We received a testimonial from a Veteran who, years after his retirement, developed hearing loss and tinnitus, and reached out to The Royal Canadian Legion for assistance in accessing Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) benefits. He agreed to allow us to share his experience.
Over the course of his 35-year career, the Veteran noticed his hearing levels had slowly depreciated, but not to the level where hearing devices were required. However, six years after retirement, he started to experience pain in the left ear and steady tinnitus. On getting his hearing checked, the audiologist recommended hearing aids and encouraged the Veteran to seek assistance through VAC to help cover the costs for hearing devices, which can be substantial.
After asking fellow Veterans who had received VAC benefits for advice on how to proceed, several colleagues recommended he contact The Royal Canadian Legion for assistance. This was his experience:
“I was professionally dealt with by personnel in The Royal Canadian Legion from the very start and was connected to the Service Officer at the Nunavut Command Legion in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I immediately gained a sincere appreciation from Ms. Lorena Forrest, who booked an appointment for me to come in and see her within a few days to start this process. She was very receptive and helpful right from the beginning. We filled out the paperwork that could be completed in her office, and then she briefed me very precisely and clearly on what I had to do on my own that might benefit me for assistance while being reviewed by Veterans Affairs. I filled out narrative reports, backed up with many facts and events that took place during my career, that may have led my hearing to depreciate over time. I wasn’t convinced that the military was responsible for my tinnitus, which started up 6 years after my retirement, but I did mention some facts that I was involved in during my career that may have triggered it to happen over time as well. I also let it be known that I had no proof to justify that it was caused by the military.
I returned all necessary information back to Ms. Forrest within a few days, where she then compiled my paperwork into a file and sent it off to Veterans Affairs shortly thereafter. She advised me to be patient and that she would be in touch as soon as she heard anything. I was not expecting to hear anything back from her or Veterans Affairs for at least a few months, and quite possibly longer. (…) I received a call from Ms. Forrest less than a week later saying she heard back from Veterans Affairs and that they were accepting my file for assistance, both for hearing loss and for tinnitus.
I was completely surprised by how quick the review process took. I was very impressed with the professional demeanor conducted by Ms. Forrest, and I was more than appreciative of the timely response given by Veterans Affairs in their review and returning their decision. I could not have conducted the process of Veterans Affairs assistance if I hadn’t been handled by experienced and helpful personnel, like I was, in The Royal Canadian Legion.
If you’re a veteran who requires assistance covered by Veterans Affairs, do not hesitate to reach out to The Royal Canadian Legion and contact a Service Officer. I know first-hand that you’ll be dealt with properly, professionally and in a helpful manner.”
If you or a Veteran or family of a Veteran you know needs support, the Legion’s Veterans Services Department offers a wide range of assistance, always free of charge. Canadian serving military, retired Veterans including RCMP members and their families can reach out to a Legion Command Service Office for assistance. Contact a professional Service Officer