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Veterans Affairs Canada: What is it and how it may help

  • The most commonly reported service-connected conditions among Canadian veterans are hearing loss and tinnitus. The main cause of hearing loss and tinnitus in the army is noise exposure, which is frequently brought on by gunfire, tanks, heavy machinery, and explosive bombs. The good news is that all active-duty service members must wear hearing protection as standard equipment. Veterans Affairs Canada takes care of the impairment related to hearing loss by collaborating with several brands’ products like Phonak hearing aids that support the program. (Information source: https://www.theeardepot.com/phonak-hearing-aids/

    What is Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)?

    Veterans, active and past members of the Canadian Forces (CF), active and former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as well as their dependents, survivors, and select civilians, are all eligible for VAC health benefits. Receivers of VAC health benefits may be authorized for services not included in the basic package of benefits under the Program of Choice option. Those who meet the requirements can obtain benefits for hearing aids in any Canadian province.

    The VA medical clinics offer the full spectrum of hearing care, including diagnostic tests, counselling, implanted devices, and the most advanced hearing aids.

    The following are the VAC eligibility requirements:

    You might be eligible for free hearing aids if you're a veteran and meet one or more of the requirements listed.

    People who have been medically determined to have hearing loss or a hearing condition like tinnitus may be qualified for audio services under this program. The benefits of audio services include assistive equipment and services, hearing tests, the distribution of hearing aids and providing related accessories, and other services.

    Veterans Affairs Canada considers individuals who require audio services for hearing loss eligible if an audiogram demonstrates a total hearing loss of 100 decibels when calculated over speech frequencies.

    In the VAC program, veterans will get the following benefits:

    • Standard digital hearing aids
    • Analog hearing aids
    • Hearing aids accessories like batteries
    • Programmable analog aids
    • Telephone amplifiers
    • Fitting and dispensing costs

    What are the services provided by VAC?

    When you fall under the VAC program, the health care professional must dispense the following services:

    • A thorough hearing assessment
    • If there are any changes in your hearing status or the health of the ear, you would be referred to an ENT or physician.
    • You will get full service regarding your hearing aids, from fitting and adaption to verification and validation as per your requirements.
    • Orientation and adjustments as required.
    • Follow-ups to confirm the device is working properly and is meeting the individual's needs.

    Conclusion

    A person with hearing loss may find it challenging to maintain good relations with friends and family, which can result in depression, social isolation, and ultimately cognitive impairment. If you are eligible for Veterans Affairs Canada, you can contact your local VA facility and get your hearing ability assessed by a professional that specializes in hearing health. VAC provides free to low-cost care related to hearing health, inclusive of hearing aids and other benefits.  

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