Hearing Aids

High-Tech Solutions for Hearing Loss

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Higher Education Opportunities for Students with Hearing Loss

According to the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), approximately 77,000 students between ages 3 and 21 have hearing loss severe enough to qualify them for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Consequently, public schoolchildren with disabilities have the right to special accommodations in elementary through secondary school. Sometimes this results in creating an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP. But what happens after high school?

Hearing loss shouldn’t stand in the way of higher education

Picking among colleges may feel like a daunting task. So if you have aspirations for a degree, remember that you have options. To start, most colleges have departments that help students with needs design solutions. This may be similar to the IEP services you received in high school. If you are returning to college as a non-traditional aged student, it may surprise you how much easier it is to access help today. Remember, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public colleges and universities to offer equal access to all students. While support mechanisms may differ from one school to another, hearing loss should not impede getting an education.

Finding the right fit for students with hearing loss

Colleges and universities must provide appropriate academic adjustments to make sure students are not discriminated against based on disability. However, many programs go beyond that help students to get the most out of their learning experiences. And this includes hearing loss.

Prospective students have to face many choices. Is a large university or a small liberal arts college what you want? Or maybe an urban environment seems like a better fit. Perhaps an enclosed campus feels more at home. In addition, if you have hearing loss, maybe you prefer schools with exceptional accommodations for your needs.

While it may be hard to know where to start, here are a few programs. Most of these schools are especially relevant for students with severe or profound hearing loss:

Pursuing hearing-related research and education

Is audiology your passion? Maybe you want to consider a path researching audiology and hearing loss. Across the country, schools offer programs to train tomorrow’s audiologist. One resource is the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s online directory of higher educational programs in audiology. Most noteworthy, prospective students may apply for scholarships to study audiology.

A few colleges also offer future educators tailored programs for working in deaf education, including a collaboration between Smith College and the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech. In addition, there is the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Center on Deafness. They published a guide for service providers with information that potential students and families might find useful.

Fall is peak season for applying

Most of all, if you are considering programs that start next year, now’s the time to get your ducks in a row. Our staff can discuss the latest in communication-focused technology. Even more, we can advise how to integrate hearing aids in certain learning environments. Finally, contact Gil Poliquin Hearing at (207) 430-3664 today to set up an appointment.

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Caffeine and hearing loss: good news for coffee lovers

It is the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year. Today you have the perfect excuse to treat yourself to an extra cappuccino or a straight shot of espresso. But how does caffeine affect you? In terms of your hearing health, we are pleased to share some good news. Research shows that caffeine from coffee or tea may be connected to lower risks of tinnitus in women and to living longer in healthy adults. So if you ever needed an excuse to drink more coffee, read on.

Research reveals good news for coffee and tea drinkers

According to the American Journal of Medicine1, in a study of more than 65,000 women, caffeine has positive associations with your hearing health. Specifically, over a period of 18 years, women who had higher intakes of caffeine showed lower incidence of tinnitus. In fact, those who drank less than 150 mg (approximately an 8-ounce cup of coffee) a day showed higher rates of tinnitus.

Why is this important?

Tinnitus, a ringing, buzzing or similar noise that individuals hear without anything present producing the sound, can be debilitating. Especially when it presents as a chronic issue. Although some people develop tinnitus after a trauma, for many others the cause is unknown, so preventative measures provide much-needed help.

Too much of a good thing?

But how much caffeine is too much? The study showed that the women who ingested 450 milligrams to 599 milligrams of caffeine daily were 15% less likely to experience hearing loss. Those who consumed more than 600 milligrams were 21% less likely to develop tinnitus. To put it into perspective, to meet the 450-599 mg category, a person would have to consume about four 8-ounce cups of coffee. Casual coffee drinkers are in luck.

Good for your ears – and your heart!

Benefits for coffee lovers do not end with decreased incidence of tinnitus. At a recent meeting of the European Society of Cardiology2, Spanish researchers presented the results of a 10-year study of nearly 20,000 people called the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) Project. The results showed that healthy people who consumed a Mediterranean diet and drank more coffee lived longer. Dr. Adela Navarro, a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, said in presentation, “In the SUN project we found an inverse association between drinking coffee and the risk of all-cause mortality, particularly in people aged 45 years and above. This may be due to a stronger protective association among older participants.”

You may wonder how much coffee is helpful. Dr. Navarro told the audience that drinking four cups of coffee daily is fine for healthy people.

Good for your hearing, good for your heart

Starting tomorrow, the days will get a little bit lighter. Nevertheless, you may still enjoy a second cup of joe without regrets.

If you have concerns about tinnitus, hearing loss or hearing health, make an appointment to speak with our hearing professionals. We have plenty of tips for hearing wellness.

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Do you need a spare pair of hearing aids?

If you currently wear hearing aids, we hope you are enjoying the benefits of optimal hearing with your device. You may not realize it, but you have come to rely heavily on the many ways they enhance your life. Did you ever stop to think what would happen if you lost them or left them at home while traveling? We have the perfect solution … a spare pair of hearing aids!

New advances in technology

The newest hearing devices employ the latest digital technology that include many exciting features and benefits such as:

  • The ability to connect directly to the internet, your smartphone and TV, so you can hear them without struggling
  • The availability of a new rechargeable unit+ that will save you hundreds of dollars on disposable batteries annually
  • The capability for you to listen to multiple speakers, even in noisy environments

With so many recent advances to hearing aid technology, now may be a great time for you to test out the latest state-of-the-art features, including smaller sizes and more subtle designs. No matter what your lifestyle, we now have options for you.

I’m ready for an upgrade, but what should I do with my older hearing aids?

When upgrading a cell phone, people often keep their old phones in case of emergencies like if their new phone breaks or gets lost. The same should hold true for your hearing aids as it is a smart idea to keep a spare pair for an emergency.

And even if you are still unsure about the need for a spare pair, we advise you to consider having us re-calibrate or reprogram your older devices. We know that there is a good chance that your hearing has changed significantly since you purchased them.

Isn’t one pair enough?

Having a spare pair gives you peace of mind in case of emergencies. Our clients find a spare set of hearing aids useful in many circumstances:

  • While traveling
  • At work
  • To store at your vacation home or at a relative’s house if you visit often
  • A “purse pair” – that way you always will have them among your essentials
  • In your safe or a place where you keep valuables

Why have a spare pair?

Just like your eyeglasses or cell phone, it’s a major inconvenience to be without them. They are the tools that keep you connected to the world around you. Besides, unlike a mobile phone or a pair of reading glasses, there is no way to just borrow someone else’s hearing aids in the case of an emergency. Hearing aids are calibrated to your individual needs.

Do you have a relative who may benefit from a spare pair? Hearing devices make a great gift.

Hearing well helps the entire family as it ensures clearer communication and overall understanding. If you have a loved one that “forgets to wear” hearing aids when visiting you, you may want to consider giving the gift of hearing with a set of new hearing aids. This way the older pair can “live” at your house and be ready to aid with your relative’s forgetful habit. We couldn’t think of a better gift that Santa could pull from his bag of toys that would help the whole family enjoy the season.

It all starts with a conversation

Hearing healthcare is important to your overall well-being. That is why we are inviting you to come in for a free hearing assessment*. Let us walk you through the entire process, consult you about your hearing and help you decide if hearing aids are right for you or your loved one. Give us a call today at (207) 430-3664 to get started on the road to optimal hearing.

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Have money left in your FSA? Spend it before it’s too late

If you are an employee with a Flexible Spending Account, you might want to double check your balance. Now may be a smart time to take care of your hearing healthcare needs, especially if you are one of the 48 million Americans1 with hearing loss. You can use your FSA for hearing aids, and if you hurry, you can still purchase with this year’s funds.

Why are FSAs important?

Many employers offer a Flexible Spending Account2 (FSA) as part of their benefits package. Sometimes referred to as a Health Flexible Spending Arrangement, an FSA is an account in which you place pre-tax dollars to cover medical expenses. FSAs save you money by allowing you to withhold pre-tax money from your pay, up to $2,600 per year.

Who can you buy for, and what does it cover?

These funds can be used for yourself, your spouse and your dependents throughout the calendar year. They can be used for:

  • Copayments
  • Deductibles
  • Medical and dental costs
  • Some medicines
  • Other health-related spending, including hearing aids

Why the urgency? Because FSA is “use it or lose it!”

Although you can spend the money on a wide array of medical services, medicines and medical expenses, unfortunately, it is “use it or lose it” money. You must spend the money within the calendar year. Although some programs have a grace period, others require you to spend all dollars by December 31st.

Can I use my FSA spending on my parents’ hearing aids?

Maybe, but only if you claim them as dependents on your tax return. Even if your parents live with you, they may not be your dependents, and therefore you cannot use FSA monies toward their healthcare. The same applies for your children. If you claim them on your taxes, you can cover certain medical expenses using FSA funds.

Looking ahead

Thinking about 2018? If your benefits package offers an FSA program, remember to elect to contribute funds next year. Check your employer’s open enrollment dates. If they are still open and you haven’t taken advantage of this tax savings, it may be the right option for you. Also, if you change jobs, you may be allowed to join outside of the enrollment period.

Don’t have a flexible spending program? We have options, too

Even if you don’t have this option, there are ways to keep hearing aids affordable. CareCredit® is a financing program for health-related costs that may help you pay over time.

Contact us for more information on hearing healthcare

Hearing healthcare is vital to your well-being. Find out if you are a candidate for hearing aids with our free hearing assessment*. Call Gil Poliquin Hearing at (207) 430-3664 to learn more.

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