Top Tips to Help Prevent Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is not always preventable, but there are steps that you can take to help prevent it. Follow these tips to help reduce your risk of hearing loss.

1. Prevent noise induced hearing loss

Noise induced hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud environments, whether at work, in a social environment or while engaging in sports. The positive thing about noise induced hearing loss is that it can be completely preventable by taking some simple steps to protect your ears:

  • Wear hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs
  • Move away from the direct source of loud noises
  • Try to take a break from the noise every 15 minutes
  • Give your hearing about 18 hours to recover after exposure to lots of loud noise

2. Be aware of how loud your surroundings are

Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB); the higher the number, the louder the noise. Sounds over 85dB can be harmful to your hearing, particularly if you are exposed to this level for a prolonged period of time. Common decibels that you may experience in your everyday life are:

  • Whispering – 30dB
  • Conversation – 60dB
  • Busy traffic – 70 to 85dB
  • Motorbike – 90dB
  • Listening to music on full volume through headphones – 100 to 110dB
  • Plane taking off – 120dB

There are smartphone apps that can help to measure noise levels. While these are a great method to monitor how loud your surroundings are, ensure that the app is configured correctly to provide a more accurate reading.

3. Know the warning signs

Hearing loss rarely strikes unannounced. Warning signs that you have been exposed to a dangerous level of noise include:

  • You experience ringing, buzzing or humming in your ears following exposure to noise.
  • You can hear people talking, but struggle to understand what they are saying after being in a noisy environment.
  • Your ears feel “full” after leaving a noisy area, such as a music gig or nightclub.

4. Get your hearing checked regularly

If you’re at higher risk of noise induced hearing loss, consider annual hearing check-ups. The earlier hearing loss is picked up, the earlier something can be done about it.

These tips can help you to prevent hearing loss. If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to dangerous noise levels and may be suffering from hearing loss, click here to book a consultation with our audiologist today, or contact us on (212) 786-5741.

The Link Between Hearing Loss & Heart Disease

If the eyes are a window to the soul, then perhaps we should say that the ears can be a window to the heart. Recent studies have identified a link between cardiovascular health and hearing health.The implications for adults over the age of 40 mean that those who are at risk of heart disease also need to get their hearing tested regularly.

The Prevalence of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the US (it represents about one in four deaths). Every year, about 735,000 Americans suffer a heart attack, and for three-quarters of these people, they’re experiencing a heart attack for the first time. Preventing heart disease and heart attacks becomes increasingly vital as we age, which parallels the need to stay vigilant about changes to hearing health.

How Does Heart Health Relate to Hearing?

The inner ear’s delicate response to blood flow means that it can exhibit physiological changes quite quickly. Abnormal blood flow such as trauma to the blood vessels or reduced blood circulation could present through changes in hearing. Poor circulation to the inner ear causes a reduction of oxygenated blood to the area which can lead to damage (resulting in permanent hearing loss).

Therefore, maintaining good cardiovascular fitness contributes positively to hearing health by supporting strong, oxygenated blood flow through the body. And paying attention to changes in hearing can be an extra early line of defense against heart disease.

Dealing with Hearing Loss

While it may not be possible to hold off age-related changes to hearing altogether, catching early signs of hearing loss can improve your overall quality of life significantly. Consulting with a doctor to adjust your exercise regimen has the dual benefit of helping both heart and hearing. Testing your hearing and adopting the use of a hearing aid can help to minimize any strain or frustration you may experience from changes to your hearing. With so many advancements in hearing aid technology, it has never been easier to find a solution that meets your needs.

Unsure about where to start or concerned about changes in your hearing? Contact us to book a consultation and learn more about the relationship between cardiovascular health and hearing loss.

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 (212) 786-5741.