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6 Tips For Dealing with Tinnitus

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Hearing Aids Are Tax Deductible

As the filing deadline looms large, you may be gathering those final details, including receipts for your deductions. Did you purchase hearing aids last year? If so, you’re in luck! Hearing aids are tax deductible if you itemize your medical deductions on your federal income taxes. In fact, the savings includes hearing-related costs for you, your spouse and your dependents. As with most things related to taxes, there are some caveats. We’ve gathered some of the most relevant information for you. And if you’ve already filed, keep this in mind as you plan medical spending for 2018, so you’re ready next year.

To deduct or not to deduct – that is the first question

Not sure if you can deduct your hearing aids? To start, you must decide if you will itemize your medical expenses or not. If you don’t itemize your deductions, then you can’t take advantage of this savings. However, if you have significant medical expenses, it might be worth it for you or your family to do so this year. For the next two years, if you spend more than 7.5% of your income on medical expenses1, you can deduct medical costs from your insurance. (Previously, the threshold had been 10%.) Some years, itemizing may make more sense than others. If you have invested in hearing aids and had other significant medical expenses, such as a hospital stay or surgery where you paid a portion of the cost, this may be the right year to deduct these expenses.

What can you deduct?

According to TurboTax2, the following hearing-related expenses can be deducted:

  • Hearing aids, batteries, maintenance costs and repairs
  • Equipment to link your phone, including phones with special ringers, captioned phones and teleprinters. If you had to pay for repairs, this is covered, too.
  • Televisions and related accessories that amplify sound, provide closed captions and their repair costs
  • A guide dog, including veterinary, grooming and food expenses
  • Wiring your home with special smoke detectors, doorbells and burglar alarms

Keep this in mind when considering hearing aids as a tax deduction

For many of us, doing your taxes can be confusing. If you are doing your own, here are a few tips:

  • When itemizing your taxes, use Form 1040 Schedule A – Itemized Deductions.3
  • The IRS offers an Interactive Tax Assistant online tool to help you figure out what expenses are deductible.
  • Remember to keep all of your receipts!

Of course, we are not tax experts, and highly advise you to bring specific financial questions to your tax advisor or an accountant.

Need more information on medical expenses and taxes?

You may wonder what counts as a medical expense. Another great source for information is the IRS’s information page on medical and dental expenses.3 If you have a person in your household, such as a parent or child, who purchased hearing aids last year, you can only deduct these costs if you claim this person as a dependent on your taxes – even if you paid for the hearing aids.

Already filed your taxes? No worries – there’s always next year

If you are a first-time hearing aid wearer or you are looking to upgrade, remember to save your receipts, because before you know it, you’ll need them for next year’s filing. If you know you will have significant medical expenses coming soon, this might be a good year to spring for the latest technological advances. That way, Uncle Sam can pay you back next year. For more information on the latest in high-tech hearing aids, give us a call at (507) 208-7002.

Posted by Admin

No big deal: Ending the stigma of hearing loss

It’s no big deal! Really. After all, it’s 2018. So isn’t it time that we end the stigma related to wearing hearing aids and hearing loss? Since inclusion has become pervasive in today’s society, why not let go of any negative images of hearing loss? Here at Clear Wave Hearing Center we know that people of any age can have hearing loss and that wearing hearing aids is a smart solution to a challenge. Let’s all let go of any negative associations to hearing loss.

Not just “old people” have hearing loss

Some people equate wearing hearing aids with old age, but it simply isn’t true. Plenty of young people have hearing loss and use hearing aids or implants. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that 2-3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with some hearing loss.1 Schools across the country, from pre-school through high school, make accommodations to “mainstream” students with hearing loss, and several colleges offer programs specifically for students with hearing loss.

Why is there a stigma? Self-perception, ageism and vanity

Even though many younger people have it, hearing loss continues to be thought of as something only old people experience. It isn’t. Nor is it anything to be embarrassed about. Yet, recent research shows that stigma remains an issue. In 2010, The Gerontologist conducted research focused on stigma and hearing loss, and how these may impact an individual’s decision to wear hearing aids. The researchers found that perceived stigma did make a difference in whether people with hearing loss accepted hearing aids and how well they adapted to them.2 People in the study expressed concerns about being seen as old, or worried that people may stare at them if they were wearing hearing aids. But this isn’t new. The study noted that the concept of stigma dates back to the ancient Greeks, and that people labeled stigma to alterations in self-perception, ageism and vanity.

Society has changed rapidly over the last decade

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans have improved their view of people with disabilities,3 especially since 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. People’s viewpoints have changed. But assistive technologies, such as hearing aids, play an integral role in helping people with challenges integrate fully into society. Getting to know people with hearing loss, seeing how well they manage with hearing aids at home, work and in the community, helps break down any residual stigma.

Hearing loss is an invisible disability

You can’t see if someone has hearing loss, so sometimes it’s hard to tell if they struggle to hear you. A hearing aid may be the only clue. Hearing aid manufactures understand that aesthetics count. Sometimes hearing aids are so well-hidden that they’re even invisible. Others have a sleek design, available in many colors, including a variety of skin-tones. Some people choose to flaunt the latest in hearing aids designs and pick bolder colors, like blues or pinks. And why not? We think that hearing aids are nothing to hide!

Why break the stigma?

Hearing loss advocate, Shari Eberts, recently wrote in Psychology Today that the time has come to end the stigma of hearing loss. She lists multiple avenues you can follow to break the stigma of hearing loss. She encourages the public to do the following:

      “Get your hearing tested as part of your annual medical screening and encourage your friends and family to do the same.”
      “If you have hearing loss, treat it.”
      “If you have hearing aids, wear them.”
      “Speak up about your hearing loss”4

We agree that all of these things can help the public understand hearing loss and improve their own well-being.

Want more information on ending stigmas, accepting hearing loss and finding the best options for you?

Whether you are a “newbie” to hearing loss or have been facing hearing loss for decades, we can help you choose the best solution for your individual needs. We understand that first-time wearers may go through a process to get used to hearing aids, and our experienced team know how to help acclimate you to wearing your new devices. Want to learn more? Make a no-obligation appointment. Should you need hearing aids, we will help you find the right design for your ears. Call (507) 208-7002 to book time with us.

Posted by Admin

What Kind of Specialist Should You See for Hearing Loss Problems?

What Type of Specialist Treats Hearing Loss?

If you’re concerned that you, or someone you know, is suffering from hearing loss, it’s important to get evaluated by a hearing loss specialist.

Choosing which type of hearing care professional to see will depend on what concerns you have about your hearing or your ears. Understanding what type of hearing care professional you should see can help save you time and money in an extra office visit.

When To See An ENT Doctor

ENT doctors (Ear, Nose and Throat Doctors), or otolaryngologists, are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, and throat problems. ENT doctors will often receive a few years of training in general surgery, enabling them to perform surgery on serious conditions that affect the ear, nose, and throat.

ENT doctors will generally handle hearing issues that relate to a medical condition, such as Meinere’s or an autoimmune disease.

You should visit an ENT if:

  • You have issues with pain in your ears
  • You believe a medical issue may be causing hearing loss
  • Your hearing loss is accompanied by additional symptoms, such as sinus pressure, headaches, etc.

When To See A Hearing Care Professional

A Hearing Care Professional can help diagnose and provide support for individuals suffering from hearing loss. They are experienced in providing hearing aids or other assistive listening devices.

Hearing care professionals will actively try to improve your quality of life by helping to improve your hearing through the use of hearing aids or other devices. If they believe that your hearing loss is medical, or could be corrected surgically, a hearing care professional would refer you to your medical doctor or an ENT.

You should visit a hearing care professional if:

  • You frequently ask people to repeat things
  • You struggle to hear in crowded situations like a restaurant
  • You watch the TV at a very high volume

If you’re concerned that you are suffering from hearing loss, contact us today to schedule in an appointment.

Posted by Admin

Is Your Diet Impacting Your Hearing Loss?

We all know how important a good diet is in maintaining good health. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat”. A good diet can improve your physical well being, improve your mood, and help our bodies heal. But it turns out that your diet actually impacts much, much more, including your hearing.

In recent years, studies have increasingly shown that a diet rich in minerals and vitamins can influence your quality of hearing.

Load up on Your Vitamins & Minerals

Many adults will take a daily multivitamin as part of their daily routine. Vitamins can also help to ensure your auditory system is working as it should be. A diet rich in certain vitamins will help maintain your overall health, but also help reduce your susceptibility to acquired hearing loss.

Your diet should be rich in:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B

In addition to vitamins, minerals also play an important role in your overall hearing health. A mineral is a naturally occurring chemical compound, and are found in the earth.

The most important minerals for your ears include:

  • Zinc
  • Folic Acid
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

What Food Should You Eat?

When it comes to deciding on the foods that will protect your hearing, opt for a diet rich in nuts legumes, fruit and vegetables. Some of the foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals are:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Peanuts, almonds, cashews
  • Beans and lentils
  • Apricots and oranges
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Bananas
  • Peas

A rainbow of colorful food on your dinner plate is one of the many ways to help protect your hearing. Find out more about how you can protect your hearing and help prevent hearing loss, call us on(507) 208-7002 to make an appointment to speak to one of our hearing care professionals today.

Posted by Admin

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