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Alexandria area veterans to receive audiology services close to home

The Max J. Beilke Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Alexandria is adding services for veterans with the addition of site visits of the Mobile Audiology Clinic. The Mobile Audiology Clinic made its inaugural visit to the Alexandria VA Clinic on June 5.

The Mobile Audiology Clinic will help fill a critical need of veterans throughout central Minnesota. Staffed with two audiologists, the mobile clinic will travel to VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Alexandria and other locations. It will deliver audiology services closer to veterans' homes and eliminating the need to travel to St. Cloud for audiology exams or hearing aid adjustments.

Current plans call for the mobile clinic to visit Alexandria at least one week per month.

"When it's not on the road, the mobile clinic will be used at the St. Cloud facility to augment services performed there," said Alan Sias, an audiologist overseeing the mobile clinic. "This will allow us to serve more veterans while we await the construction of an addition to the Audiology Clinic at the St. Cloud VA."

Audiology appointments for veterans at the mobile clinic are scheduled through the St. Cloud VA's normal scheduling process. Reach the St. Cloud VA Audiology Clinic at (320) 255-6370, or 1-800-247-1739, extension 6370.

"Hearing loss and ringing in the ears are the two highest claimed conditions for service connected disability," said Sias. "We anticipate that demand for audiology services will increase as the mobile clinic moves around central Minnesota"

The mobile clinic features a double-walled audio booth and equipment that allows the audiologist to perform complete hearing evaluations and hearing aid fittings. All of the audiology equipment is brand-new and state-of-the-

art. The mobile clinic is also equipped with a wheelchair lift.

The mobile clinic was funded by a grant from the VHA's Office of Rural Health.

Veterans are encouraged to apply for VA health care benefits. Veterans with hearing loss as a result of military service should file a disability claim with the VA.

For more information, contact Veteran Service Officer Ray Kallstrom at (320) 219-7780.