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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 (631) 993-4719.

Posted by Admin

Hearing Aid Safety During Spring Activities

It’s finally Spring, and we bet you are dying to get outside. We are too.

One thing you may not realize is that the weather can wreak havoc on the delicate instrumentation of hearing aids.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind as the seasons change when it comes to keeping your hearing aids safe, and operational.

If you are working out, either put sleeves on your behind the ear hearing aids, or take them out.

Behind your ears can get pretty sweaty when you are working out. All that moisture is bad news for hearing aids. There are special sleeves that go over the behind-the-ear portion of your hearing aids that help keep them safe, or just take them out.

Check the weather before you go out.

You don’t have to stay inside unless the sun is out – but you should be prepared for the weather. Umbrellas are great, but if it’s going to be windy and rainy, you should probably don a rain hat.

This time of year can be just plain moist.

The transition of seasons is always a little unstable, and we all know Spring can be the wettest time of the year. When you have your hearing aids out, leave the battery door open so they can dry out, or use a dehumidifier. In a pinch, you can use the same trick we all use for cell phones who’ve taken an unexpected plunge – placing your hearing aids in uncooked white rice in a sealed bag can do wonders.

If you are going to be at the beach, leave the hearing aids at home.

Spring Break is an invigorating time of year. Many families head to the beach to alleviate the doldrums of winter. But sand and hearing aids do not mix. You are better off leaving them in a safe place.

Poolside is okay for hearing aids – but not in the pool.

As long as you can remember to remove your hearing aids before you jump in the pool, you are good to wear them poolside. We recommend taking a colorful container that you leave our nearby to remind you to pop your hearing aids into before you take a dip.

Regularly have your hearing checked. Seasonal changes can be a good reminder to schedule an assessment.

We suggest having your hearing checked even before you think there might be damage. That gives you a baseline to go off of – if you visit again in a year and there is a drastic change, you will know that you have to do more to protect yourself.

Your hearing care professional can help you determine what’s best for you and your lifestyle.

Protect your hearing now, before it’s too late!

If you want to learn more, or have questions, just let us know. We’d love to see you and answer anything you’ve got for us.

Want to learn more? Make a no-obligation appointment. Should you need hearing aids, we will help you find the right design for your ears. Call (631) 993-4719 to book time with us.

Posted by Admin

4 Ways to Avoid Hearing Loss & Keep Your Ears Safe

In some cases, hearing loss is unavoidable – such as in age-related hearing loss, but many cases are totally preventable.

If your hearing loss is age-related, it’s simply because the tiny hairs in your ears have started to break down and they don’t function as well as they used to. It’s a natural process.

But with noise-related hearing loss, the hairs have been damaged by either too much sound, or sound that is too loud for too long. It’s caused by not protecting yourself, and again, it’s totally preventable.

Here are 4 ways to keep your ears and hearing safe:

Avoid loud noises.

Bit of a no brainer, no? The louder and longer you are exposed to such sounds, the more damage you are doing.

If you work in a loud environment, you should wear earmuff-style protecting every single day.

Clubs, concerts, lawn mowers, chainsaws, and any other noise that forces you to shout so the person next to you can hear your voice all create dangerous levels of sound

Take care when wearing headphones and earbuds

Truthfully, the best case scenario would be to stop using them altogether. We understand though, that this may not be a feasible option.

So, if you must use them, we have some ideas on how to protect your hearing.

  • Choose a pair that is noise cancelling. That way you don’t have to crank it up to cover the external noise around you.
  • Only turn the music up to the point that you can hear it clearly, but not too loud.
  • Keep in mind that the music has a direct shot into your ear, so it’s more concentrated than usual. Try to maintain the volume at about 60%.

Wear protection.

We mentioned this in the avoid loud noises part, but there are many instances where you simply cannot avoid loud noises. Lawns must be mowed. Felled trees must be cut into manageable chunks. Sometimes, concerts must be attended.

Be prepared with hearing protection that allows you to hear, but will keep the loud noise from damaging your hearing.

Regularly have your hearing checked.

We suggest having your hearing checked even before you think there might be damage. That gives you a baseline to go off of – if you visit again in a year and there is a drastic change, you will know that you have to do more to protect yourself.

Your hearing care professional can help you determine what’s best for you and your lifestyle.

Protect your hearing now, before it’s too late!

If you want to learn more, or have questions, just let us know. We’d love to see you and answer anything you’ve got for us.

Still have questions?

We welcome you to call (631) 993-4719 to make an appointment today. Hearing starts with a conversation. Our friendly team is there for you throughout the process of identifying your needs, finding the right hearing aid (if that’s right for you), fitting, adjusting and following up with you. Your hearing satisfaction is our goal – and we measure our success through your wellness.

Posted by Admin

No big deal: Ending the stigma of hearing loss

It’s no big deal! Really. After all, it’s 2018. So isn’t it time that we end the stigma related to wearing hearing aids and hearing loss? Since inclusion has become pervasive in today’s society, why not let go of any negative images of hearing loss? Here at Smithtown Sayville Hearing Services we know that people of any age can have hearing loss and that wearing hearing aids is a smart solution to a challenge. Let’s all let go of any negative associations to hearing loss.

Not just “old people” have hearing loss

Some people equate wearing hearing aids with old age, but it simply isn’t true. Plenty of young people have hearing loss and use hearing aids or implants. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that 2-3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with some hearing loss.1 Schools across the country, from pre-school through high school, make accommodations to “mainstream” students with hearing loss, and several colleges offer programs specifically for students with hearing loss.

Why is there a stigma? Self-perception, ageism and vanity

Even though many younger people have it, hearing loss continues to be thought of as something only old people experience. It isn’t. Nor is it anything to be embarrassed about. Yet, recent research shows that stigma remains an issue. In 2010, The Gerontologist conducted research focused on stigma and hearing loss, and how these may impact an individual’s decision to wear hearing aids. The researchers found that perceived stigma did make a difference in whether people with hearing loss accepted hearing aids and how well they adapted to them.2 People in the study expressed concerns about being seen as old, or worried that people may stare at them if they were wearing hearing aids. But this isn’t new. The study noted that the concept of stigma dates back to the ancient Greeks, and that people labeled stigma to alterations in self-perception, ageism and vanity.

Society has changed rapidly over the last decade

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans have improved their view of people with disabilities,3 especially since 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. People’s viewpoints have changed. But assistive technologies, such as hearing aids, play an integral role in helping people with challenges integrate fully into society. Getting to know people with hearing loss, seeing how well they manage with hearing aids at home, work and in the community, helps break down any residual stigma.

Hearing loss is an invisible disability

You can’t see if someone has hearing loss, so sometimes it’s hard to tell if they struggle to hear you. A hearing aid may be the only clue. Hearing aid manufactures understand that aesthetics count. Sometimes hearing aids are so well-hidden that they’re even invisible. Others have a sleek design, available in many colors, including a variety of skin-tones. Some people choose to flaunt the latest in hearing aids designs and pick bolder colors, like blues or pinks. And why not? We think that hearing aids are nothing to hide!

Why break the stigma?

Hearing loss advocate, Shari Eberts, recently wrote in Psychology Today that the time has come to end the stigma of hearing loss. She lists multiple avenues you can follow to break the stigma of hearing loss. She encourages the public to do the following:

      “Get your hearing tested as part of your annual medical screening and encourage your friends and family to do the same.”
      “If you have hearing loss, treat it.”
      “If you have hearing aids, wear them.”
      “Speak up about your hearing loss”4

We agree that all of these things can help the public understand hearing loss and improve their own well-being.

Want more information on ending stigmas, accepting hearing loss and finding the best options for you?

Whether you are a “newbie” to hearing loss or have been facing hearing loss for decades, we can help you choose the best solution for your individual needs. We understand that first-time wearers may go through a process to get used to hearing aids, and our experienced team know how to help acclimate you to wearing your new devices. Want to learn more? Make a no-obligation appointment. Should you need hearing aids, we will help you find the right design for your ears. Call (631) 993-4719 to book time with us.

Posted by Admin

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