Treating dizziness one of many services of VA Audiology

Using VA Video Connect to serve Veterans


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The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that 40% of the US population will experience some form of dizziness or balance difficulty over their lifetime.

Investigating and treating dizziness is one of the many services of the VA Audiology team, which improves Veterans’ quality of life and helps them return to their daily activities.

Each May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and VA’s role in life-altering services and programs. VA, alongside other partners in the community, is celebrating the theme “Building Connections.”

Each May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and VA’s role in life-altering services and programs.

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy using VA Video Connect

Florida Veteran Robert had seen an audiologist for episodes of dizziness and a neurologist for migraines. He experienced daily dizziness episodes, which he described as a “drunken, spinning” sensation. He also experienced nausea and imbalance following a Traumatic Brain Injury in 2012.

Robert’s Miami VA audiology team quickly shifted to virtual care for vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) using VA Video Connect (VVC). Video Connect allowed him and others to continue their care without leaving their homes.

At first, he was reluctant. “I felt thrilled at the prospect at the time, but I was also curious as to its potential effectiveness versus in-person treatment,” he said. “Thankfully, both concerns were addressed most positively, the travel time and distance as well as effectiveness success in treatment.”

Much needed and appreciated treatment

Robert attended weekly/bi-weekly virtual visits between October 2020 and March 2021.

“During this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, if not for video connect therapy, my malaise may have continued without treatment,” he added. “Video Connect has allowed for much-needed and appreciated treatment while safeguarding my life and potential exposure to the COVID19 virus.”

Robert shared that his healthcare provider experience was professional, patient and accommodating, finding scheduling to be manageable and much less stressful as he could coordinate directly with the provider in the event of a need for rescheduling.

“Now, I’m only two miles away.”

Reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. At the Lovell Federal Health Care Center in Chicago, medical staff use telehealth to evaluate dizzy patients. Patients are from the parent medical center and five community-based outpatient centers in the immediate area. The locations identify patients closer to home and determine if advanced testing is needed.

One Veteran remarked that “it was swift and easy.” Another expressed appreciation for the virtual care opportunity, saying “It’s at least three hours for me to get up to the main facility for dizziness issues. Now, I am only two miles away from the closest accommodating clinic.”

Robert’s story and those at other facilities like Lovell are the reason we are committed to building connections on all fronts of VA care. VA Audiology is excited to be a part of the growing virtual care opportunities and innovations in virtual vestibular evaluation and treatment allowing us to help Veterans return to daily activities safely.

Program Information

Learn more about the various telephone and telehealth options used to address VHA audiology patient needs from a distance by visiting VA’s Audiology web page.

Highlights include:

  • VA Video Connect Instructions for Patients (a video that provides instructions on how to use the VA Telehealth system).
  • Enterprise Remote Tuning of Hearing Instruments (ERTHI).
  • VA Cochlear Implant Centers.
  • Vendor Resources to assist patients with a hearing aid and accessory maintenance.

Heather Kamath, Krystal Vera and Lauren Racoosin are audiologists from VA Audiology & Speech. Randy McCraken is a communications specialist with Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Glenn Joseph Tranello    

    When will the VA issue reimbursement checks for copayment payments?

    1. claude weeks    

      when do vets get paid for travel and copayments

  2. James Stoneburner    

    I was dizzy and the nurses at the Columbus Ohio VA suggested I sleep in an upright position for a couple days. I thought that was crazy but I slept in my Lazy Boy chair for a couple days and it was gone. Something in my inner ear was causing it. Have fun with that.

  3. Jack Blum    

    I ama lung transplant patient and have hearing aids from VA. I have dizziness spells daily. How do I sign up for this thru video connect?

  4. David G Thompson    

    Every month in this newsletter, I read all these stories about advancements in VA healthcare, and how Veterans are being helped.

    If it ever reaches down to the level of my local VA Clinic, maybe I’ll feel better about the VA. Until then, I still have to put up with long wait times, Doctors who don’t listen, and substandard medical care compared to what I receive outside the VA.

    When I mention to other Disabled Veterans in my state what VA Clinic I use, the response is usually the same… “oh, I feel sorry for you.” Then they go on to tell me how great their VA Clinic or VA Hospital is.

    1. Frank    

      My doctor must have worked for the VA. I’ll spend 15 minutes explaining what’s going on and then he looks up from his tablet and asks, so what brings you in today.

  5. Andrew Rutherford    

    Very interested in this service…

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