The VA

There’s been a lot of criticism directed towards the VA (Veterans Administration) over the years in regard to poor service towards very deserving veterans; particularly combat veterans. I enrolled with the VA about 3 years ago as a first step in filing a claim for my hearing problems. I must say that our local VA Clinic treated me with respect and were reasonably prompt with their services. Having said that, I am disappointed that they flat turned me down for my request of a pair of hearing aids.

I developed Tinnitus while I was in the Army and it remains to this day. I was exposed to horrendous noise, not the least of which occurred while I was in Vietnam. Small arms fire, howitzers, incoming rocket and mortar fire. As I’m sure most folks understand, exposure to loud noises have cumulative effect on hearing. You can seemingly get away with it at first, but it will eventually catch up with you. That is what happened to me. My hearing was still young enough when I separated from the Army that hearing damages seemed almost unnoticeable. But as I aged, reality set in. I now suffer from very significant high frequency losses in both ears. This was seriously affecting my quality of life.

Frustrated, I purchased my own hearing aids. I went top-of-the-line and I’m glad I did. Not only do I now enjoy the singing birds around my yard, I can even hear crickets!

But I didn’t give up with my battle with the VA. I filed a claim and the VA eventually awarded me a 10% hearing disability rating. So although the VA weaseled out of giving me a set of hearing aids, I now receive a modest benefit check each month. If I can make my hearing aids last 5 years before replacement, the sum of my VA benefit will pay for about 1/2 of the replacement costs. I’m reasonably happy with that.