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Why bring someone to a hearing test?

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The National Campaign for Better Hearing

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Why bring someone to a hearing test?

Recently, I made an appointment for my father’s hearing assessment with a local audiologist. The woman who confirmed the appointment reminded me that he needed to bring someone to the hearing test. It may seem like an unusual request, but bringing someone to a hearing test can help ensure a higher-quality outcome. It’s best to bring the person who speaks with him most to take part in the familiar voice test. So, last Thursday I joined my dad at the audiologist’s office and I’m so glad I went.

Helping Dad hear better means helping myself

Before I even called, Dad was already a bit reluctant to address his hearing loss. He had a lot of denial about how much he was missing. At 93 years old, he had survived a lifetime without hearing aids, but as his daughter I was tired of constantly having to repeat things, and explain what doctors, friends and even my kids say. Finally, I insisted that he get a free hearing assessment* and eventually he agreed to see what the audiologist had to say.

A hearing assessment starts with a conversation with the audiologist

As expected, the hearing assessment began with the audiologist asking routine questions about Dad’s health. He asked about how well Dad hears in various situations. It seemed the audiologist was not only trying to learn what his needs may be, but also how well Dad could follow along a discussion in a quiet space. 

In the booth

After our talk, the audiologist invited Dad to sit in a booth and listen to tones at different frequencies and volumes. Dad was asked to indicate when he heard something. From my vantage point (outside the booth), I could see the audiologist press buttons, which my Dad didn’t hear. As soon as it was finished, the audiologist explained what the audiogram indicated. As with many older seniors, Dad had below-normal hearing across all frequencies, but he had the most difficulty with higher-pitched sounds. Dad was a bit disappointed to see the results, but I don’t think he was surprised.

The audiologist explained the audiogram key to explain the results. The audiogram showed the conclusions of both the air conduction and bone conduction hearing tests. 

My part in a familiar voice hearing test

A familiar voice hearing test is the main reason to bring someone to a hearing test. It provides a chance for a hearing care provider to see how well an individual understands words spoken by someone close to them. This was when the family member or close friend takes a more active role in the appointment. The audiologist asked me to step into the hallway, about eight feet from where my Dad was sitting. 

Can you hear me now?

As I stood a short distance away, the audiologist asked me to read a list of high-frequency words and have my Dad repeat them.

I said, “pail.”

Dad said, “nail.”

I said, “face.” 

Dad said, “late.”

And so on. It was quite fun to see what I had suspected. His score wasn’t great. Without a hearing aid, Dad only heard three out of ten words correctly. When he heard the outcome, Dad was even more disappointed than with the audiogram. He couldn’t deny it. He couldn’t hear me speaking to him only a few steps away. The audiologist, my Dad and I all witnessed it. 

Getting a different result: a familiar voice hearing test with hearing aids

I have to admit I was feeling a bit vindicated. I’ve been complaining that my father can’t hear me for years. The audiologist popped fresh batteries in a pair of behind-the-ear hearing aids and had him try them on. They were light and comfortable, and a slightly beige color that matched my dad’s coloring. The audiologist asked me to go back into the hallway and repeat the test. 

I said, “cup.”

Dad said, “cup.”

I said, “peach.” 

Dad said, “peach.”

I said, “pew.”

Dad said, “few.”

This time, Dad heard 7 out of 10 words. It was a vast improvement. He was very pleased. 

Another familiar voice hearing test…

With my dad still wearing the hearing aids, the audiologist asked me to walk down the hallway, about 15 or 20 feet away. The audiologist turned off the hearing aids. He asked me to speak in a normal volume and talk about what we were planning to have for dinner. Dad didn’t notice that I’d said anything at all. Once he turned the hearing aids back on, I repeated that I was planning go to the grocery store, and then we would have chicken for dinner. This time Dad heard and repeated every word.  

Why bring someone to a hearing test? Because hearing loved ones matters

My dad lives with me. He is accustomed to the cadence of my voice. Without even thinking about it, he knows that my vowels sound a certain way. Across the United States, we have a variety of regional accents. Even people who grow up in the same town may use different intonations. With familiar voice testing, it is easier for the individual to understand speech in a familiar voice test. 

Next steps: getting a hearing aid and getting used to it

Even experiencing firsthand how well hearing aids improved his ability to understand a conversation and hear people speaking from afar, my 93 year old is very set in his ways. So, I gave a gentle push. 

Improving a senior’s quality of life

For 93 years old, Dad is in incredible shape. He has many activities where hearing well would improve his quality of life. He enjoys playing piano, eating in restaurants, watching Perry Mason and NOVA on TV, and, of course, spending time with family. All of these things would be easier if he could hear better. It wasn’t until I mentioned that he should be able to hear the announcer during soccer matches that he finally agreed that hearing aids would improve his quality of life.

I can’t wait until his new hearing aids arrive. After years of watching him miss a lot of the conversation at family dinners, I’m pleased he’s finally taking the opportunity to hear better. At 93, it might be an big adjustment for him, but after a few weeks he may wonder how he survived decades without hearing aids.

It might be time to book their appointment. Then you can enjoy it when they are asked to bring someone to their free hearing assessment.*

Remember: The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness to determine if the patient(s) may benefit from using hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Test conclusion may not be a medical diagnosis. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Testing is to evaluate your hearing wellness, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.

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The National Campaign for Better Hearing

Encouraging all Americans to get their free hearing assessment* and help others address their hearing health and wellness.

We are pleased to sponsor the National Campaign for Better Hearing—an initiative with the simple but lofty goal of providing a FREE hearing assessment* to EVERY American aged 60 and over. The reason is clear: Research shows significant connections between hearing loss and other serious health problems like depression, mental fatigue, even increased risk of developing dementia.1 Plus, hearing loss is associated with social withdrawal and isolation.2

We are committed to improving community wellness through addressing hearing healthcare needs. The Campaign for Better Hearing gives us an excellent opportunity to join partners across the country in providing access to free hearing healthcare.

How can you take part in the Campaign?

Focus on your hearing: Early detection means improved outcomes

Early detection might not prevent hearing loss, but it may reduce some of its lasting impacts. Together, we can make a difference for the 48 million Americans1 who suffer from hearing loss.

Bring a friend to a hearing appointment

Most hearing assessments* include “familiar voice testing.” A family member or friend reads certain words to the individual, so they can see how well he or she understands a loved one’s speech.

Share your story

As hearing professionals, we have already helped so many, but don’t take our word for it. If you or a loved one has experienced the difference hearing well can make in your life, we’d like to share your story. Tell us about your successful journey to better hearing.

Share now

Do you know the facts?

Studies show2 that untreated hearing loss can negatively affect relationships with friends and family, causing feelings of isolation and making communication difficult.

  • Older adults who use hearing aids show reduced depression symptoms and improved quality of life.1
  • Only 3 in 10 adults who had a physical exam in the last year say it included a hearing screening.3
  • Nearly 50% of adults ages 60-69 have hearing loss.4

Are you one of the nearly 50 million Americans1 with some degree of hearing loss? (If you aren’t sure, then it might be time for a hearing assessment.*)

Get started today by calling: 888-208-5148

1Hearing Health Foundation

2HEARing Cooperative Research Centre

3betterhearing.org

4National Institutes of Health

Posted by Admin

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 New England Hearing Instruments 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 (508) 925-7721 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 (508) 925-7721.

Posted by Admin

The holiday season is approaching

Get a FREE Omaha Steaks® Gift Card when you complete a free hearing assessment*

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