Re: Issue With The Denver VA

Jim Rau

Hi Dick, Welcome to the site. Glad you found it.

I also have a service connected hearing loss from Viet Nam. Like you I struggle to understand speech in noisy situations. I have received my audiology care from VA for many years. At first I was told I could get new hearing aids every 3 years and most recently every 4 years.

My most recent hearing aid replacement began in February when I qualified for new hearing aids. I had been using Oticon OPn. The audiologist tested my hearing and prescribed new Oticon More (which would become available on VA contract in May. By the time the hearing aids came in late may that audiologist had moved to a different position in VA. The audiologist who set up my Otidon Mores said she thought I’d do better with the Phonak Paradise so she ordered them but did fit me with to. Oticon Mores which I wore for 3 months while waiting for the Phonaks. Two weeks ago she fit me with the Phonak Paradise which seem to work a bit better than the Oticons but I have issues. While they do sound a bit better and connect wirelessly to more things than the Oticons they are harder to use. By that I mean they don’t work as seamlessly as the Oticons. The Phone app that controls the Phonaks is terrible. It drops connections and changes programs randomly. I found out from Phonak that the Paradise hearing aide provided to VA do not have the latest firmware and VA won’t have that firmware until about November. So I went to a private audiology clinic and got them updated with the new firmware. They still remain unstable. Outgoing phone calls connect the Phonaks, but incoming calls go to the phone audio and I have to switch it over manually.

I was anxious to get the Phonak Paradise but I’m considering going back to the Oticons because they work seamlessly. Today,for instance, my Phonaks changed programs about 6 or 8 times by themselves. I changed them back manually to the correct program each time. The mute button mutes the Phonaks only momentarily. I sometimes want to mute them and just listen to music without the hearing aid microphones on. The Phonaks have more automatic features which is great but they don’t work as they are supposed to. I’m communicating with Phonak and the private audiologists to remedy the instability issues. Bottom line is I’m still undecided which ones I’ll keep. I know I’ll have them for at least 4 years.

For you, I think VA’s position is that they will not replace your hearing aids as long as they are working just to get the latest technology. Every time Ihave received new hearing aids my anticipation was much higher than the improvement. The way the audiologist sets them up is more important in my opinion. And if I were you I wouldn’t want the Phonak Paradise from VA until after they get the new firmware (November???)

Jim Rau
President HLAA WI Association

On Aug 23, 2021, at 3:11 PM, dwisott <dwisott@...> wrote:

I just today discovered this site and am posting here to get your input and suggestions.

The Denver VA has provided me with hearing aids for several decades and generally updated my hearing aids about every 3 years or so as new technology emerged. My hearing in both ears was damaged while firing a bazooka in basic training in 1956 (no ear protection was provided back then). It was only when I reached retirement age that I needed hearing aids and have gotten increasingly worse as I reached my late 80’s.

I currently cannot hear much in noisy situations, like in restaurants and also in the classes I take and also teach at Denver University. And my wife is constantly complaining that I miss much with my daily interactions with her and our friends and family. An audiologist at the University of Colorado Hospital that I consulted with, strongly recommends that I try the new hearing aids called "Phonak Audeo Paradise 90”, which are recommended for those with severe hearing loss (which is what I have at some levels). The website “Senior Living. org” also considers the Phonak aids the best for my hearing loss.

The Denver VA has denied me even trying the Phonak aids claiming that since my current Oticon aids are just 3 years old I need to wait for at least 2 more years. The head of VA audiology in Denver sent me a message which included these statements: “The VA strives to provide the best products and best service possible. We are not able to provide new hearing aids because new technology becomes available.”

I find that last statement to be totally outrageous and told them so. If technology has improved significantly, which would markedly benefit our veterans lives, how can they deny making them available to veterans like you and me?

I am considering going out and buying a pair of hearing aids (cost around $5,000) since I likely don’t have that many years left as I approach my nineties. But I am appalled that the VA is so rigid and uncaring.

So what do you think about this and what do you advise me to do?


Dick Wisott
Email: dwisott@...

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