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Letter: Hearing help for vets

As a hearing aid specialist with 40 years of experience, as well as a veteran myself, and with all due respect to the work the VA does to serve our veterans, current VA policy and structure does not adequately serve the hearing health care needs of our veterans.

Studies have shown that hearing loss can make life difficult because it can strain relationships, heighten stress, cause fatigue, reduce income and make it difficult to maintain a successful career. Yet veterans have to go to a VA clinic to get service or get a hearing aid. We see it in our offices all the time. Veterans coming in with hearing aids not working having to wait months for appointments at the VA clinic, begging us to help so they can hear at some important event. They shouldn’t have to do that. Unfortunately, extensive backlogs, shortage of audiologist, long waiting times for appointments, expense and time traveling to VA clinics (especially for disabled vets) and lack of follow-up service make it difficult for veterans to get the help and service they need. Our veterans deserve the help they need on a timely, professional manner. Hundreds of hearing professionals are available to serve these veterans right in their communities. Why does the VA make veterans jump through all these hoops to get help with their hearing?

There is a nonprofit organization trying to help. Go to www.fittoserve.us to see how you can help. Let’s not forget that most veterans who have hearing loss got it while protecting our country.JOHN BARTOLUCCI

West Springfield

If a veteran is waiting for an appointment, just to facilitate a hearing aid repair, please go here: http://www.va.gov/oal/veterans/repairs.asp You can send in your own hearing aid for repair at no cost. You can also order hearing aid batteries at no cost, six months supply at a time.

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