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Hearing Aids

Hearing Aids Are Tax Deductible

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How IFTTT Enabled Devices Can Help Your Hearing

You may already own appliances or electronics with in-built smart technology, such as your phone, TV or thermostat. Home automation technology or the Internet of things allows you to control many commonly used electronics to make them behave more efficiently or in a manner that better suits your daily lifestyle. However, you may be surprised to learn that this technology is also available in certain hearing aids. Not sure what an IFTTT enabled device is, or what the uses are? Here are some key details and benefits to help demonstrate how an IFTTT enabled device may help your hearing.

What is IFTTT?

If This Then That (IFTTT) is an online service that connects smart devices and apps through simple conditional statements. Breaking the statement down, ‘If This’ is a trigger, for example a weather app signaling rain, and ‘Then This’ is the action, which would be a notification automatically sent to your phone reminding you to take an umbrella with you. This allows you to set up automated responses and controls between multiple smart objects and online platforms, providing you have Internet connectivity.

How does this work with a hearing aid?

You may not think that a hearing aid counts as smart technology, however by choosing an IFTTT enabled device, you can sync your hearing aid with a number of devices to help with everyday tasks. Please be aware that this software only works with certain devices and apps, a list of which can be found on the IFTTT website.

What would I need to do?

Before purchasing an IFTTT enabled device, you will need to make sure that you have the required internet access, devices and apps. You will then need to create an IFTTT account and install the software or app that is required for the smart hearing aid, as well as any devices you wish to sync it with.

What can I use it for?

As long as you have access to the internet and the relevant devices, you can create a wide range of conditional statements that sync your smart hearing aid to everyday smart objects. For example, if you own a doorbell that has a qualifying app, you can set up a statement that alerts you through your hearing aid any time someone rings the doorbell. When the laundry is done, you could get a voice alert in the hearing aid telling you to go get it. With so many appliances now available with smart technology built in, you could have numerous actions set up with your TV, washing machine, central heating and more. You could even use this feature to tell you via email message if a loved ones hearing aid is running low on batteries.

Whilst smart technology has been designed to make life easier, you may still find yourself unsure as to how this can work with your hearing aid. If you wish to find out more about how an IFTTT enabled device can benefit you, give our hearing care professionals a call on (212) 786-5741 or click here to request an appointment online.

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Tips on When to Get a Hearing Aid

Do You Really Need A Hearing Aid?

After being diagnosed with hearing loss, many individuals will wait months, if not years, before finally getting a hearing aid. There are many reasons that people delay getting a hearing aid, including denial, appearance and cost.

Individuals with hearing loss may also feel that their hearing is still acceptable, and therefore justify delaying getting a hearing aid. But ‘acceptable’ hearing may still be improved upon with the help of a hearing aid.

When Should You Get A Hearing Aid?

According to the MarkeTrak VIII survey on hearing impairment in the US, conducted in 2009 by the American hearing expert, Sergei Kochkin, 55.4% of Americans cited ‘my hearing loss has worsened’ as the reason for them deciding to get their first hearing aid.

There are a number of indicators that your hearing loss may be impacting your quality of life. Some of the more common symptoms can include:

  • Your friends and family tell you that you need to get your hearing checked
  • You struggle to hear in social situations with multiple people talking at once
  • You prefer the TV or radio at a higher volume than you used to
  • You often complain that people are mumbling
  • You have trouble understanding people when they are not looking directly at you
  • Your hearing loss has reduced your confidence
  • Conversations feel they they require your full effort and attention
  • You ask people to repeat themselves and often say “what?”
  • You prefer to use closed captions when watching television
  • You prefer to use the speakerphone feature during phone calls
  • You miss calls because you no longer hear the phone ringing
  • You no longer participate in social activities because of your difficulty hearing

The Benefits Of A Hearing Aid

There are many reasons that people will delay getting a hearing aid, but there are even better reasons to get one!

  1. Improved hearing! Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. Increased confidence. When you can hear clearly, you’ll be more self-assured in restaurants, on the job, and in social and public settings.
  2. Improved relationships. Communication is the cornerstone of any relationship. Hearing clearly can facilitate communication and improve your relationships.
  3. Reduced risk of memory loss or dementia. Recent studies have shown a link between hearing loss and memory loss or dementia, as the brain is lacking the stimulation that comes from hearing. Hearing aids can help to mitigate this.
  4. More energy! Struggling to hear all day takes a great deal of energy for your brain. Hearing aids can help to reduce this mental fatigue, leaving you feel more energized throughout the day.
  5. Improved quality of life. 70% of respondents to a study in Germany identified that digital hearing aids improved their overall quality of life.
  6. Avoid impacting your earning potential. Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can negatively impact your earning potential. Don’t let your wallet take the hit, when hearing aids can help!
  7. Improved safety. Avoid missing out on emergency sounds such as fire alarms or calls for help.

If you’re ready to speak to a hearing care professional about how a hearing aid can improve your quality of life, contact us at (212) 786-5741 today. At Sutton Hearing & Balance, we want to help you enjoy a fuller life through better hearing. Request your free hearing assessment now.

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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.

Posted by Admin

5 Tips to Improve the Life of Hearing Aid Batteries

Protecting your investments is a practical piece of advice not just when it comes to finances. Extending the life of your hearing aid batteries can help you get not only the best performance but also save you some extra money along the way.

The Battery Itself

Tip 1: Be sure to safely store any unopened and unused hearing aid batteries with protective tabs intact. Pulling the battery’s plastic tab prematurely will activate the battery and begin draining its power like an unused watch ticking away time.

Tip 2: Handle your hearing aid batteries carefully. Instead of popping a new one into your device right away, let the battery sit exposed to air for a few minutes before inserting it. Five to ten minutes allows it to power up fully and will result in optimal strength.

Hearing Aid Care

Tip 3: Always protect your hearing aid from prolonged exposure to moisture to avoid corrosion and damage. Don’t store it in the bathroom or near sources of moisture (like a bedside diffusers or humidifiers). Keeping your device ventilated helps to dry out any excess moisture ad you can purchase a hearing aid dehumidifier to help maximize this.

Tip 4: If your device is going to sit unused for a prolonged period of time, be sure to remove the batteries and store in a dry, room-temperature spot to avoid any leakage into the device. Remember to thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling the batteries to avoid transferring dirt to the battery and the device (and also to protect your hands against any battery residue).

Good Habits

Tip 5: Like any other battery you’d encounter in day-to-day life, hearing aid batteries have a limited shelf life. But, unlike your remote control’s AAs, the rate of consumption likely won’t be as quick. Even keeping their protective tabs intact won’t prevent hearing aid batteries from weakening over time, so cautiously anticipate when you will need to re-order your batteries with enough wiggle room to cover any shipping delays.

Hearing aid batteries can also be recycled just like anything else that is made of metal. Keep your used batteries in a bag and bring them to your audiologists office and they will recycle them for you.

Taking these steps to squeeze the extra juice out of your batteries can help save you a few days of power and extend the life of your investment.

Posted by Admin

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