Hearing Aids

8 Reasons to be Thankful For Hearing Aids

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Can You Get a Tax Break if You Bought Hearing Aids Last Year?

The April 15th tax deadline is getting closer, and you may be finalizing your tax returns. When you’re looking at potential deductions, did you know that hearing aids could be tax deductible?

If you itemize medical deductions on your federal income taxes, you could deduct your hearing aids. It can be a great way to save money on life-changing investment you’ve made. Here’s how to save money on taxes with hearing aids.

Itemize Medical Expenses

Do you plan to itemize your medical expenses for the 2018 tax year? This is the first step you must take before you can deduct the cost of your hearing aids. If your total out-of-pocket healthcare expenses exceeded 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) in 2018, you can itemize any expenditures above 7.5% on your tax return. Perhaps you had a few large healthcare expenses in 2018; by itemizing them you’ll increase your tax deduction. Some expenses you could itemize include:

  • Visit to the optician (and new glasses if you had to buy a new pair)
  • Visit to the dentist / dental surgery
  • Surgery
  • Medical equipment (for example a new wheelchair)
  • Hearing aids and some accessories

NOTE: The threshold for healthcare expenses relative to AGI increases to 10% for the 2019 tax year. To see if itemizing your medical expenses makes sense of the 2018 tax year, we recommend speaking to a financial or tax advisor.

Hearing Aid Tax Deductions

Once you’ve started itemizing your medical expenses, you can deduce a variety of hearing-related expenses. As long as you still have the receipts, this can include?

  • Hearing aids, batteries, maintenance costs and / or repairs.
  • A guide dog, including veterinary, food and grooming expenses.
  • Hearing assessments or exams.
  • Home adaptations such as custom doorbells, specially-adapted burglar alarms or smoke detectors.
  • Equipment for your phone, such as captioned phones, teleprinters.
  • Televisions or accessories that amplify sound, provide closed captions.

Keep in mind the following:

  • Do not include medical insurance coverage that has been provided by your employer.
  • Deduction rates may differ if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA).
  • You can only deduct the costs of hearing aids (or other related expenses) for another person in the household if you claim them as a dependent.

Donate Your Hearing Aids

If you’ve decided that you’re going to upgrade your hearing devices in 2019, why not consider donating your old hearing aids? These donations could be eligible for a deduction on your 2019 taxes if you donate through charities like the Lion’s Club’s HARP Program. Your deduction would be dependant on the value of your hearing aids at the time of donation.

Further Resources

Looking for more information on what you can count as a medical expense? See Can I Deduct My Medical and Dental Expenses? and further details on Medical and Dental Expenses.

Hopefully this has shown you how to save money on your taxes with hearing aids. To maximize your savings, we recommend speaking to a tax advisor. If you’re already thinking ahead to your 2019 tax returns, start keeping all of your receipts from now. And when you’re ready to book in your annual hearing assessment, come in and visit the team at Clear Wave Hearing. Call us on (507) 208-7002 or click here to request an appointment today.

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How To Protect Your Hearing Aids In Cold Weather

You may already know that the cold weather can impact your hearing. But did you that it can also impact your hearing aids? Hearing aids are useful devices, but to function at their best they require care and attention. The sensitive electronics inside your hearing device should be protected from freezing temperatures and moisture. Because moisture is often present in colder weather, winter can be challenging. Here are a few ways you can protect your hearing aids in cold weather.

When You’re Outdoors

If you’re planning on braving the cold outside, there are a few things you can do to protect your hearing aids:

  • Keep your hearing aids covered when outdoors. Use hats, scarves, earmuffs, sweatbands or headbands to keep the devices from becoming too cold or wet. Look for fabrics that breathe, to prevent perspiration. Earmuffs that reduce high levels of noise are also available.
  • The cold itself can slow or drain your device’s batteries. Keep spare batteries with you in case you need to change them out.
  • Check the IP level of your device, consider purchasing a more water resistant one.
  • Remove your hearing aids if you’re planning on any winter sports, such as snowboarding or skiing.

When You’re Indoors

You’ve taken the necessary precautions when outdoors, but there are also things you can to do protect your devices when you’re indoors:

  • Remove batteries overnight, store in a cool, not cold, area to safely dry.
  • To keep your hearing aids working longer, you may also consider using a hearing aid dehumidifier or dry aid kit overnight.
  • Do a quick sound check when you put your devices in. Rub your hands together near each ear. Can you hear this on both sides?
  • Avoid wearing your device in humid environments or whilst near water i.e swimming, showering and when playing sports.
  • Whilst indoors, wipe away moisture from your hearing aids by drying the outer shell and the battery compartment. A cotton swab should do the trick.

General Guidance

  • Be aware of excessive noise and adjust your settings accordingly or wear ear plugs.
  • If your hearing aid is quiet or creating crackling noises during the winter, you may be experiencing issues related to moisture exposure. Try to carefully dry it. You may also want to arrange for us to take a look for you.

The above tips will help to protect your hearing aids in the cold weather. If you’d like further tips on keeping your hearing aids clean, check out our Hearing Aid Maintenance guide. If you’re concerned that the cold weather has affected your hearing, call us on (507) 208-7002 or click here to request an appointment today.

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8 Reasons to be Thankful For Hearing Aids

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to pause and reflect on what we are grateful for. Hearing aids may not be the first thing that spring to your mind. It’s easy to take them for granted, or maybe even to harbor some resentment toward them. But we would like to take this opportunity to list 8 reasons to be thankful for these fantastic, life enhancing devices.

Reasons to be Thankful

  1. Having the option. Although hearing aids can be expensive, we cannot forget how lucky we are to have them as an option. In the past, and even today in certain parts of the world, many individuals do not have the option.
  2. Having a choice. Hearing technology offers tailored solutions for treating hearing loss conditions that suit all lifestyles. Various styles, sizes and colors of hearing aids are available with several different features, accessories and apps. Add to this other products such as amplification devices, cochlear implants etc.
  3. The stigma is changing. The stigma of hearing loss is fast changing with more individuals working, socialising and participating in activities more confidently. Hearing technology has become less obvious and bulky, and has hugely advanced.
  4. Directional microphones. Hearing aids have built-in directional microphones, which help you determine where a sound is coming from and if it is background noise or speech. This helps you know what to focus on.
  5. Health benefits. Studies have shown that using a hearing aid to treat hearing loss has many additional health benefits such as improving quality of life, reducing the chances of depression, social isolation and Dementia.
  6. Improved communication. Hearing Aids can greatly improve communication by giving back the sounds you hadn’t realised were lost. Missing high frequency sounds like the consonants ‘s’ ‘h’ and ‘f’ ‘k’ or ‘t’ or the sounds ‘ch’ or ‘sh’ ‘th’ makes some words difficult to understand.
  7. Sounds of the world. Some simple everyday pleasures return to you again. Bird song, bees buzzing, or the wind in the trees to name a few.
  8. Reminder of their importance. Every time you remove your hearing aids, clean them and reinsert them – you have the opportunity to acknowledge how much they do for you. Things instantly sound more sharp and loud. This helps demonstrate how easily we adapt to a slow reduction of sound in our life.

Your Hearing Aid works hard every time you use it to enrich your hearing experience. Don’t take it for granted – regular maintenance and check ups are important. If either of these things are due, or you feel that something isn’t quite right with your hearing or your device. Please call today on (507) 208-7002, or click here to request an appointment.

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Do’s And Don’ts With Your Hearing Aid

Your hearing aid is an advanced piece of technology which can maximize your hearing experience. To help you make the most of your hearing device, we have compiled a list of tips, as well as do’s and don’ts. Read on, whether you’re a first time hearing aid user or a long-time wearer.

General Advice

  • Firstly, make sure your device has been fitted professionally. It was chosen to suit your hearing loss and lifestyle. Take the time to get to know it’s features, enabling the best hearing experience possible.
  • Gradually get used to different noise levels and situations. Some features help you focus by reducing distracting background noise.
  • If you suffer with tinnitus, check for features that help cancel it out.
  • Loud sounds will be jarring at first, and busy environments tiring. Be patient; your tolerance will improve.
  • If your voice sounds different to you, don’t worry, you will adjust to this!
  • Learn about apps, Bluetooth functions and find out where you can connect to hearing loops (usually theaters, cinemas and sporting centres).
  • If the skin of the ear feels irritated, check for any scratches in the ear canal and check your device for mold.
  • Gently clean and dry your aid and your ears. If irritation persists, contact your hearing center as you could have an allergy to one of the hearing aid materials.

When to wear and when not to

It is recommended to wear hearing aids most of the day. However, if this is your first pair you will need to build up the time you feel comfortable with them in. But remember, it can take a while to get used the sensation of hearing with them and also with how it fits.

There are times it is not recommended to wear your hearing aids…

  • Whilst you sleep – it is best to give your ears a rest.
  • Avoid wearing in humid environments, whilst near to water i.e swimming or showering and when playing sports.
  • When applying hairspray, sun lotion, perfume or cosmetics.

Hearing Aid Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t keep hearing aids or batteries in reach of dogs or children.
  • Don’t expect to hear everything perfectly, it would be overwhelming if nothing was filtered out.
  • Do a quick check when you put them; rub your hands together near each ear. Can you hear this on both sides?
  • Do keep spare batteries.
  • Do dab baby oil in the ear to help insert your device easier.
  • Do make the effort to listen to people, not just hear. Watch body language, their mouth and hand movements too.
  • Do try these exercises to adjust to wearing hearing aids:
    • With eyes closed, work out where something is by its sound only.
    • Eyes closed, see if you can tell the difference between sounds of speech.
    • Listen to an audio-book and read along at the same time.
    • Watch television with subtitles.

Hearing Aid Maintenance

  • Clean away earwax, grease and moisture using a soft cloth, or cleaning tools.
  • Store switched off and in a cool dry place with battery compartment open.
  • Use a damp (NOT WET) cloth to clean receiver tube and dome.
  • If any parts look discolored or feel brittle contact your hearing center.

Above all, do persevere with your hearing aids. It takes time to get used to them, but amongst other health benefits they can help keep your brain sharp for longer. If you would like further advice on any of the points raised, please do get in touch. Request an appointment today, or call us on (507) 208-7002.

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