Hearing disorders are especially prevalent among Veterans who have served in the military and have been exposed to high noise levels while on duty. More than 2.7 million Veterans currently receive disability benefits for hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Many Veterans living in rural areas have had challenges in getting a diagnosis and treatment but the Department of Veterans Affairs has steadily been pushing for sophisticated telehealth technologies to provide Veterans convenient care options in their communities. Teleaudiology is a part of the administration’s comprehensive hearing-health services. Audiology Store and Forward Telehealth (SFT) modality is now being implemented through a pilot program in targeted areas. Audiologists evaluate the test results and determine the type and level of hearing loss and treatment, need for further evaluation and recommended follow up. The program has been so successful that nearly a dozen new facilities have requested similar hardware setups in order to expand their programs.

Audiology telehealth: Helping rural Veterans access hearing evaluations