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Audiology and speech

The Audiology & Speech Pathology Clinic conducts comprehensive assessment and rehabilitation of patients with speech, language, swallowing, hearing, and balance disorders. Clinicians determine the need for hearing aids or other assistive communication devices, provide them as needed, and instruct patients on their use and maintenance.

General appointment information

Face-to-Face, Telephone and Telehealth Audiology appointments are now available at the North Chicago location, McHenry, Kenosha and Evanston Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC’s).  Please inform the scheduler when you call to make an appointment of the location you prefer to be seen at.   

Speech Pathology appointments are available at the North Chicago location or via telehealth to home.

Audiology services

Include:

  • Hearing aid evaluation / fittings / repairs 
  • Pediatric evaluations 
  • Retiree At Cost Hearing Aid Program (RACHAP) 
  • Comprehensive vestibular evaluations 
  • Central Auditory Processing evaluations 
  • Tinnitus Management 
  • TeleAudiology  
  • Special Medical Exams (SME) 
  • Hearing Conservation 
  • Aural Rehabilitation 

Speech pathology services

Include:

  • Diagnosis of speech, language and swallowing disorders 
  • Treatment of speech, language and swallowing disorders 
  • TeleSpeech Services 

Initial audiology appointments

All eligible patients may schedule routine hearing tests and hearing aid service audiology appointments without a physician’s referral/consult.   

Patients may call the Audiology Clinic directly, send a request via MyHealtheVet or request an appointment through VA Online Scheduling (VAOS).    

Consults from a Primary Care Provider are needed for the following Audiology conditions/eligibilities: sudden hearing loss, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) testing/treatment; comprehensive vestibular evaluations, active duty, active duty dependents and Tricare. 

Consults from a provider are required for all Speech, language or swallowing requests. 

Hearing Screening for school age children are scheduled with the Family Practice Clinic. If a full evaluation is needed, Family Practice will consult Audiology for a comprehensive examination.  

Earwax removal or issues is to be addressed/managed by patients Primary Care Provider.  Consults to either the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) or Audiology Clinic is required if deemed appropriate by PCP. If you are an established Audiology patient, ear wax will be addressed at your scheduled Audiology appointment. Please note that a $50 copay may apply for specialty clinic care.

Speech follow-up appointments

Speech Therapy services are scheduled on an individual, as needed basis upon the clinicians’ recommendations.  Speech therapy services can be provided via tele-health or in person in North Chicago. 

Audiology follow-up appointments

Hearing aid issuance, adjustments, programming, etc. are scheduled within the Audiology Clinic upon request of the Audiologist or on an as needed basis.  Audiology appointments are now available at the North Chicago location, McHenry, Kenosha and Evanston Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC’s), via face-to-face, telephone and/or tele-health as well.  Please inform the scheduler when you call to make an appointment of the location you prefer to be seen at.  

All appointments are scheduled through the Audiology/Speech Pathology main clinic at – 224-610-3759.  Please specify the location and type of appointment you would like to schedule. 

Hearing aid repair service options

Walk In Services are no longer available.   This has been replaced with a new service called, Car side Audiology Repair Clinic, which is a scheduled drive up appointment offered at the main clinic in North Chicago, McHenry and Kenosha CBOC’s.  If you are interested in scheduling this type of appointment, please inform the scheduler when you call to make an appointment.  

Drop Off or Mail In:  Patients may drop off or mail their hearing aids for repair. McHenry, Evanston and Kenosha CBOC locations have secure drop off bins within the front doors of each location.  There is also a secure drop off bin located at the FHCC North Chicago within the revolving doors of Building 133EF.   

If you chose to mail your aid, please mail to FHCC Attn: Audiology (126), 3001 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064.   Once the hearing aids are repaired, they will be returned via mail (unless other arrangements are made to pick them up at the Car Side clinic).  Please allow 2-3 weeks turn-around time.  

Hearing Aid Battery and/or Filter Reorder Options: 
1. Call the DALC: 303-273-6200 to reach the automated reorder line.  Select 1 to place an order or speak with a customer service representative.
2. Email: dalc.cc@va.gov (email orders include first initial of last name, last 4 of SSN, and battery size).
3. Call the Audiology Clinic – 224-610-3759 – to request an order be placed.
4. Send secure message via MyHealtheVet to request an order be placed.

Retiree-At-Cost Hearing Aid Program (RACHAP)

What is it?  

Retirees can obtain hearing aids at significant savings through the RACHAP program. Retiree pays the government price for the hearing aids they wish to purchase.  Two hearing aids can usually be purchased for less than $2,000. Exact costs are variable and subject to change at any time without notice.

Who’s eligible?

Military retirees from active duty, Guard, and Reserve units who have hearing loss and/or tinnitus are eligible to participate in this program. Retired Commissioned Officers of the US Public Health Service are also eligible for this program at military treatment facilities, under certain conditions.

The FHCC offers the RACHAP program only to:

  • Military retirees who live within a 75 mile radius of the FHCC
  • As of April 13, 2018,  dependents of military retirees who live within a 75 mile radius of the FHCC
  • Military retirees who previously received hearing aids form NHCGL or the FHCC using the RACHAP program

How to get an appointment? 

All retirees need to register at the facility, before trying to book an appointment.  Registration must be done in person, or by mailing in the completed and signed new privacy policy.  NOTE:  This cannot be done over the phone.  Please call 224-610-1463 about any forms.

Two appointments will be needed.  The first appointment is for the hearing evaluation and will be scheduled for 60 minutes.  The second appointment is for the Hearing Aid selection.  This appointment is a 30 minute appointment.  Every effort will be made to make these appointments on the same day.

Other Information:

The closest clinic could be located hundreds of miles away from your home.  The costs to travel for this program need to be considered versus the availability of an audiologist in your local community to assist you with repairs, warranty repairs, re-programming, etc.

Not every medical facility is able to provide this program.  Care of active duty members takes precedent at all Military Treatment Facilities.

Facilities may discontinue this program for any reason without notice.

Payment is expected at time of ordering and is sent directly to the manufacturer. Please bring valid credit card or check at the time of the Hearing Aid selection.

This program is not a TRICARE benefit.

Clinic services

Kenosha clinic

Our audiology clinic at the Kenosha clinic provides diagnostic and rehabilitative services including;

  • Hearing evaluations
  • Selection, management, and repair of hearing aids and assistive listening device assessments
  • Balance screenings

There are no speech services offered at this location.

McHenry clinic

Our audiology clinic at the McHenry clinic provides diagnostic and rehabilitative services including;

  • Hearing evaluations
  • Selection, management, and repair of hearing aids and assistive listening device assessments
  • Balance screenings

There are no speech services offered at this location.

Evanston clinic

Our audiology clinic at the Evanston clinic provides diagnostic and rehabilitative services including;

  • Hearing evaluations
  • Selection, management, and repair of hearing aids and assistive listening device assessments
  • Balance screenings

There are no speech services offered at this location.

Audiology Q&A

Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center offers comprehensive care services to eligible Veterans, Active Duty and their dependents with hearing, balance, tinnitus, speech, language, and swallowing disorders.

VA audiologists provide screening and prevention services; evaluation and treatment of hearing loss, balance disorders; and auditory rehabilitation services to optimize residual hearing. Audiologists are specialists in providing hearing aids and other assistive listening devices (e.g. TV and telephone amplifiers).

Auditory system disabilities (including hearing loss and tinnitus) are among the most common service-related disabilities in every period of service since WWII. Over 731,000 Veterans have service-connected hearing loss and over 800,000 have service-connected tinnitus. These two conditions are the two most common service-connected disabilities, representing about 10 percent of all disabilities.

Specific eligibility rules apply to hearing aid services. The following Veterans who are receiving VA care or services are eligible for hearing aid services:

  • Veterans who are receiving compensation for service-connected disabilities, or who have non-compensable service connected disability for hearing loss
  • Former POWs, Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipients, or are receiving increased pension based on the need for regular aid and attendance or being permanently housebound

VA provides hearing aids in special circumstances such as:

  • When hearing loss results from diseases or other medical conditions for which the Veteran is receiving care or services from VA, or that results from treatment of that medical condition (e.g., ear disease, traumatic brain injury, or toxicity from medications, or therapeutic agents).
  • When an audiologist determines the degree of the Veteran’s hearing loss restricts communication and affects their active participation in their health care services

Speech Q&A

Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center offers comprehensive care services to eligible Veterans, Active Duty and their dependents with hearing, balance, tinnitus, speech, language, and swallowing disorders.

  • Speech-language pathologists are members of specialized interdisciplinary teams that provide coordinated, comprehensive care to Veterans and Service members.
  • VA speech-language pathologists provide screening, evaluation, and treatment services for speech, language, voice, fluency, and swallowing problems.
  • Services also include evaluation and treatment of memory, attention, and cognitive-communication problems after traumatic brain injury.
  • Specialized services include those for populations such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, progressive or degenerative neurological disorders, geriatric illnesses, community living, and spinal cord injury.
  • Speech-language pathologists are specialists in providing Assistive Technology for communication to assist Veterans with cognitive or communication disorders. Such technologies include speech-generating devices, cognitive communication aids such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), global positioning systems (GPS), and rehabilitative and restorative voice services including voice prostheses.
  • All Veterans enrolled in VA’s health care system are eligible for speech-language pathology evaluation and treatment services. Veterans must be under a physician’s care, and a physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner must submit a consultation for speech-language pathology services.
  • Veterans who are under a VA physician’s plan of care who have speech, language, voice, cognitive, or swallowing disorders due to medical conditions are eligible for prosthetic devices including augmentative and alternative communication devices, voice prostheses, and cognitive devices.
  • Patients receiving speech therapy have the option of using Speech Video-to-Home services. This allows the speech therapy session to be conducted between the therapist in her office and the patient in the comfort of their home.