Many veterans returning from active duty develop hearing impairments and suffer from hearing loss. This is especially true among veterans deployed to active war zones and exposed to loud noises.
In fact, findings show that 48% of veterans who experience blast exposure reported lower sound tolerance. In fact, 38% of veterans without blast exposure also reported reduced sound tolerance.
If you suffer from hearing loss or some form of hearing disability, such as tinnitus, the Veterans Affairs (VA) may be able to help.
Does the VA Offer Hearing Aids?
The VA offers hearing aids to veterans as part of their VA health benefits. The hearing aids are provided to veterans registered in the Veteran Health Administration. Aside from being enrolled in the VA health system, veterans meeting certain eligibility requirements can get hearing aids.
On top of that, the provided VA hearing aids come with a three-year warranty to cover both hearing aid repairs and one-time replacement at no extra charge.
What Kind of Hearing Aids Does the VA Offer?
The VA currently has a contract with six of the biggest hearing aid companies in the U.S.:
- GN Resound
- Signia (Siemens)
Veterans can order almost any make or model of hearing device they need, as long as it is from these six manufacturers. The device range covers nearly all hearing aid styles and types—including hearing aids with Bluetooth compatibility, cochlear implants, and other assistive listening devices.
Are Hearing Aids Through the VA Free?
All hearing aids provided by the VA are completely free, as well as repairs under the warranty and replacement batteries in the future.
The device will remain free as long as the veteran receiving them maintains their VA eligibility. This includes having a clinical determination regarding their hearing disability and subsequent need for a hearing assistive device.
Can Any Veteran Get Hearing Aids Through the VA?
Not all veterans are entitled to receive hearing aids for free through the VA. As with other VA health care or VA disability benefits, there are certain criteria that need to be met. In many cases, the VA usually only provides hearing aids to veterans whose hearing was lost or impaired due to a military service-connected reason.
Will the VA Cover Ear Surgery?
Ear surgery or otoplasty may be covered under the VA Health Benefits package. Surgeries are covered under both outpatient and inpatient diagnostic and treatment services. This includes reconstructive or plastic surgery that resulted from trauma or disease.
What Is the VA Rating for a Hearing Disability?
The VA rating for hearing disability is based on veterans’ auditory test results. The VA disability ratings go from zero to 100% and will determine the veterans’ overall eligibility for benefits and treatment. The higher the rating or percentage score, the more VA benefits you may be eligible to receive.
In general, hearing loss disability ratings are on the lower end of the scale at around 10%. In many cases, a zero disability rating may be assigned if the hearing loss is not significantly disabling. Some veterans with tinnitus and hearing loss may receive separate ratings for each condition.
Does Your Hearing Disability Need To Be Service-Connected to Receive Help?
The VA primarily provides hearing aids and similar devices to veterans who suffer from service-connected hearing loss or hearing impairment. However, the VA may also provide hearing aids to veterans whose hearing disability stems from a medical condition that they are getting treatment for at the VA.
What Are the Requirements To Receive Hearing Aids Through the VA?
The VA only provides devices to veterans who meet any of the following hearing aid eligibility requirements:
- Have a service-connected disability
- Were former prisoners of war
- Were awarded a Purple Heart
- Are permanently housebound or require regular aid and attendance
- Have a hearing impairment that resulted from a disease or condition for which they receive VA care or VA disability benefits
- Have profound hearing loss or severe hearing impairment that interferes with daily life
How Do I Apply for Hearing Aids?
Veterans who have yet to register or enroll in the VA health system can do so at their local Veterans Service office, at a VA Medical Center or clinic, or online via the VA website. The following documents are generally required to register:
- Veteran’s DD214 or discharge papers
- Driver’s license
- Health insurance
- Filled out Form 10-10EZ
Veterans already registered under the health system can book an appointment with the Audiology and Speech Pathology Clinic to get their hearing tested. This is necessary to get their VA hearing loss or disability rating and to determine their need for a hearing aid.
Once they have a doctor’s recommendation to get a hearing aid, they can get the devices ordered through the VA.
When Can I Expect My Application To Be Accepted?
Veterans who have newly applied for VA health care can expect to be contacted about their application within a week. After receiving a welcome call from the VA health care program, they can schedule an appointment to get their hearing tested.
Once they have their VA hearing disability rating and have ordered the hearing aids, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a month to receive their hearing aids.
What Should I Know as a Disabled Veteran Applying for Financial Aid?
If you are a disabled veteran and want to apply for financial aid, it is important to do due diligence and know what benefits you can get. You can also check out our veterans’ benefits guide for more information.
After that, you need to know the various eligibility requirements for receiving financial aid, depending on the specific benefits or assistance you wish to receive.
It is also important to know the following:
- How or where to apply
- How to file for disability benefits
- Factors that may potentially disqualify you from receiving aid
- Disability compensation or financial assistance you can receive at the same time
How Can Trajector Benefits Help Me?
Trajector can help you navigate the entire process of getting VA hearing aids—from registering at the VA to getting your hearing tested and more.
We also offer up-to-date information and provide various benefits resources, ranging from Social Security benefits to veteran benefits. Government services and military benefits continually get updated.
Trajector makes it easier for you to keep up with any changes and ensure you understand everything you need to know to receive your due benefits. Contact us to learn more today!