The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a smartphone application that allows veterans to receive remote hearing aid orientation and adjustments from the privacy and safety of their homes.
The Enterprise Remote Tuning of Hearing Instruments (ERTHI) program allows veterans with VA-issued hearing aids to utilize a specialized application that lets them connect their hearing aids to their phone via Bluetooth technology. This enables virtual interaction with an audiologist to ensure the hearing aids have the appropriate settings to support full functionality. The audiologist can see how the hearing aid is working and help the veteran make necessary adjustments.
Hearing aids should have their settings checked and adjusted as necessary every six months. However, many VA audiology appointments have been canceled, or at least delayed until the end of summer as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. The new app allows veterans to get their hearing aids adjusted to allow for optimal performance without having to wait to make an appointment and visit a VA audiology clinic.
Hearing loss is a common issue for veterans, with more than 1.2 million veterans receiving VA compensation for it. Loss of hearing can have major impacts on an individual's emotional, cognitive and even physical well-being.
Because of this need and recent events, the VA sped up the rollout of the virtual adjustment option and use of the smartphone app.
Dr. Rachel McArdle, director of the VA Audiology and Speech Pathology Program Office, said, "Being able to hear has an incredible impact on how individuals interact with the world around them. This program enables us to help our patients get the most of their hearing aids in the safety of their own home."
Check with your local VA audiology office for more information.
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