Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) estimates there are over 750,000 Canadian Forces (CF) veterans in Canada. Through different veteran services programs, VAC works in partnership with government health care authorities and health care providers to ensure eligible veterans and other clients (veterans' spouses, for example) receive appropriate health care benefits including audiology and speech-language pathology services.

The Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA) serves as a liaison between its members and VAC and facilitates collaboration with the provincial/territorial associations and regulatory colleges related to speech and hearing across Canada. Of the more than 85,000 participating providers who work with VAC, audiologists and speech-language-pathologists, represented nationally by CASLPA, play a major role in meeting the hearing and speech needs of veterans.

"In addition to disabilities acquired during their duties, aging veterans can also have disorders caused by the aging process, noise exposure, heredity, middle ear dysfunction, certain medications, neurological diseases and head injuries," says CASLPA Director of Audiology and Supportive Personnel Chantal Kealey, Doctor of Audiology, Aud(C).

With veterans averaging between 54 and 86 years of age (CF veterans, 54, Korean War veterans, 77 and Second World War veterans, 86), age-related hearing issues are increasingly prevalent. Hearing loss is the third most common chronic disability among all older adults, with 20 per cent over 65 and 40 per cent over 75 having a significant hearing problem.

"Audiology services allow Canadians to optimize their hearing health, independence, safety, socialization and overall quality of life," added Kealey. "Audiologists provide assessment, treatment and management of hearing loss, balance problems, tinnitus and related auditory disorders."

If a veteran in your life has communication difficulties and may be eligible for VAC benefits, CASLPA suggests contacting Veterans Affairs Canada. For additional information about VAC benefits, visit their website at vac-acc.gc. CASLPA represents the professional needs of more than 5,500 speech-language pathologists, audiologists and supportive personnel. For more information about the role audiologists, speechlanguage pathologists and supportive personnel play in the management of communication disorders or to find an audiologist or speech-language pathologist in your area, visit CASLPA's website at speechandhearing.

Source
CASLPA

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