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Hearing loss increase

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x020574

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In 1996 I was SC for hearing loss 0% and Tinnitus 10%;  after an ENT consult  I was fitted with my first pair of VA issued hearing aids. Since that time I’ve gotten a new pair every 3-5 years with several adjustments at the walk-in clinic with each pair. I keep telling them my hearing is getting worse but it never gets to a compensation level. A few months ago The VA audiologist is concerned over a sudden drop in my R ear conductive hearing and referred me to ENT. They can’t schedule me for several months so they referred me to a non VA ENT. (This was my 2nd visit to an ENT???) I was dx with Cholesteatoma in both ears, surgery is my only option, besides allowing it to grow are to further damage, possibly resulting in death.. I had Surgery on my R ear, left ear will be well into next year. The cholesteatoma in the R ear had destroyed 2 and 3/4 of my tiny hearing bones, I am now deaf in my R ear. To make matters worse I never knew how bad my L ear was until I no longer have any sound in my R ear. My R ear was my better ear. They will try to restore some of that hearing with a prosthetic titanium bone, but I have to wait 4-6 months to ensure the cholesteatoma doesn’t come back. This sucks! Now I have to sit and worry about my ‘bad’ L ear thinking it won’t be much better than the R. The DAV rep put in for a hearing increase and a temporary 100% recovery. I am already 100% TPIU with 90% scheduler so I don’t imagine this will do much monetarily- but it may boost me to 100% scheduler. Sorry about the rant but I needed to get this off my chest. I can barely hear the the TV without turning it up that annoys other family members. And at their comfort level I strain to hear it, miss half of what has been said... and that is with my L hearing aid turned to its highest setting. As for CC, I might as well go to another room and watch TV because it annoys everyone else. Have I already said this sucks? Going to bed now and hoping tomorrow is a better day. In the mean time if any of you hard of hearing folks have any suggestions for watching TV i’d Appreciate any thoughts. I read about a Pocket device that helps with one on one conversations... might be of interest. Thanks for listening (no pun intended) 

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Hi x020574 Sorry to hear about your hearing loss. Needless to say you have experienced first hand the incompetence of the VA and their unwillingness for them to do what is best for veterans. There are devices available like you said to help in conversations. I have a friend who uses one, but it really is only a very marginal improvement in his ability to hear. How bad your hearing has gotten will be all important to whether one would work for you. He has a cochlear implant as well and it really impacts his daily life especially, socially. You probably might experience depression because of isolation, hopefully not. Depression is an additional disability you may qualify for; and even SMC's might be someday as well. I realize you would much rather have your hearing than comp for a disability, but unfortunately there isn't that choice available. Something else; I recently found out that one of our members, RBrogen, recently received a 100% disability rating, and the State of Mass pays out $2000 to a veteran who is rated ate 100%. You should check out that info from the town hall or your state Dept. of Veteran Affairs.

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Many years ago, I went to a class called "Living with hearing loss".  It was excellent, and I will give you a few tricks I learned.  

1.  If you have a landline phone get one free from "Caption Call".  A note from your VA audiologist should get you this free phone, and the words come up on the screen.  Very useful.  Or, if you use a cell phone, you need "Android 10" and it has "live caption".  I understand this works with a pixel 3, but it may work for other phones.  I am getting one soon, next phone will be with live captions.  

2.  Dont ask others to repeat, ask them to REPHRASE instead.  If you did not understand what they said the first time, you are unlikely to get it the second time, either.  

3.  If you go to a resteraunt and cant understand the waitress, dont just tell her you are hard of hearing, instead tell her you are hard of hearing AND WHAT SHE NEEDS TO DO TO HELP YOU.  For example, she may need to move closer to you, to bend down, to not talk with her head turned, etc.  You know what you need, dont expect her to understand what to do to help you hear, when she has normal hearing.  Expecting someone to know what you need to communicate when you tell them you are HOH, is unproductive.  Instead, tell them what you need, like "speak louder", or whatever you need to communicate.  

4.  Get close captions on your tv, or, you can blue tooth the tv into your hearing aids with new, modern VA hearing aids, and a newer tv.  Ask your audiologist if you need help with your phone, your tv, blue tooth them to your hearing aids.  My audiologist gave me a "hotline" phone number to help Vets with linking their VA hearing aids to varios things like phones, tv's, etc.  

 5.  Buck suggested, if you dont hear the doorbell, to ask the VA audiologist for a flashing light doorbell.  He has one installed and so do I.  Instead of the doorbell ringing, it flashes a light instead.  

 

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Thanks for the support and tips. Hopefully 5-6 months won’t be too long and they can restore some of my hearing. In the meantime, I sure the VA has solutions to help - I just need to get my surgeon OK audiologists to work with me. Thanks again!

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On 10/19/2019 at 5:06 AM, GBArmy said:

Hi x020574 Sorry to hear about your hearing loss. Needless to say you have experienced first hand the incompetence of the VA and their unwillingness for them to do what is best for veterans. There are devices available like you said to help in conversations. I have a friend who uses one, but it really is only a very marginal improvement in his ability to hear. How bad your hearing has gotten will be all important to whether one would work for you. He has a cochlear implant as well and it really impacts his daily life especially, socially. You probably might experience depression because of isolation, hopefully not. Depression is an additional disability you may qualify for; and even SMC's might be someday as well. I realize you would much rather have your hearing than comp for a disability, but unfortunately there isn't that choice available. Something else; I recently found out that one of our members, RBrogen, recently received a 100% disability rating, and the State of Mass pays out $2000 to a veteran who is rated ate 100%. You should check out that info from the town hall or your state Dept. of Veteran Affairs.

Thanks for the tip GBArmy, and you are correct... but with a catch. One must have been a resident of Mass. to qualify. Dang it! But being a resident for > 8 years and disable I do qualify for property tax deductions... 👍

As for my hearing I had a second surgery to my R ear to place a titanium prosthetic inside to replace the 3 hearing bones removed, some hearing is restored but still require hearing aids. Now that I’m out about six months from R ear we will be looking into surgery in L ear... it’s still to be determine whether or not it contains cholesteatoma or not... I am scheduled for CT exam... if none is present I may opt to leave that one alone.

The VA did increase my hearing rating from 0% to 10% and left Tinnitus at 10%. This brings my total scheduled rating to 94% 🤪. Fortunately I have been rated total disability unemployable rated at 100%... but it would have been nice if they kicked in that other 1%. Thank all of you guys/gals for the claim and hearing tips!

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  • HadIt.com Elder

x020574 I'm sorry, but I don't understand why you are stuck at 10% on the hearing as you are already s-c. With being so close to 100% scheduler, an increase  to 20%, or more would get you to 95%=100%. Get a lawyer to help if you have to. Again; you should consider being evaluated for MH condition as a possible route. Good luck man.

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Congratulations on your increase, sorry it didnt get you to 100 percent schedular.  VA "regurarly" lowballs hearing loss, so you may need to appeal.  I did, and eventually won 20 percent.  

You need to have a conversation with your family.  

I know the "hearing" community hates CC.  Explain to them you lost your hearing while in military service and you need close captioning.  The "non disabled" need to yield to the disabled.   Its rude to expect a disabled person to yield to a healthy person.  Consider a second TV if you have room.  

Also, if your TV is "newer", ask your audiologist about a type of FM system that directly puts the sound into your hearing aids from the TV.  I have that.  I have a remote control that goes around my neck, and, have to plug in a device into the TV.  With hearing aids, and this fm system, I can hear the TV.  

TELL YOUR AUDIOLOGIST YOU CAN NOT HEAR THE TV AND ASK HER TO GO OVER YOUR OPTIONS other than cc. 

You may need some help with the technology, also, after you get it to make it work.  Ask your audiologist for help. The VA will send you batteries both for your hearing aids, and remote control if you have/need one.  But you have to order them about every six months. 

 

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