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.

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13 Comments

  1. Donald F. McClure May 31, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    I went to the Palo Alto, CA Veterans Hospital 4 or 5 times when I lived near it, before I moved to Manteca in 2012. I had hearing test from an Audiologist and bought hearing aids.. They helped my hearing some, but my balance problem and dizziness continues to get worse as I age. I have fallen several times, getting broken bones and head jnjuries I had severe damage to my inner ear while flying with the Air Force and am PL 550 Korean War veteran.

    Several Drs. have told me that no surgery exist to fix inner ear damage for me.. I am now taking Physical therapy (again) to help my balance problem

  2. Frances Ann Bookwalter May 12, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    I have dizziness auras and room spinning episodes quite frequently. I went to the Columbus VAOPC, and went to Physical Medicine who referred me to Audiology for Vestibular Rehab. Audiology never called me back, but I was sent to Physical Therapy, which I’m working with but no real results. I wonder how the Audiology department could assess that I wasn’t a candidate for Vestibular Rehab without ever seeing or talking with me? I know….Osmosis that’s it, and that seems to be common with the VA.

  3. Gregory Scott Sieleman May 8, 2021 at 10:09 am

    In April 2021 I had my second episode with vertigo. The first had occurred in March 2020. I sought help from the Saint cloud Minnesota VA and ended up going through a two hour battery of about five test to try and determine the cause. I was very impressedWith the procedure and the work done by a very competent and caring women audiologist, Brady, I wish all veterans could enjoy the quality treatment we here in Central Minnesota receive from our VA. It’s a National shame that so many other VA’s around the country are short staffed/ under funded and Vets and workers suffer. Thank you St Cloud MN VA

  4. Vanessa Simmons May 6, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    This does not mention Meniere’s disease. I suffer from that and talk about bad vertigo! Ended up in the ED at Portland OR VA twice after having attacks while at work. Thankfully after treatment I got my hearing back in the affected ear but wonder if I will need to be on the meds FOREVER?

  5. Leslie Hamilton Hall May 6, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    I have some great compliments for some of the VA Doctors, Nurses ans Techs who serve our HEROS. I am a cardiology patient who was first worked up by VA/ University of Florida Cardiologist Chris Finten in 2005, Dr. Finten and his staff were the very best, most patient, kind and caring group I could possibly want to treat me. I was scheduled for aortic valve replacement, however at the same time, a death in the family required me to go to Virginia upon my return, Dr Finten was no longer with the VA and no appointments were available at the Gainesville VA Hospital and an emergency procedure was done at a local non VA hospital. 10 days after the procedure, I was having very erratic heart beat and tachycardia, a implanted Defib device was placed by non VA physicians. I saw two replacement cardiologists at the Jacksonville VAOPC, both were uncaring and bored, I did see two Private Cardios but both were just so so. In 2018 I had bilateral Catarac lens replacement at the Gainesville VA hospital. This was, in spite of the reason, a great and grand experience, the Doctors, the Nursing staff, the Technnicians, and the office personnel were top notch people who deserve a thank you from all Veterans who have to visit them. Then I had a real trial getting an appointment with the Cardiology dept. None available at the JAX VAOPC, no way I could go community care and after three months I got an appointment at the Gainesville VA hospital, the Doctor refused to see me, had the nurse running back and forth asking questions and the told the RN that he was RXing Digitalis for me. I am not a physician, however, I worked in the Medical for years and knew better than accept the Digitalis, the Dr. should have met with me, discussed my condition and then decided on the proper medication, if any. To me this was an overt act of Medical Malpractice, his actions were far below the community standards. One of the other Nurses told me I was lucky to even get an appointment since, ” Guys are too busy polishing their TEEs (golf)”. I have some very ugly, bulging Varicose Veins and finally got the PC Doctor to get me a referral to the Vein Doctor at the Gainesville VA Hospital, A study showed the veins to be plaque free and the valves in good order. When the Doctor walked into the room he glanced at me, did not greet me, looked at the paperwork from the vein study and the asked what i needed. I told him I has some large marble sized bulges in the vein on my legs, I pulled up one trouser leg and showed him the bulges on my left leg, before I could show him the other leg he started telling me that the vein system was working and in good order, all the while he is setting about 7 or 8 feet away from me, did not get up to look at the veins, seemed bored and tired of me. I tried to tell hi that three other Physicians had warned me that if any of the veins should rupture I would bleed out in a few minuets. He then stood up and motioned toward the door as if to say enough go home. I am having some Cancer treatments just now and Dr. Whittaker and his RN assistant Yolanda Rivera are wonderful. My VAOPC Cardiologist, Dr. Costello and his staff make me feel cared for. I have some service connected Dental Issues and the JAX VAOPC Dental Department is wonderful Dr. Askew and team are the best. My primary Care Physician, Dr. A. Mohammadian is a very good, kind and caring physician, he never fails to ask about me and my Family. Kuddos to all the caring and concerned VA Staff. I thank all of them, I pray GOD will Bless them all in a mighty way. Les Hall

  6. Glenn Joseph Tranello May 6, 2021 at 6:05 am

    When will the VA issue reimbursement checks for copayment payments?

    • claude weeks May 6, 2021 at 12:58 pm

      when do vets get paid for travel and copayments

  7. James Stoneburner May 6, 2021 at 5:49 am

    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.

  8. Jack Blum May 5, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    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?

  9. David G Thompson May 5, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    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.

    • Frank May 6, 2021 at 9:04 am

      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.

    • James Perdue May 6, 2021 at 8:04 pm

      I have both dizziness and balance problems. I have been taking exercises for balance without very much success. Any suggestions you have are ver much appreciated.

  10. Andrew Rutherford May 5, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    Very interested in this service…

Comments are closed.