Hearing Aids

Two > One

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Have money left in your FSA? Spend it before it’s too late

If you are an employee with a Flexible Spending Account, you might want to double check your balance. Now may be a smart time to take care of your hearing healthcare needs, especially if you are one of the 48 million Americans1 with hearing loss. You can use your FSA for hearing aids, and if you hurry, you can still purchase with this year’s funds.

Why are FSAs important?

Many employers offer a Flexible Spending Account2 (FSA) as part of their benefits package. Sometimes referred to as a Health Flexible Spending Arrangement, an FSA is an account in which you place pre-tax dollars to cover medical expenses. FSAs save you money by allowing you to withhold pre-tax money from your pay, up to $2,600 per year.

Who can you buy for, and what does it cover?

These funds can be used for yourself, your spouse and your dependents throughout the calendar year. They can be used for:

  • Copayments
  • Deductibles
  • Medical and dental costs
  • Some medicines
  • Other health-related spending, including hearing aids

Why the urgency? Because FSA is “use it or lose it!”

Although you can spend the money on a wide array of medical services, medicines and medical expenses, unfortunately, it is “use it or lose it” money. You must spend the money within the calendar year. Although some programs have a grace period, others require you to spend all dollars by December 31st.

Can I use my FSA spending on my parents’ hearing aids?

Maybe, but only if you claim them as dependents on your tax return. Even if your parents live with you, they may not be your dependents, and therefore you cannot use FSA monies toward their healthcare. The same applies for your children. If you claim them on your taxes, you can cover certain medical expenses using FSA funds.

Looking ahead

Thinking about 2018? If your benefits package offers an FSA program, remember to elect to contribute funds next year. Check your employer’s open enrollment dates. If they are still open and you haven’t taken advantage of this tax savings, it may be the right option for you. Also, if you change jobs, you may be allowed to join outside of the enrollment period.

Don’t have a flexible spending program? We have options, too

Even if you don’t have this option, there are ways to keep hearing aids affordable. CareCredit® is a financing program for health-related costs that may help you pay over time.

Contact us for more information on hearing healthcare

Hearing healthcare is vital to your well-being. Find out if you are a candidate for hearing aids with our free hearing assessment*. Call Total Hearing Care at (877) 323-8968 to learn more.

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Keeping your brain fit through hearing aids

One of the best ways to maintain brain fitness as you age is to stay mentally engaged through an active social life. You can achieve cognitive acuity through communicating with the world around you. When hearing loss interferes with your ability to connect with friends and loved ones, it increases your risk of cognitive decline. Fortunately, you may be able to improve your hearing, keep your brain fit and slow down the accelerated cognitive decline linked to hearing loss.

Think of your brain first

How is hearing health connected to your brain? Listening and understanding require your brain and your ears to work together, with the brain doing the heavy lifting. The auditory cortex (which is in the temporal lobe) sorts out and interprets the sounds your ears detect. Your brain translates the information from your two ears to orient you. It also deciphers where noise comes from. These processes help you focus on conversation and separate out unwanted noise.

When you have hearing loss, the sound signals your brain receives from your ears is compromised. Your brain doesn’t receive the sound information it needs, and it has to exert its energy to fill in the gaps. The extra effort to keep up with conversations can leave you feeling tired and frustrated. You may begin to withdraw and avoid the social connections that are so important to your well-being.

Avoid the risks of untreated hearing loss

Many studies have shown a link between untreated hearing loss and isolation, depression and a host of other health issues, including stroke¹. If you have hearing loss, you are also more likely to experience problems with thinking and remembering than older adults with normal hearing. Researchers have also found a correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline. The study shows that if you have hearing loss and don’t use hearing aids, you may accelerated cognitive decline².

How hearing aids help your brain

Wearing hearing aids actively addresses hearing loss and reduces your risk of cognitive decline. That is what French researcher Hélène Amieva and her team concluded in a major study. The research involved nearly 4000 volunteers over a 25-year period. It found that people who utilized hearing aids and were socially active experienced cognitive decline at a rate similar to those without hearing loss. The researchers believe that the ability to hear better helps improve mood, increases social interactions and enables more participation in brain-stimulating activities³.

For best results, keep your hearing aids in your ears – not in a drawer

Hearing aids can only help you stay socially engaged and help keep your brain alert if you wear them. Today’s hearing aids give you both comfortable and stylish solutions that are easy to wear and can be tailored to your exact needs. Hearing aids can give an extra boost you need to follow social interaction. Staying alert will help keep your brain fit and slow down the cognitive decline linked to hearing loss. Plus, you can enjoy brain-stimulating social activities such as playing board games, cards and charades.

Signs that it’s time to get started on your hearing health journey

It may be time for a hearing assessment*, especially if you have these signs:

  • Are people mumbling more than they used to?
  • Are you having difficulty hearing conversations?
  • Does your family complain about the volume on the TV?

Just by scheduling an appointment with Total Hearing Care, you are taking an important step to keep your brain fit. There are many modern, discreet hearing solutions available – far more than even 10 years ago. Today’s hearing solutions preserve as much natural sound and detail as possible so that your auditory cortex receives the information it needs to make sense of sound.

  1. www.healthyhearing.com/report/31633-Study-links-sudden-hearing
  2. www.asha.org/Articles/Untreated-Hearing-Loss-in-Adults/
  3. Amieva H, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Oct;63(10):2099-104
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Two > One

Hearing loss comes in varying degrees. Yet most often professionals advise that you treat any significant loss through implementation of hearing devices. Most often with two hearing aids. Recent developments have made these formerly cumbersome eyesores into seamless (and even sometimes invisible) electronics. Total Hearing Care believes that clear and confident hearing is priceless, and these electronic devices are worth the investment.

Unique solutions for your ears

Hearing aids are no longer “one size fits all” models. Many different styles and designs offer the wearer the best quality of hearing for their individual lifestyle and needs. For this reason, getting an assessment from a hearing professional is vital when choosing what devices are right for you.

Two hearing aids? Forget about it!

If you consult the top hearing industry professionals, they generally recommend using dual hearing aids to combat most types of hearing loss. Using two devices simultaneously (or binaural hearing) benefits the wearer to such a significant degree that it outweighs the additional cost. With two hearing aids, you will:

  • Have a better understanding of speech – Two hearing aids allow for easier selective listening. Your brain can focus on the exact conversation you want to hear, not the background noise that is a nuisance to all untreated hearing loss sufferers (and even those who use one device).
  • Be able to understand more accurately – Even in the most difficult of situations, speech intelligibility is vastly improved when two devices are utilized instead of one.
  • Be able to correctly identify the origin of noise – Binaural hearing is optimal for localization or the direction in which sound originates.
  • Have a better quality of sound – A simple numerical comparison says it all. Would you prefer 180 degrees or 360 degrees of sound reception? With two devices, the 360 degrees of reception allows for the most natural sound quality that is technologically possible.
  • Experience a smooth quality of tone for better sound identification – Two hearing aids requires less volume than one. With the reduction of distortion, you can identify and comprehend sounds easier.
  • Keep both of your ears active – With two devices, you will discover a wider hearing range. When both ears actively participate in the auditory process, you gain double the hearing power. With only one, the unaided ear can degrade over time. You can avoid Auditory Deprivation Effect with binaural hearing which two devices can provide!

Okay, I understand… but do I really need two hearing aids?

Usually, you will. However, if your hearing assessment reveals that your hearing is completely normal in one ear, a second hearing device won’t help you. Adversely, if you show total deafness in one ear, you won’t need two hearing aids. Also, if you suffer from chronic ear infections (which is a cause of hearing loss), a single hearing aid may work best. This will help you avoid aggravating the infection and limit the number of reoccurrences. Some specific forms of hearing loss cause garbled speech and no hearing aids would help.

Hear in stereo

But for majority of people with hearing loss, two hearing aids are best. Health care professionals generally recommend dual hearing aid configuration. Moreover, numerous consumer satisfaction surveys show better results with two. To learn about your specific needs, call us at (877) 323-8968. Total Hearing Care will happily walk you through the decision making process including financing and insurance possibilities. We welcome you to make a complimentary appointment today.

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Water is Not Your Hearing Aid’s Best Friend!

When you have a hearing aid, you have to make sure you are careful when you are around water. This can be difficult in the summer months, when the call to the seashore beckons. Yet for those that spend all their days in a warm climate, this could be a daily occurrence. Thus, it is vital to know if your hearing aid is water resistant.

“Are there even waterproof hearing aids?”

They do exist, but even these devices may only be approved up to a certain level of water. A rogue ocean wave may spell doom to even the hardiest of hearing aid models. To learn more about your hearing aid and if it is water resistant, be sure to ask your audiologist.

“I’m not a beach person so this doesn’t apply to me!”

Not so fast! Your hearing aid may still come in contact with some water. Even the small bit can damage a unit that is not properly suited for water. Due to the small size of the current hearing aid models, they can easily become an after-thought. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage if your unit accidentally gets wet.

Remember these steps!

1. Turn off your hearing aid immediately!
2. Take out the hearing aid’s battery.
3. Shake the hearing aid to try and get all of the water out from the battery’s housing.
4. Find a clean and dry cloth to thoroughly dry your hearing aid battery. No water should be present when reinserting the battery into the device.
5. Keep the battery component open and place your hearing aid in a dry area. If you can place the hearing aid in a warm area, all the better!
6. You want it to dry out completely… but just make sure it doesn’t get too hot. Melting will be more catastrophic than the water damage!
7. Once fully dry, reinsert the battery to your device.

“Did I save it?”

If you follow these steps, your hearing aid will have a much better chance of working optimally once again. If it is still malfunctioning, you need to take your hearing aid to your audiologist. Only a trained hearing specialist will be able to assess the damage and tell you if the unit can be salvaged.

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