements Executive Order Limiting Union Official Time”
    By Erich Wagner, Government Executive, July 20, 2018

    “The Veterans Affairs Department announced Friday that it has begun implementation of the Trump administration’s controversial executive order significantly curbing unions’ ability to use official time to represent employees.

    The department said about 1,700 of the VA’s more than 300,000 employees use official time, the practice by which an agency compensates a union employee for representational work. In a statement, Nathan Maenle, principal deputy assistant secretary in the VA Office of Human Resources and Administration, outlined in broad terms what the EO means for employees.

    “VA employees who previously spent 100 percent of their official work hours on union issues can devote no more than 25 percent of that time to the union under the new executive order,” he said. “Union leaders must also request and receive approval of their use of taxpayer-funded union time to allow the VA to monitor the use of this time to ensure that it’s only used for authorized purposes.””


    1. Department of Veterans Affairs
      July 17,2018
      Office of Labor Management Relations (LMR)
      Notice of Implementation of the Executive Order #13837: Executive Order Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, and Efficiency in Taxpayer Funded Union Time Use American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)/NVAC


      Can’t wait to hear about them getting kicked out of their office space at all VA Facilities along with having to turn in all va provided resources such as laptops, cell phones, desks and all office supplies.

  4. Congress Critter Confirmation Committee asking Wilkie about him leading the VA: “Will you protect all congress critter stairmaster’s mutual funds, contractors, and suppliers for said contractors and by proxy, same mutual funds owned by these congress critters…at any costs, but ALL for the Vets…wink, wink…and will you, Wilkie, PROTECT OUR VA from evil whistleblowers?”

    Wilkie: All smiles and waves like a royal on a Wimbledon vacation with the honey-poo. Here we go folks, better strap yourselves in because it’s going to be a bumpy ride again of groundhog’s day on stairmasters.

  5. Related somewhat is the replacement of Medtronic Pacemaker/Defibrilator units done periodically. I unfortunately have one. Heart & arteries in great shape. I was supposed to have Pulmonary Vein Ablation Surgery 99.9 % effective in curing problem I have been informed with Atrial Fibrillation. Electrophysiologist prepared me for the surgery was not on same page as surgeon though they are trained to be on same page, & I woke up from surgery with the pacemaker because I was on blood thinner other than Warfarin. Only in VA could this happen, outside they would have been sued til sun turns cold. The new technology medtronic & others allows for MRI exams while older tech it was not possible. Found out the new tech was available for better than a year per a nurse practitioner that I visited on outside through Vet’s Choice that had a new one. I was badly in need of MRIs with multiple major injuries in my back being why I was so angry upon receiving my original Medtronic implant. Then after the new units being used for so long guess what ? The dear old VA supplied my replacement surgery with one of the old units. I could not believe it. Only with the VA !!!! They probably got a big discount to fund their executive bonuses.

  6. The VA is the largest supplier of hearing aids in the country. Any veteran in the medical system is entitled to testing and hearing aids if needed. The level of hearing loss for compensation is very high, even if service connected.
    I have referred 12 veterans for testing. Results vary. My first aids were battery powered. At hearing aid school I notced one third of the attendees had rechargeable aids. The VA allows you to upgrade once during the first few months just because you don’t like the first devices. I did so and got expensive Phonak recharegable aids. The VA will not tell you this, several of my friends got older models. I tell them to upgrade.
    The VA cannot do more than basic repairs. Anything else and they must be sent to the Mfg. The VA has no loaner or rental system. You will have one aid for 2 or 3 weeks. The civilian world, such as Costco has a rental program and takes 1 to 2 weeks. They will not sevice VA heariing aids even f they are in warranty.
    None of my friends paid more than the standard co pay. My hearing loss is service connected due to my MOS of Combat Engineer. I paid nothing.

  7. I have been diagnosed with ringing in the ears 10% and hearing lose 0% service connected. But VA furnished me with hearing aids. Doesn’t make since to me. I need hearing aids but don’t deserve a percentage.

    1. In the 1980s hearing aids became good enough, like eyeglasses for vision, if they correct your hearing enough (like mine do now) a rating for hearing loss isn’t warranted. But, lucky me, I still get my 20% hearing loss because when the VA attempted to take it away from another veteran he challenged under the “post defacto” provision in the Constitution. Now the Congress has made a rule that you have to have a condition for 20 years for it not to be downgraded if improved with treatment. At that time it was only 3 years or a “temporary rating” such as most PTSD ratings.

      Fair? No. Hearing aids don’t work well in humid climates. If you live and work in a humid climate I’d make a claim based on the hearing aid dysfunction causing safety problems and interfering with work function.

  8. Sad. Difference in facility management. I now have the best set of hearing aides I’ve had since I began wearing them in 1965. I can actually hear an echo in a hall with them. An experience I missed since 1963.

  9. Another reason to let Veterans go to private doctors to receive medical treatment. The VA is such a large bureaucracy that the left hand doesn’t know that the right hand has in the inventory.

  10. @Off Topic
    This was released a little while ago and contains imformation that some may not be aware of at the moment.
    Just saw your post!
    Robert Wilkie

    1. @Elf
      Actually, it is also a copy of the AP article you posted from Military.com.
      This is it in its entirety for those that did not get to read it.

      “Senate holds confirmation vote for Robert Wilkie to become new Veterans Affairs Secretary
      7:15 AM EDT Politics AP

      After months of tumult, Pentagon official Robert Wilkie is expected to become secretary of Veterans Affairs when the Senate votes Monday to confirm him, taking on the task of fulfilling President Donald Trump’s promises to fire bad VA employees and steer more patients to the private sector.

      Wilkie is Trump’s third pick for the job in 18 months. The long-time public official says he will “shake up complacency” at VA, which has struggled with long waits in providing medical treatment to millions of veterans.
      He is expected to easily win confirmation after a Senate panel approved his nomination earlier this month. Only Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at the time voted “no,” citing concerns the Trump administration would “privatize” VA.

      If confirmed, Wilkie, 55, was expected to be sworn into office quickly, the White House has told some veterans groups, possibly joining Trump at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention Tuesday in Kansas City. VFW has left a slot open for the “VA secretary” to speak before Trump addresses the convention.

      Trump selected Wilkie for the post in May after firing his first VA secretary, David Shulkin, amid ethics charges and internal rebellion at the department over the role of private care for veterans. Trump’s initial replacement choice, White House doctor Ronny Jackson, withdrew after allegations of workplace misconduct surfaced.

      Wilkie, a former assistant secretary of defense under President George W. Bush, has received mostly positive reviews from veterans’ groups for his management experience, but the extent of his willingness to expand private care as an alternative to government-run VA care remains largely unknown.

      During his confirmation hearing, the Air Force and Navy veteran insisted he would not privatize the government’s second-largest agency of 360,000 employees and would make sure VA health care is “fully funded.” When pressed by Sen. Jon Tester, the top Democrat on the panel, if he would be willing to disagree with Trump, Wilkie responded “yes.”

      “I have been privileged to work for some of the most high-powered people in this town,” said Wilkie, currently a Pentagon undersecretary for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “They pay me for their opinions, and I give those to them.”

      Wilkie would be charged with carrying out a newly signed law by Trump to ease access to private health providers. That law gives the VA secretary wide authority to decide when veterans can bypass the VA, based on whether they receive “quality” care. Major veterans’ groups see VA medical centers as best-suited to veterans’ specialized needs, such as treatment for post-traumatic stress.

      Wilkie also would have more power under a new accountability law to fire VA employees. Lawmakers from both parties have recently raised questions about the law’s implementation, including how whistleblower complaints are handled.

      Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, praises Wilkie as “eminently qualified,” saying he will “bring stability and leadership” to VA.
      Wilkie served as acting VA secretary after Shulkin’s firing in March, before returning to his role as Pentagon undersecretary.

      If confirmed, he would replace current acting VA secretary Peter O’Rourke. Since taking over the acting role in late May, O’Rourke has clashed with the VA inspector general, initially refusing to release documents relating to VA whistleblower complaints and casting the independent watchdog as an underling who must “act accordingly.” Under pressure from Congress, the VA agreed last week to provide documents to the IG.
      © 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. “

  11. From: “military.com” via—–
    “Senate Set to Confirm Wilkie for Veterans Affairs Secretary”

    The Associated Press
    23 Jul 2018
    By Hope Yen

    “WASHINGTON — After months of tumult, Pentagon official Robert Wilkie is expected to become secretary of Veterans Affairs when the Senate votes Monday to confirm him, taking on the task of fulfilling President Donald Trump’s promises to fire bad VA employees and steer more patients to the private sector.”

    “Wilkie is Trump’s third pick for the job in 18 months. The long-time public official says he will “shake up complacency” at VA, which has struggled with long waits in providing medical —-”
    Sorry, Didn’t get the last sentence.
    Does anyone believe Wilkie will be able to shake things up at VA?
    Seems like it’s just gonna be like it always was – corrupt, waste, fraud and abuse!

    1. “Complacency” and “Indifference” are the few things the VA is always consistently excelling at. If Wilkie can get the VA to replace “complacency” with “compliant” and “Indifference” with “Incredible”…call me, I will be using Medicare until that happens…again, but don’t…wait for it…’

      1. I’m in the same boat. Once my claim resolves favorably me and the missus are getting married and I’m going on her healthcare. She’s read some of the horror stories on this site.

    2. You got that right Elf. NO change is coming. IMHO Trump has put the wrong people in his admin and shown that by his many picks from Indiana, the massive nepotism, keeping insiders in, keeping Obummer hold overs in, joining the ranks of the perpetual war machines and industry, allowing the United Nations and their agendas to become all powerful like “sustainability,” Agenda 21, their world war on pain meds/drugs, keeping us on the domestic terrorist list, giving foreign powers money we could use here at home, bringing in more “refugees,” not standing up to all the censoring or social media giants/media who are said to be allowed to function or do as they wish. Allowing states like Indiana to run rampant and corrupt as can be, and much more.

      Steering us to the private sector is of no use when we have to deal with VA retaliation that is picked up by civilian health care workers and play the Identity Politics game. Or, civvy MDs and staff also cover up for damages done by the VA while having concrete proof of any of it is also ignored by *all out there. Or excuses given why they can’t do anything about any kind of issue facing some of us. Add to that all the various SJWs, activist, union militants, Antifa types, attack dogs from the Dem or Neocon parties, Move On characters and again, much more of that crap.

      I have noise in my ears too and bounces back and forth and changes tones and racket. Tell a VA person or others about them speaking up and their lip-smacking, deep breaths, or efforts to hide mumbles are louder than them using proper or needed DBs (decibels/tones) doing their business or jobs. Keeping their voices so low, or turning their volume down more so low you can’t hear it well or record it for future reference which is needed due to the inability to stay focused and remember things due to pain and other constant distractions we may have to deal with others don’t understand. Or be told by some idiot “just ignore it all and it will go away.” by a VA hearing tester. Yeah, right. Just more intentional game playing by some of them.

  12. One more thing- Those hearing aids in today’s “Bad VA Art” look like the 1958 models, sparing absolutely no expense.
    Meanwhile, an illegal refugee using State Medicaid or Welfare will get the most *current devices*, yet as a nonhuman test subject Veteran…1958 device that guarantee extreme feedback anytime the microwave is on, device may open automatic garage doors…have fun with that 1958 tech… next week the VA will be moving from wooden dentures to plastic…wait for it….

    1. namnibor,
      My first set of hearing aides were the kind in Ben’s “bad VA pic”! Couldn’t use them because I wear glasses! They distorted my vision.
      Called VA as soon as I got home.
      They set up an appointment at another VHA to receive the kind “molded into the ear”!
      Got a bunch of small batteries also.

      Now I see, through commercials, there’s hearing aides which can be “plugged in” to recharge the batteries.

      Wonder if VA knows about these? I doubt they’d give me a pair!

      1. @Crazy elf- No worries, the VA knows about newer hearing aid tech…all the AFGE minions have the most current models but are wearing them as suppositories.

  13. “[…Joe Coskey, chief of audiology and speech pathology at this VA location, was not able to say why such devices had been “here for quite some time, basically unused.” He also said that they are starting to deploy them more mindfully, since the few that were deployed were not in high-traffic areas…]”

    **Mindfully**???? (what??)… Does that imply they are starting to evolve and use their noggins and that thing in medical books described as a brain?
    Make sure they have that book right-side-up because it seems they’ve been using their asses as brains for several decades now…may explain the muffled reality these asses live in.

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