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Tucson Hearing Hero of the Month

APRIL 2019 COMMUNITY HEARING HERO

Hearing Hero

Today started off very exciting! Allison a manager at a local restaurant reached out to us to see if there was a way to find the owner of a hearing aid that was left at her restaurant. After some detective work we were able to find out who it belonged to and return it to her. Heroes of Hearing wants to give a shout out to Allison for going above and beyond and is our community hero the month of April. Thanks Allison!!

7 Hearing Aid Care Tips To Do At Home Regularly

As your number one hearing aid source for Tucson, AZ, we have seven tips for you to help you properly care for your hearing aids on a regular basis. By providing your hearing aids with the correct care, you can extend their lifespan and protect them from some of the hazards that these tiny devices face.

1. Wash Your Hand Before Touching Your Hearing Aids

While it is natural to simply reach up and touch your hearing aids, it is best if you don’t do this without washing your hands first.

Even if your hands are clean, hands often have oils which can damage the delicate circuitry in your hearing aids. Also, as many people have lotion on their hands, this can cause debris to adhere to the surface of your hearing aids, clogging them.

2. Wipe Your Hearing Aids Down Nightly

After a full day of wearing your hearing aids, they have likely acquired a fine layer of earwax and moisture as they rest on or in your ears. Before you put them away for the night, you should wipe them down carefully, with a soft surface below you in case your hearing aids slip and fall from your hands.

Also, it is best if you use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe down your hearing aids. Other materials can be abrasive and scratch your hearing aids, leaving uncomfortable grooves, where the microfiber will prevent damage and pick up the small particles.

3. Pop Open The Battery Doors Every Night

Once you are done wiping down your hearing aids, be sure to pop the battery doors open. While this isn’t necessary if your hearing aids area rechargeable, for battery operated hearing aids, you can extend the lifespan of your hearing aids by cutting the connection between your hearing aids and their batteries. It also allows the insides of your hearing aids to dry out if any moisture has become trapped.

If you do have a hearing aid dehumidifier, we do recommend you use it on a nightly basis to help prevent moisture buildup on the inside of your hearing aids. But if you don’t have one, opening the battery doors is a good alternative.

4. Change Your Batteries Before They Are Dead

Some people wear down their hearing aid batteries until they are completely dead. This practice can be taxing on your hearing aids. Instead of doing this, we recommend that you change out your hearing aid batteries before they are dead.

To do this, all you need to do is listen for when your hearing aids begin to sound weaker. If you would like, you can stock up on batteries the next time you visit our hearing clinic, as we carry all sizes of available hearing aid batteries.

5. Do In-Depth Cleaning Once A Week

Pick a day as your in-depth hearing aid cleaning day. While this cleaning won’t likely take you more than 5 minutes, it is important to stick to a regular cleaning schedule. Some of the things you should do are:

  • Clean the battery contacts
  • Change the wax filters (can vary from weekly to monthly, ask our hearing specialist to be sure what’s right for your device).
  • Use a hearing aid pick to clean out any debris from your microphone, receiver, and other nooks and crannies.

You should not use any cleaners on your hearing aids, as most are corrosive to the delicate casing of your hearing aids. If you do want some kind of cleaner, our hearing instrument specialist can recommend a hearing aid-safe wipe.

6. Come In For Regular Professional Hearing Aid Cleanings

Another important aspect of extending the lifespan of your hearing aids is having them cleaned on a regular basis, whether you come in quarterly or biannually to have your hearing aids professionally cleaned. Our hearing specialist has a number of specialized tools to allow him to clean your hearing aids effectively and check to see if they need any repairs.

7. Take Out Your Hearing Aids Before Certain Activities

Normally, we are all for you wearing your hearing aids during all your waking hours, but there are some activities which can be harmful to them. Some of the top time you should take out your hearing aids are:

  • Before swimming, showering, or any other water-based activity
  • Take out your hearing aids before using a hair dryer or hair spray
  • Prior to enjoying extreme sports, such as dirt biking, skiing, etc.

Also, be sure to protect your hearing aids from becoming too hot or cold, covering them with hats or other headgear.

Should you need help with your hearing aids, feel free to contact us today. Our hearing instrument specialist is happy to work with you to bring your hearing aids back into top condition.

How Do You Get Rid of Tinnitus?

When someone develops tinnitus, a constant phantom ringing in the ears that ranges in severity from slightly annoying to downright distressing, they have many questions. At Heroes of Hearing, treating this condition is one of our specialties. One of the first things people ask us is, “How do you get rid of tinnitus?”

The short answer is that in most cases you don’t. There’s no known cure for tinnitus. The good news, however, is there have never been so many options when it comes to managing this headache of a problem.

Start By Seeing Your Hearing Instrument Specialist

The journey from noticing you have tinnitus to barely noticing the clamor starts with a visit to your hearing instrument specialist. They can perform an exam to determine whether you actually have tinnitus.

Next, your hearing instrument specialist will help determine whether your tinnitus is a temporary issue or a permanent condition. In some cases, tinnitus is caused by solvable medical issues like:

  • Excess earwax, a problem that can be solved with cerumen removal.
  • Medications that affect your hearing. If a drug is spurring tinnitus, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about switching up your medication or dosage.

Technological Tools Can Help Ease Tinnitus

Tinnitus is often a side effect of hearing loss. In some cases, the condition is resolved once a patient is fitted with hearing aids. In cases where the inner din continues, it can be helped by some cutting-edge technology, such as hearing aids equipped with tinnitus management tools.

Starkey’s Multiflex Tinnitus Technology

One of our favorite such solutions is Starkey’s Multiflex Tinnitus Technology. All models of Starkey hearing aids can be equipped with MTT so they emit a sound stimulus that’s customized to best offset your particular case of tinnitus.

A custom approach is important because every case of tinnitus is different. Just a few of the noises people hear in their ears include:

  • Buzzing
  • clicking
  • Hissing
  • Ringing
  • Screaming
  • Screeching
  • Static

Once you’ve approved your tailored sound profile, it’s programmed into your Starkey hearing aids. Over time spent wearing hearing aids equipped with Multiflex Tinnitus Technology, your awareness of your tinnitus will lessen, allowing you to focus on what really matters.

The Levo System

We’ve also had tinnitus patients say they’ve found significant relief through the Levo System. It’s a sound-generation system that retrains your brain while you sleep, helping you learn to ignore the sounds of tinnitus.

The Levo System involves a custom sound profile, created collaboratively by you and your hearing instrument specialist, that you can upload to your smartphone or another device. You listen to it at night with the help of specially-fitted Levo earbuds.

Counseling Can Help With Your Tinnitus

Like many chronic conditions, tinnitus—particularly unmanaged tinnitus—can really wear a person down. Common side effects of tinnitus include:

  • Concentration problems
  • Depression and irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Memory difficulties
  • Stress and anxiety

A good hearing instrument specialist will provide counseling regarding tinnitus, and share some suggestions on how to mitigate the problem. Many tinnitus patients choose to seek out additional counseling. While there are many therapeutic modalities out there, cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the best for tackling tinnitus. It can help you reframe your thoughts surrounding the condition in a more positive way.

Mindfulness Practices Can Help With Tinnitus

People with tinnitus sometimes find themselves in a loud loop. Having tinnitus causes stress, while stress makes tinnitus worse.

Engaging in mindfulness practices, whether active or meditative, can help you better cope with the stress of tinnitus. Just a few of these activities include:

  • Meditation
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Visualization
  • Yoga

At Heroes of Hearing, we believe everyone deserves a chance to hear well and enjoy peace of mind. Whether you’re dealing with the inner din of tinnitus or simply want to get fitted with hearing aids, contact us today for your appointment.

What’s New In Hearing Aid Tech: Hearing Aid Apps for Android Devices

The digital age is marked by dazzling technical innovation in every realm, including hearing assistance. Many of today’s hearing aids have associated apps that let you control features like volume and programming via your smartphone, at the touch of a button. It’s a convenient and discreet way to optimize your listening experience.

At first most hearing aid apps were aimed at iPhone users, but most manufacturers have since created equivalent apps for Android aficionados. There’s one area, though, where Androids still lag behind iPhones. Unlike iPhones, Androids still require that you use an accessory like a phone clip if you want to stream audio directly into your hearing aids. That’s likely to change, though, with Phonak’s recent introduction of their Audéo line, the first hearing aids to wirelessly connect wirelessly to Androids without an intermediary device.

At Heroes of Hearing we believe everyone deserves the best hearing help, regardless of their level of hearing loss or what style of phone they carry. Here are some Android-compatible hearing aid apps that have earned our stamp of approval.

Unitron: Remote Plus (Android 6.0 or later)

Unitron is just one of the many brands of hearing aids we carry, but it’s among our favorites. Android users who wear Unitron’s Moxi hearing aids can download the accompanying Remote Plus app for free via Google Play. Remote Plus essentially turns your phone into a remote control, letting you use your Android to:

  • Mute and unmute your hearing aids
  • Adjust the volume of your hearing aids
  • Change your hearing aids’ programming

Starkey: TruLink (Android 4.4 or later)

The TruLink Hearing Control app supports Starkey’s Halo, Halo 2 and Halo iQ hearing aids. It has a number of useful features, like letting you use your Android to control your hearing aids’ volume and find them if they’re lost.

It also has some nifty automated functions. The app automatically adapts when you travel in a car and can use geotags to adjust to customized settings. For instance, TruLink can activate your “coffee shop” settings when you walk into your favorite java joint.

Phonak: Remote (Android 4.0 and later)

The Remote app is designed to be used with Phonak’s Audéo hearing aids models. This is another app that turns your Android into a remote control, letting you:

  • Adjust the volume of your hearing aids
  • Choose between programs configured by your hearing instrument specialist
  • Adjust your Tinnitus Balance noise generator

ReSound: Smart 3D (Android 5.0 or later)

Compatible with ReSoud’s LiNX and ENZO hearing aids, Smart 3D is one of the more versatile Android-compatible apps. It lets you use your smartphone to:

  • Mute and unmute your hearing aids
  • Control the volume of your hearing aids
  • Find lost hearing aids
  • Adjust elements like speech focus and wind-noise levels via Sound Enhancer
  • Select bass, middle and treble tones to best suit you
  • Save environmentally-optimized program settings, tagged to specific locations
  • Adjust the Tinnitus Sound Generator and complementary Nature Sounds

Widex: BEYOND (Android 6.0 or later)

Android users who wear Widex’s BEYOND hearing aids can benefit from the BEYOND app. BEYOND allows you to control many aspects of your hearing experience via your Android, using it to:

  • Adjust the volume and mute function of your hearing aids
  • Adjust directional focus for environment-specific listening
  • Adjust the sound equalization, manually or through pre-sets
  • Create a location library with space-specific programming
  • Locate lost hearing aids

At Heroes of Hearing, we strive to keep up on the latest developments in our industry. Let us know if you’d like to learn more about hearing technology like apps, accessories, tinnitus management tools and wireless streaming. Contact us today to set up your appointment.

Improve Your Relationships This New Year With Better Hearing

With the start of the new year, one popular resolution many people set is to improve their relationships with their family and friends. However, reaching this goal can be tough if you are also struggling with your hearing. But with the help of hearing aids, you can not only improve your hearing but also better your relationships.

How Better Hearing Can Improve Relationships

What better hearing has to do with better relationships isn’t initially clear, but there is a strong connection between these two things. With better hearing, you can:

  • Actually hear what people are saying – When you are unable to clearly hear the conversations going on around you, it is difficult to feel connected to those you are trying to converse with. This problem becomes worse if you are not face-to-face with the person you are trying to talk to, and can’t pick up context clues concerning the conversation. With better hearing, you can more easily follow what is being said and feel included.
  • Lower your frustration levels – It can be incredibly frustrating to talk to others when you have untreated hearing loss, as it sounds like everyone is mumbling or just talking too quietly. Once you have hearing aids to correct your hearing loss, that frustration can be hugely minimized, as your hearing aids can be programmed by our hearing specialist for your level of hearing loss.
  • Start enjoying larger social gatherings – With hearing loss, social gatherings with family and/or friends are more of a burden than a good time, as the distortion of so many voices and sounds can make your hearing loss more pronounced. Once you have hearing aids to help you cut through the distortion, you can hone back into socializing with those whom you want to improve your relationship with.  

Heroes Of Hearing Can Help You Regain Your Hearing

If you need hearing aids in Tucson, Arizona, to assist with your hearing and help you improve your relationships this year, then Heroes of Hearing is here for you. Our hearing instrument specialist has the experience and the equipment to identify and treat your hearing loss and help you re-learn how to hear again.

We also are an independent hearing clinic, which means we can take the time to make sure your hearing solutions are the right ones for your needs.

So, if you are ready to reconnect with your loved ones and improve your relationships with better hearing, contact us for a hearing test today.

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.

6 Ways To Finance Your Hearing Aids

While they are a necessary investment in your overall wellbeing, hearing aids can be quite expensive, especially if you are paying for them out-of-pocket.

Here at Heroes of Hearing, we have helped many people determine their hearing aid financing options and wanted to share what other patients have done to cover the cost of their hearing devices.

1. Contact Your Insurance Provider

While hearing aids are sometimes not covered by insurance, it is worth checking with your insurance to check if your need for hearing aids would qualify you. We can help you by running a precheck on your insurance during your hearing test consultation with our hearing instrument specialist.

2. Heroes Of Hearing Offers Financing Options

We offer several financing options at our hearing clinic to help you afford your hearing aids. Along with accepting credit cards, we also work with these health financing organizations:

  • Care Credit
  • Wells Fargo Health Advantage
  • AllWell

With payment plans ranging from month-to-month, with 6-12 month plans which are interest-free, you are sure to find a financing plan to suit your needs.

3. Consider A Personal Loan

If you prefer to secure your own financing, a personal loan from your bank or credit union is also a good option to help you finance your hearing aids. Depending on your credit score and length of time you’ve worked with them, you may be able to receive a better offer.

4. Work With A Hearing-Centered Charity

There are a variety of hearing-related charities, though much of their efforts are focused on underdeveloped nations. But there are two charities in particular that Heroes of Hearing admires, which are:

  • Starkey Hearing Foundation – The Starkey Hearing Foundation has helped many people receive free or low-cost hearing aids and work on a global scale. You can contact them for assistance with financing your hearing aids.
  • Hometown Hero Project – We have partnered with the Hometown Hero Project to provide military veterans with a discount on the hearing services they need, ranging from tinnitus assistance to discounted hearing devices.

5. Check FSA or HSA Accounts

If you have a medical flexible spending account (FSA) or health spending account (HSA), needing hearing aids can be an approved reason to dip into these savings accounts without paying taxes.

6. Reach Out To Others Through Crowdfunding

For those who have a spread out support system, reaching out through crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe, Indiegogo, and others is a great way to allow others to offer financial assistance. Also, you never know when a kind stranger may help you finance your hearing aids.

Our hearing specialist is committed to helping as many people as possible overcome their hearing difficulties. If you want to work with a professional who will always put your needs first, contact us to consult with our hearing specialist.