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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 Hearing Help Associates at (866) 604-8057 to learn more.

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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. Hearing Help Associates 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 (866) 604-8057 . Hearing Help Associates 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.

Posted by Admin

Avoid summer’s challenges related to hearing

Protect your ears this summer.

Hearing aids are an important investment in your well-being. If you wear them, keep these important tips in mind during the summer months or year-round if you live in a warm climate. When you apply sunscreen, watch out for your hearing aids. Their outer shell is plastic, so the chemicals in the cream or spray can affect them.

Mind your ears at festivals and music concerts

Are you heading to summer music festival or concert? Perhaps your loved one is? If it will be loud, be aware of the dangers of hearing damage. In outdoor settings where the atmosphere is more open than an indoor environment, people are often unaware of the dangers to their ears. This is important for everyone – not just those with hearing loss!

Rule of thumb: If you have to shout to make yourself heard, your ears are under strain. Consider wearing hearing protection such as earplugs, and take regular breaks from the loud environment.

Keep hearing equipment cool, and beware the dangers of heat

Excessive heat is harmful for hearing aids and their accessories, so it’s important to keep them cool. Avoid leaving them in your car for any length of time in warmer weather, and always keep them out of direct sunlight.

Flying on vacation

Sometimes when flying (or going under water), you may experience a sense of pressure in the ears and nose. When the air can flow relatively easily, the higher pressure air will quickly flow to the lower pressure air, and the pressure difference will disappear. However, sometimes a blockage prevents air from flowing freely in our ears. This can be painful – or very annoying. A number of things can cause a blockage, including earwax, inflammation or a cold.

Note than when flying with hearing aids, you may wear your devices, including through security and on the plane. So keep them switched on as you travel – they’ll help you hear any important announcements.

At the beach and by the pool

Few hearing aids can tolerate being submersed in water –even if they are water-resistant. So make sure to take them off before getting caught in the middle of a water fight. While you’re enjoying the water, store them in a safe place or in something waterproof.

Finally – remember to dry your hair before putting your hearing aids back on.

Proper cleaning techniques for hearing aids

Everyone perspires a little more in the heat. Unfortunately the combination of heat and moisture creates a perfect environment for fungal microbes to develop in your hearing aids.

To avoid mold, keep cleaning wipes handy to clean your devices, and keep them dry. If you live in a humid environment, you may need to change filters and domes often. If you find significant moisture building up, a hearing aid dryer could prove a smart investment.

To ensure good air circulation through your hearing aids, open the battery drawer at night to allow fresh air inside and to release moisture.

Remember extra accessories on vacation

You will enjoy summertime more if you can hear well, so bring everything you need for your hearing aids, including extra batteries, tubes and filters (depending on your type of hearing aid).

Worried about your current hearing aids – we’re here to help!

The professionals at Hearing Help Associates are always happy to clean your hearing devices. If you are concerned about flying with hearing aids or have other questions, our professionals have answers to your questions. Please call (866) 604-8057 or contact us online if you are away.

Posted by Admin

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