Hearing Aids

High-Tech Solutions for Hearing Loss

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Hearing Aid Technology: How to Choose the Right Hearing Aid for You

If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss, you’re not alone. It is estimated that almost 38 million Americans have hearing loss. For many, hearing aids help to correct hearing loss and improve overall quality of life.

With the many choices available, buying the right hearing aid for you can be a challenge. Both your lifestyle and the noise environments you are regularly in will play a role in the best hearing aid for you. Consider the following scenarios to help narrow down your choices.

What is your lifestyle like?

Lifestyle is one of the biggest factors to take into consideration when you’re choosing a hearing aid. Are you frequently in noisy environments? Do you often go to bars or restaurants. Perhaps you’re an avid sports enthusiast, or you watch a lot of TV. Considering your day to day lifestyle is important when selecting the solution that’s right for you.

How comfortable are you with new technology?

There’s no denying that the hearing aid technology of today is very different to what it was 10 years ago! Depending on your level of comfort with technology can help narrow down the listening aid devices you should be looking at. Do you want to consider Bluetooth compatibility? How about hearing aids that can link to a smartphone app?

Have you previously worn hearing aids?

If you’ve previously used hearing aids, what is it that you did, or did not, like about the model you had? Where there features that you loved, and why? Was there anything that you’d change?

Speaking to a hearing care professional is an important step in choosing the hearing aid that’s right for you. By having the answers to the above questions ready in advance of your appointment, you can work with your hearing care professional to find the style that is best suited to your budget, lifestyle and hearing loss. Contact us today to schedule your appointment now.

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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.

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High-Tech Solutions for Hearing Loss

Do you have hearing loss? Maybe. Imagine if you could hear and remember better with less effort and stress on your brain. Wouldn’t life be easier if you had solutions to help you recall what people say? Good news! The latest hearing aids do just that.

How prevalent is hearing loss?

The answer is that many people have hearing loss and could benefit from using hearing aids. It could be you or a loved one.

Did you know?

  • One in three adults age 65 and above experience some form of hearing loss.1
  • Older adults who use hearing aids show reduced depression symptoms and improved quality of life.1
  • 60% of our military personnel return home from overseas with hearing impairment2, often as a result of noise exposure.
  • One in five teenagers has some level of hearing loss.2
  • Only 3 in 10 adults who had a physical exam in the last year say it included a hearing screening.3

Are you one of the nearly 50 million Americans4 with some degree of hearing loss? (If you aren’t sure, then it might be time for a hearing assessment.*)

Innovative solutions and advanced devices

Today’s hearing aids include very advanced hearing devices with innovative options. Their minuscule size, coupled with hair-toned color options, provides true discreetness. There are exciting new features that will change the way you think about and use hearing aids, including features that:

  • Automatically adjust to different soundscapes
  • Enable you to listen to multiple speakers, even in noisy environments
  • Connect directly to the internet, your smartphone or television via Bluetooth® and wireless capabilities

Most noteworthy, some models offer a convenient, new rechargeable+ unit that saves hundreds of dollars on disposable batteries annually.

Do I have hearing loss?

The first step is to identify your needs.* This involves:

  • Hearing assessment*, complete with baseline and familiar voice tests
  • Otoscopy exam of your ear canal (hearing loss may be from earwax)
  • Live demonstration* of the latest hearing aid technology

In addition, you can learn about the products through a demonstration.

Could your solution lie with high-tech hearing aids?

Our professional team is happy to discuss your needs and solutions that make sense for your lifestyle, habits and budget. Most of all, we want you to feel comfortable with solutions for your hearing loss. Rather than guess, we welcome you to call (507) 208-7002 to make an appointment today.

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Understanding the Price of Hearing Aids

Why do hearing aids cost so much? According to the American Academy of Audiology, hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States (behind heart disease and arthritis).1 Every day, hearing aids help people enjoy a better quality of life by giving them an optimal sense of hearing. Yet it comes with a price – one that is a primary concern of many prospective hearing device wearers. These life-changing devices can be expensive, but don’t let ‘sticker shock’ dissuade you from hearing well.

Just as current wearers of hearing devices learned, many facets affect the price. You will encounter a plethora of options on the market across a wide range of prices – from cheap over-the-counter sound augmenters to the more expensive professionally fit and personally programmed high-tech minicomputers. The choice is yours and we are here to help you make a well-informed decision.

These are not your grandma’s hearing aids

Today’s hearing devices bear little resemblance to their predecessors. Packed with technological features that were even unimaginable only a decade ago, today’s devices offer better sound quality with many advanced functions that bring vibrant hearing to their wearers. The exact features will change with the make and model of your device and will also impact pricing.

The most up-to-date devices deliver a better listening experience that heightens the wearer’s quality of life every day. Many devices can automatically filter the sounds around you, allowing your brain to focus on what you need to hear. Some models connect with your cell phone or TV, emitting sound directly into your ears. Others will work with everyday electronics, like the lights in your home.

These features come with a price. Many years of research cultivated the current technology, design and production. To ensure optimal outcomes, health care professionals personalize each device for the individual person. The advantages of having your hearing properly assessed, receiving a device fitted personally for you, and the benefits of follow-up care all factor into the final cost of the device. Personalization has its benefits. Not only will you enjoy improved hearing, but you have a choice of advanced features. For instance, if you have a smartphone, you might want to spring for a hearing devices that will sync to it. If your version of a “smartphone” is your beloved landline, this feature (and its added cost) may not be of service to you.

Design innovations: now you see me… now you don’t

Many people refuse to even seek out a hearing assessment because they are concerned about the opinion of others. If even admitting to a hearing loss is a struggle, can you imagine what it would be like if you were told you needed a hearing device? Well, fear not as new technological advancements have made some models practically invisible to the naked eye. Whether you prefer hearing aids that would be completely hidden in your ear canal, or ones that would sit discreetly behind them, new designs have changed the stigma of these devices. Many models can even match your skin tone. But don’t let their size fool you as these smaller models deliver some of the clearest sound to your brain’s temporal lobe that is available today.

Take it from the experts… you are in good hands

From the countless engineers who built the varied stages of prototypes, or the designers who took those advancements and made these minicomputers stylish, producing hearing aids takes more than just time. It took a team of professionals that had one goal in mind: giving the world the gift of hearing well. And while you may never know many who have had some impact on your own device, the hearing care professional at your local clinic is an ideal representation of all their work. Each and every one of these people are part of the team that innovated this ancient electronic device to the 21st Century!

Offsetting the price of hearing aids

We have some good news

Some local and national agencies offer hearing aid banks and other sources of help.

The gift of hearing has many rewards

  • Hearing loss may be costing you money! Many studies have shown that those with untreated hearing loss earn less than those who hear optimally.
  • Hearing well means a better quality of life. Whether you need to hear well to be successful at work, or to enjoy leisure activities like dining out, going to the movies or traveling. Not hearing well means you are wasting money if you aren’t getting the most out of these activities.
  • Communicating with loved ones = priceless. Digital hearing aids cost $600-$3500. Flying to see your family across the country = $450. Hearing your granddaughter’s solo performance = priceless.

Hearing aids are an investment in your wellness

Never forget the reason you are even considering purchasing a hearing device: living a full and worthwhile life! Hearing well is crucial to having the best quality of life. To learn more, contact us or make an appointment at (507) 208-7002 today. We can discuss the right choice for your needs and lifestyle. Maybe a hearing aid isn’t the right choice. But if it is, it’s good to know what goes into the cost of hearing devices.

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