Our Personal Hearing Heroes: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell)

As your local Heroes of Hearing, we like to take the time to highlight those people and organizations who are making a difference for those who are living with hearing loss. For this month, our featured hearing heroes are the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell).

Long History Of Supporting The Deaf and Hard of Hearing

One of the first remarkable things people notice with the AG Bell organization is their long history of providing support for the deaf and hard of hearing. Established in 1887 as the Volta Bureau by Alexander Bell—inventor of many hearing technologies such as the phonograph and the telephone—“for the increase and diffusion of knowledge relating to the deaf,” Bell merged with the American Association for the Promotion and Teaching of Speech to the Deaf in 1908. It wasn’t until 1999 that AG Bell was finally named the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Beyond the evolving name changes of the organization, AG Bell has done much to support those in the deaf and hard of hearing community, championing their rights to education and independent living, as well as providing scholarships and financial aid. They also promote hearing technology to help overcome hearing loss when applicable.

Mission Of AG Bell Today

The various activities of AG Bell are done in support of their overarching mission, which is to provide deaf and hard of hearing people around the world with a way to hear and talk, connecting them to the rest of the world. For this reason, they provide support and education for all levels of communities, from families to policy-makers.

How You Can Support The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community

If you are interested in supporting AG Bell and their mission, you can donate through their website or become a member of the AG Bell Arizona chapter. As AG Bell is a 501(c)3 charity, your donation to them can be deducted from your taxes.

However, if you want to specifically support your local community of Tucson, AZ, we here at Heroes of Hearing have set up an ongoing GoFundMe called Ears for Tucson to assist those in our community receive the hearing services they need but cannot afford.

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with hearing loss, you can contact us and set up an in-depth hearing evaluation. With our evaluation, our hearing specialist can pinpoint the hearing loss type and to what degree it is affecting your hearing, then offer you the best hearing solutions for your hearing needs and lifestyle.

Enjoy The Sounds of the Holiday Season Here in Tucson, AZ

Our hearing is a major way we connect with the world around us. During the holiday season, don’t you want to hear the joy of Christmas carols, laughter at social gatherings, and joyeous children?

Here at Heroes of Hearing, we want to help you be immersed in all the fun the that the winter holidays have to offer. There are great local events happening this season for you to enjoy in the Tuscon area.Take a look!

Holiday Events In Tucson That You Need To Hear

Along with the various winter celebrations and parties you will be attending this holiday season, you may want to fit these Tucson holiday events into your schedule.

Winterhaven Festival Of Lights

A charming tradition of almost 70 years, the Winterhaven Festival of Lights is a dazzling event you don’t want to miss. The entire community of Winterhaven goes all out with their holiday displays, with lights, inflatables, music and more for everyone to enjoy.

You can tour the community lights on foot or other forms of authorized transportation. This event is completely free, though attendees are encouraged to bring canned food as the residents use the event as a food drive for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Reid Park Zoo Lights 2018

See the Reid Park Zoo decked out in beautiful lights this season with the whole family. Ticket prices vary depending on age and zoo membership, but tickets are no pricier than $10 per person. Also, along with the lights, you can catch live entertainment and a wide variety of vendors to pick up a last-minute gift or stocking stuffer.

Jingle Bell Rockin’ Revue At Gaslight Music Hall

If music is something you love, then you need to check out the Jingle Bell Rockin’ Revue at Gaslight Music Hall. Appropriate for the whole family, this Christmas extravaganza will feature plenty of music, from singers to a 7-piece band! Prices vary depending on the date.

Visit Heroes Of Hearing To Enjoy Quality Holiday Hearing

Once you have your hearing aids in top shape, you will be able to experience these holiday events with the whole family and be able to stay immersed in all the fun. If your hearing aids are in need of repair or you have unaddressed hearing loss, then it is time to contact us and visit our hearing clinic for an appointment. Our hearing instrument specialist is ready to help you with all your hearing-related needs.

Give Yourself The Gift of Better Hearing with Hearing Aids

If you’re in need of hearing help, consider selecting hearing aids with the help of Heroes of Hearing in Tucson, Arizona, it could be the best decision you make all year.

Ways Hearing Aids Improve Your Hearing

Hearing aids can be pricey even when partially covered by insurance. But the ways that hearing aids improve your hearing far outweighs any cost. Some of the top ways hearing aids can help are:

  • Follow conversations more easily – Hearing loss can leave you feeling cut off from those around you, as it can sound like people are constantly mumbling or speaking too quietly. With hearing aids, you can capture the nuance of the conversations you have been missing.
  • Correct high-frequency hearing loss – When dealing with sensorineural hearing loss, losing the ability to hear higher frequencies is a common side effect. This type of hearing loss can make hearing people and sounds in that are in the upper sound registry difficult. With hearing aids programmed by our hearing instrument specialist, you can have your high-frequency hearing loss corrected.
  • Improve reaction times – Our hearing can affect not only our interpersonal reactions but also our reaction times to sounds which help us navigate the world around us. With hearing aids, you can catch the sounds of traffic movement and react appropriately, or hear when something may not be right in the kitchen in time to fix things.  
  • Help prevent cognitive decline – A serious side effect is its link to increased cognitive decline. As hearing loss damaged the auditory nerve, which in turn damages the part of the brain which processes sound and accesses memory, cognitive decline rates are increased in those who have untreated hearing loss. With hearing aids, you can help protect yourself from dementia and other cognitive issues.

Also, depending on the hearing aids you select, you can stream audio media directly to your hearing aids to improve your listening experience! Enjoy hands-free phone calls to your favorite audiobook when you use hearing aids with Bluetooth connectivity.

Why Work With Heroes Of Hearing To Find Your Perfect Hearing Aids

As hearing loss is a highly individualized experience, it is critical that you work with a hearing specialist who will focus on your hearing needs. Here at Heroes of Hearing, we offer individually-tailored hearing assistance to each of our patients. Our hearing instrument specialist takes your hearing needs, lifestyle and other concerns under consideration to provide you with the best care possible.

So, if you would like to work with a hearing instrument specialist who will put you and your hearing needs first, contact us to set up an appointment today. We look forward to seeing you!

Can I Use My FSA or HSA To Purchase Hearing Aids?

While hearing aids may not always be covered by insurance, there are other ways you can purchase hearing aids that don’t have to impact your budget. Namely, by using a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) or a Health Spending Account (HSA).

We work with most types of health savings here at Heroes of Hearing, so if you have one of these accounts and have been putting off purchasing hearing aids, you may not need to delay any longer.

Using FSA And Other Health Savings To Pay For Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are one of the medical devices which are considered a qualified medical expense when it comes to the various health savings plans. However, which plan you have will affect your ability to purchase hearing aids.

  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – Eligible
  • Limited Care FSA (LCFSA) – Not Eligible
  • Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) – Not Eligible
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) – Eligible
  • Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) – Eligible

If you have been delaying purchasing hearing aids, you may waste some of the funds available to you. While an HSA will rollover with all your funds to the next year, an FSA will not.

Depending on the plan your employer has selected, you will either have a 2.5 month grace period where you can spend the funds or only have $500 carried into the new year. So, before the end of the year, it just makes sense to take the plunge and invest in a set of hearing aids.

Also, if you have hearing aids or are going to work with our hearing instrument specialist to purchase a pair, you can also stock up on hearing aid batteries. As hearing aids require battery changes often, it would be a good idea to use your FSA or HSA to stock up on them; however, if you have an LCFSA or DCFSA, you are also not eligible to purchase hearing aid batteries with those funds.

Buying Hearing Aids With FSA Or HSA And Your Taxes

As FSA and HSA accounts are generally contributed to directly from your payroll, there is no tax attached to that portion of your income. If you were to withdraw the money, it would become subject to tax. But if you are buying hearing aids or hearing aid batteries and either paying with the funds directly or requesting reimbursement, you will not be taxed.

If you are ready to invest in hearing aids, contact us. You can receive a hearing test, hearing aid fitting, and demo different hearing aids as you work with our hearing instrument specialist to find the perfect hearing aids for your needs.

Our Personal Hearing Heroes: Sertoma SAFEEars!

Most of the people who come to see our hearing instrument specialist at the Heroes of Hearing are older individuals. Many of them express regret for not caring better for their hearing when they were younger.

But for many people, they were never made aware of how loud noise exposure can damage their hearing, which is why we are so impressed by Sertoma and the efforts made with their SAFEEars program.

SAFEEars Focuses On Protecting Children’s Hearing

Young children have a greater hearing range than adults, making them even more sensitive to loud noises than teens and adults. Children who are frequently exposed to loud noises are far more likely to develop sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is permanent and can only be corrected to a certain extent with the use of hearing aids. Also, this type of hearing loss is the only kind which is avoidable.

To help children avoid sensorineural hearing loss as they age, SAFEEars has produced a variety of materials. These materials are generally distributed through their Sertoma SAFEEar club. According to the Sertoma club locator, there are two hearing clubs in Tucson, AZ, though we could only find one location.

Other Sertoma Hearing Projects

Not only is Sertoma involved with improving the hearing of children but this 501(c)3 charity is also participates in a number of other hearing projects which have impressed us.

  • A Sound Investment – Hearing inside of a building can be difficult for hearing aid users without a looping system in place. With the looping in place, hearing aid users can use the T-coil in their hearing aids to cut out echoes and hear more clearly.
  • Scholarships – Sertoma funds and offers scholarships to students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
  • Celebrate Sound Don’t Walk In Silence – This event is the fundraiser Sertoma hosts which also acts as part of their awareness outreach program.

For more on their various programs, be sure to check out the Sertoma website.

Protect Your Hearing With The Right Services

Not everyone has had the benefit of an organization like Sertoma and have consequently suffered from hearing loss. Here at our hearing clinic, we offer a variety of hearing services to help those who have hearing loss:

  • Hearing tests
  • Hearing aid clean and repair
  • Real ear measurement
  • Tinnitus treatment

If you are ready to protect your remaining hearing, contact us to work with our hearing specialist.

Related reading you may be interested in:

You Heard It From The Hearing Specialist: Untreated Hearing Loss Leads To Cognitive Problems

It can be difficult to see the link between your hearing and cognition, but constant research has reinforced that there is a strong link between the two.

At Heroes of Hearing, our hearing specialist stays on top of the latest industry research regarding hearing loss and the advancement of hearing technology. With his insights, we hope to clarify for you how hearing loss and cognitive problems are connected.

Connection Between Hearing Loss And Dementia

Hearing loss creates an isolating barrier between a person and the rest of the world. Without the ability to connect with the world of sound around them, many individuals begin to lose their grip on some of their cognitive abilities.

For example, take a moment and just listen to what you hear. We are constantly bombarded with sound, from background sounds of cars driving by to direct conversations. Our brains prioritize and categorize this information, keeping our minds busily engaged. Hearing loss blocks our brain from engaging, and it is this slip in engagement which causes cognitive issues to begin to take place.

To overcome this blockage, our hearing specialist recommends the use of hearing aids. When used properly, hearing aids have been proven to reduce cognitive decline and prevent further deterioration as it allows users’ brains to re-engage with the world around them.

How Untreated Hearing Loss Damages The Cochlear Nerve

It is best to catch hearing loss early and not only to prevent cognitive issues. If hearing loss is left untreated, a certain amount of damage to your ability to comprehend information can be incurred.

To help illustrate this information, examine the above image. On the far right of the above image, you will see a small yellow cluster connected to the cochlea. This cluster represents the cochlear nerve, also called the auditory nerve. This nerve cluster is responsible for transmitting the sounds your ear collects to your brain for processing.

Hearing loss interrupts this smooth transferral of information. If sounds are blocked from reaching the cochlear nerve at any point along the way, the cochlear will begin to die. These dead section will prevent smooth information transferral, and you may no longer be able to understand what some sounds mean.

Nothing can reverse this damage, though further cochlear nerve damage can be prevented by receiving the correct hearing services.

Prevent Hearing Loss-Related Cognitive Problems

Catching hearing loss early is the best way to prevent damage to the cochlear nerve and resulting cognitive problems. We recommend that people begin to come in for hearing exams once a year starting in your late 40s or early 50s. This age range is generally when noise-related hearing damage has begun to take a toll on your hearing.

To schedule a hearing exam or other hearing services with our hearing specialists, contact us today for an appointment.

What’s New In Hearing Aid Tech: Find Relief From Tinnitus With Today’s Hearing Aid Tech

For those suffering from tinnitus, it can sometimes seem like nothing can bring you relief from the constant sound. This line of thinking feeds into the tinnitus symptoms as stress is known to exacerbate tinnitus, creating a cycle of hopelessness.

Thanks to constant innovation by the hearing aid manufacturer Starkey, tinnitus sufferers can try new hearing aid technology and potentially break that cycle of despair.

Starkey’s Multiflex Tinnitus Technology

Starkey has a new, patent-pending tinnitus management tool called Multiflex Tinnitus Technology. This tinnitus technology is built into their hearing aids and is designed to create a sound stimulus which will ease tinnitus.

To ensure that it meets the needs of the individual tinnitus sufferers, the sound which is created can be customized by our hearing instrument specialist. Also, all of Starkey’s styles of hearing aids can be equipped with the Multiflex Tinnitus Technology.

What It Means For Tinnitus Sufferers

Instead of having your life continually interrupted by tinnitus, the Multiflex Tinnitus Technology can allow you to refocus on what it really important to you. This refocusing is due to the custom sound which our hearing specialist will program with your input. Once you approve of the customized sound, it will be programmed into your Starkey hearing aids so it can be emitted. Over time as you use your Multiflex Tinnitus Technology-enabled hearing aids, your awareness of your tinnitus will lessen.

If this technology interests you, our hearing specialist will perform a hearing test on you. By doing so, any hearing loss you may have can be addressed along with your tinnitus. To top all those benefits off, the Multiflex Tinnitus Technology comes with a 30-day risk-free trial to ensure that you are satisfied with how the technology works for you.

Where To Find Starkey Hearing Aids

If you are living in the Tuscon, Arizona, area, then your top provider of Starkey hearing aids is the Heroes of Hearing. We pride ourselves on providing top-quality care to everyone who enters our hearing clinic, and we will not rest until we find a solution for your hearing needs. So, if the Multiflex Tinnitus Technology does not fulfill all your needs, we will continue to work with you to find what will help.

To work with our hearing specialist and take control of your tinnitus, schedule an appointment today.

Our Personal Hearing Heroes: The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss

Many people hope to make a difference in the world and helping someone regain their hearing is one of the greatest ways to impact a life. That is why the Heroes of Hearing has chosen to recognize the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss as our personal hearing heroes.

Childhood Hearing Loss In Underdeveloped Nations

In underdeveloped nations where the daily struggle to survive is great, medical needs such as hearing loss often go unaddressed. Paige Stringer, founder and executive director the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss, saw this lack and was deeply affected. As someone who was born with profound hearing loss which was treated when she was a child, she wanted to provide hearing assistance to less privileged children living in underdeveloped countries.

This organization’s focuses on three key elements to fulfill their mission of providing hearing assistance to children in developing countries:

  • Early identification of hearing loss so treatment can be provided
  • Access to necessary hearing technology
  • Support and training for local professionals

Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss Projects

Since their founding in 2009, the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss has engaged in a number of projects in Vietnam and Mongolia. Some of these projects have been:

  • Providing high-quality hearing aids to support children’s hearing needs.
  • Training programs which cover such topics as speech pathology, pediatric audiology, early hearing intervention, and auditory-verbal practice.
  • Developed hearing health and educational program so newborn and childhood hearing loss can be identified.
  • Consulting with local professionals via video conference.
  • Developing regional hearing education centers where children with hearing loss can be supported and learn.

This organization also works to raise awareness in the countries it operates in, as hearing loss is not often recognized in young children in time for a timely intervention. Their work has been recognized by many notables in the hearing services community, such as Oticon, Hear The World Foundation, ReSound, Alexander Graham Bell Association, Phonak, and more.

Local Hearing Specialist For Tucson, AZ

We greatly admire hearing pioneers who have dedicated their lives to providing hearing resources to those who need them. In our corner of the world, our hearing specialist has dedicated himself to his local community.

By staying educated on the latest hearing advancements, the Heroes of Hearing can provide the best hearing services for those struggling with hearing loss. Contact us to make an appointment and allow us to help you take control of your hearing again.

Ringing In The Ears? Learn More About Tinnitus

Millions of people can hear a sound which no one else can hear. Sometimes this sound is described as a ringing sound, other people hearing it expressed as a roaring, hissing, buzzing, or clicking sound. Those who are struggling with hearing continual background noise are people who have tinnitus.

Tinnitus Can Be Permanent

For some people, tinnitus can be a temporary sound in their ears which lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of days. Those people who experience temporary tinnitus likely have exposed them to some kind of noise damage. This kind of damage can occur from attending an energetic music concert without earplugs or even something as simple as mowing the lawn without hearing protection. This is why tinnitus is often linked with a certain amount of hearing loss, but sometimes our hearing specialist finds that there is no hearing loss present.

Many permanent tinnitus sufferers started out with temporary tinnitus until one day their tinnitus refused to go away. If you have noticed you have been experiencing temporary tinnitus, take it as a warning sign. You should start taking steps to protect your hearing, such as keeping a pair of earplugs on you and keeping the volume of your media below 60% max volume.

Ways To Treat Tinnitus

Currently, there is no cure for tinnitus. However, there are a variety of ways you can manage and treat your tinnitus.

  • Hearing aids – As tinnitus is often accompanied by hearing loss, it makes sense to use hearing aids to solve two problems at once. Not only will the hearing aids correct the hearing loss but it can help the hearer listen to things beyond their tinnitus.
  • Reduce noise exposure – While you may already struggle with tinnitus, you don’t want to do anything to increase your tinnitus symptoms. Loud noise exposure can heighten your tinnitus symptoms. For those with tinnitus which comes and goes, noise exposure can trigger a round of tinnitus symptoms.
  • Relaxation techniques – Stress can often increase tinnitus symptoms, and the increased symptoms can cause more stress. To cut through this negative cycle, develop some relaxation techniques, such as mediation, practice yoga, and positive visualization.

Depending on your specific tinnitus needs, our hearing specialist will be able to recommend specific tinnitus treatment and management tools. The Heroes of Hearing are dedicating to helping you with your hearing-related needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment and start taking care of your hearing needs today.

5 Things To Avoid This Summer For Better Hearing Health

Summer tends to encourage a carefree attitude bordering on careless when it comes to our hearing health. We blast off fireworks at close range, skip our annual hearing exam, and generally take risks which we wouldn’t at other times of the year.

This summer, to help you protect and preserve your hearing health, try your best to avoid these five hearing mistakes.

1. Don’t Forget Your Earplugs For The Pool

Here in Tuscon, Arizona, it is almost impossible to make it through a summer without a dip in a pool or a run through a splash pad. But if you aren’t wearing waterproof earplugs, you may be putting your hearing in danger.

Most of us have had to shake water out of our ears. But sometimes that water can become trapped in the ear canal. Considering that water shared by hundreds of people is not the most sanitary, the trapped water in the ear canal can begin to breed bacteria. This bacteria has the ability to cause a painful ear infection. Repeated ear infections have been known to damage the eardrum and other areas in the ear, causing hearing loss.

To avoid this possibility, you will need to find earplugs which have been designed for water usage. Regular earplugs that you pick up from a hardware store are usually a flexible, porous foam which will not keep out water. Drugstore and large chain stores like Walmart will often carry waterproof earplugs in the summer.

2. Refrain From Procrasting Your Hearing Exam

We make time for vacations, parties, and other occasions during the summer, but often at the expense of the things we should be doing, like going in for an annual hearing exam.

By going in for a once-a-year hearing checkup, you can save yourself from serious hearing trouble down the road. Unless an accident occurs, hearing loss is a slow process. Our bodies do their best to adapt to the loss of hearing, so we may not notice until our hearing loss begins to severely affect our hearing. Yet, if your hearing loss is caught in its early stages, you:

  • Won’t have to struggle with suddenly recognizing severe hearing loss.
  • Can use lower-powered hearing aids to correct your hearing loss, rather than requiring the strongest hearing devices.
  • Will avoid damaging your auditory nerve. If the auditory nerve does become damaged, it can cause permenate incomprehesion of some spoken communication.

3. Skip Residential Fireworks

Plenty of people enjoy lighting off fireworks far after the Fourth of July. As roadside booths and grocery stores continue to sell them throughout the summer, people will continue to find time to set off fireworks.

Fireworks packed for residential use don’t have the same explosive power of commercial fireworks but they can damage your hearing all the same. The decibel level when hearing damage starts to occur is 80 dB and residential fireworks range from 120-150 dB.

Do your hearing a favor and skip the home fireworks and just watch a good firework show instead.

4. Avoid Unprotected Concert Attendance

Summer is also when many musical groups go on tour and perform around the country. Casino Del Sol is hosting a variety of talent this summer, as are other entertainment venues. But after you book a show, be sure you have your earplugs ready to go. Many famous musicians struggle with hearing loss and tinnitus, so protect yourself at your next concert!

5. Don’t Leave Hearing Aid Accessories At Home

If you already own hearing aids, you should take some extra care steps this summer to ensure they stay in top condition.

  • Make sure to pack their travel case when you go on vacation. This case will help you store them safely no matter where you go.
  • Invest in a water-resistant cover for your hearing aids. While these covers will not allow the hearing aids to be submerged, it will keep them safer from an accidental splash.
  • Keep a soft cloth on you to wipe down your hearing aids. Whether you accidently wet them or sweat falls on them, drying your hearing aids quickly will help protect them.
  • Bring extra batteries with you as you go on trips. High heat can sometimes drain batteries, and you don’t want to deal with dead hearing aids while on vacation.

Summer can be a fun season which doesn’t have to affect your hearing health, if you remember to follow our five pieces of advice. If you find you do need help with your hearing this summer, contact us for an appointment. Our hearing specialist will be able to help you back onto the road towards healthy hearing.