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Hearing Aids Are Tax Deductible

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Making Better Choices During Better Hearing and Speech Month

It’s no secret, but your hearing health matters! Especially in May, which is Better Hearing and Speech Month. It means the difference between hearing the most important parts of the conversation, such as medical information, dates, prices or can’t-miss work-related details and missing vital information. At other times it may mean not hearing every story your grandkids want to tell you about their busy days. Maybe it’s something someone wants to whisper for your ears only. Whatever your circumstances, you deserve to hear well!

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Every May the hearing care community gets the word out that it’s important to focus on hearing wellness. This year professionals such as the team at Whisper Hearing Aid Center advocate for individuals to get their annual hearing assessment – if only to check against future testing – and to learn about hearing wellness.

Five things you can do to improve your hearing wellness

As part of your overall wellness, it’s important to focus on your hearing. That means much more than just getting your ears checked. It means investing in yourself in other ways. Here are some general dos and don’ts to consider this May:

  1. Use hearing protection – it’s key to preventing hearing loss. Avoid loud noise and if you will be around places with excessive volume, wear earplugs or other protective gear. Especially if your plans include concerts or explosives, such as fireworks. If you are not sure how loud something is, you can download a decibel app on your cellphone.
  2. Eat well and go bananas! Just as carrots are famous for helping vision, did you know that potassium is linked to auditory wellness? Other good things to eat include foods high in folic acid, such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus – and organ-meats, like liver.
  3. Don’t use Q-tips in your ears. If you grew up hearing “don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ears,” continue to heed that advice. The inner ear canal is sensitive.
  4. Be active. Exercise helps hearing. There’s a positive link between cardiovascular health and hearing acuity in recent studies.
  5. Know how well you hear! Make sure you have an annual hearing assessment. If you discover you have hearing loss, you aren’t alone. Some 48 million Americans1 have hearing loss. Even more have tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Don’t be afraid to address hearing loss

Untreated hearing loss is linked with higher instances of dementia and depression, and it is linked to lower household income, if untreated.1 That’s why it’s important to use hearing aids, if warranted. Hearing well makes communication easier and allows individuals to communicate with confidence.

Can’t make it in May? Hearing wellness matters all year long

While Better Hearing and Speech Month is celebrated in May, we believe your hearing wellness matters all year long. Whether you need your hearing aids cleaned or want to help with handling a loved one’s hearing loss, we’re there to help address your hearing needs. Call (866) 337-1288 to make an appointment to make a no-obligation appointment.

1 Hearing Loss Association of America.

Posted by Admin

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 (866) 337-1288.

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 Whisper Hearing Aid 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 (866) 337-1288 to book time with us.

Posted by Admin

What Your Hearing Care Provider Can Do For You

What prevents individuals from achieving better hearing? There are several answers. For many people, hearing loss seems to just sneak up slowly over time. Many do not even realize they have an issue until it becomes significant. And because it isn’t noticed, it isn’t mentioned at an annual physical, and even more time goes by without seeking help. In fact, on average, it takes a person 7-10 years1 to seek help for hearing loss. By the time a person realizes the full impact of hearing loss, they may just want a quick fix to a complicated problem.

Regrettably, many people with hearing loss are lured into the supposedly “cheaper and easier” methods of correcting it, either through the purchase of hearing aids online, choosing a personal sound amplifier, or by visiting big box stores that are much more concerned with profits than patient care. In spite of the allure of these seemingly simple fixes, the fact is that a professional hearing care provider is your best resource to address your hearing healthcare.

What the big boxes and online hearing aid retailers aren’t telling you

Maybe you’ve heard that you can buy hearing aids similar to those from hearing care professionals from the big box stores for little money. These stores are only successful because they can sell a large volume of low-priced goods, often very cheaply, to gain larger revenue. They focus on efficiency, which is a polite way of saying “get as many people in and out the door as rapidly as possible.” Admittedly, this profit-centric model works well for many purchases, because you probably don’t need professional, personalized care to help choose your t-shirts or soap. Customer service simply doesn’t factor in to these types of purchases. But purchasing hearing aids is more complicated; you need a professional to guide you. Your ears deserve individual attention from trained professionals.

Looks can be deceiving

Beware of hearing aids from online retailers. They are probably not the same quality of product, even if they come from the same manufacturer. Models may differ slightly, making them eligible for discounted pricing, without the features that hearing care professionals can offer.

Hearing care experts use a customer-centric business model

Our hearing care providers are completely different. We are not obsessed with short-term profits because we focus on customer care. Have we identified your individual needs and found a solution that suits you? Are you willing to return to us for your future care? Would you refer us to your friends and neighbors? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we have been successful in our approach to care.

We thrive on providing quality care, which benefits both the person with hearing loss as well as our team.

In contrast, what will happen if the big box stores can’t deliver quality care and happy customers? They will push more advertising to increase their flow of new customers, offering the same “quick and cheap fix” that lured the original customers.

Because individuals experience hearing differently, it’s important to choose your hearing care provider wisely

Hearing is complex; like our fingerprints, everyone’s hearing is unique. So the frequencies your friend may hear well could be the same ones that you can’t hear. In other words, you can’t just take the surrounding sound, make it all louder, pump it into your ears and expect good results. But this is in essence what personal sound amplifiers and over-the-counter hearing aid models do.

The truth is, the sounds your hearing aids amplify — AND the sounds they don’t — must complement the way you, and only you, hear. Hearing care professionals accomplish this through:

  • Assessing* your hearing to learn the EXACT nature of your hearing loss
  • Understanding the variety of hearing aids and their individual capabilities (as well as what they cannot do)
  • Identifying what works for your needs
  • Fitting and programming your hearing aids to boost the sounds you have difficulty hearing, while identifying and repressing the sounds you don’t want to hear (such as low-frequency background noise)
  • Providing follow-up care, especially in the first few weeks when the device is new and may need further adjustments

For the hearing care provider, acquiring this knowledge requires a lot of instruction and patient care experience. This is how we can conduct the appropriate assessment* to help patients pick the right hearing aid, professionally program the hearing aids and provide the coaching and aftercare necessary for optimal hearing. We don’t cut corners in providing comprehensive hearing care. That is why the results are well worth your time and effort.

Make the right choice for you

Who do you trust with your hearing? Someone who views you only as a transaction, consumer or a means to reaching sales targets? Or do you trust an experienced hearing professional who cares about the same thing you do — attaining the best hearing possible? We think the decision is easy: relationships are the lifeblood of successful hearing care.

Still have questions?

We welcome you to call (866) 337-1288 to make an appointment today. Hearing starts with a conversation. Our friendly team is there for you throughout the process of identifying your needs, finding the right hearing aid (if that’s right for you), fitting, adjusting and following up with you. Your hearing satisfaction is our goal – and we measure our success through your wellness.

Posted by Admin

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