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Using That Tax Refund on Yourself Can be a “Sound” Investment

Zounds-Westfield Sponsoring Free Hearing Screenings During May

Federal tax refunds averaged $2,803 in 2012, according to the IRS, and should be close to that for 2013 filers.  It’s a potential windfall of cash just in time for summer vacations.  But instead of getting away for a week, it might pay greater dividends to invest in your own well being.

According to Dr. Justin Lipp, an audiologist with Zounds Hearing in the Greater Westfield area, “many people don’t acknowledge potential hearing loss, or postpone getting their hearing evaluated for as many as seven years once they notice symptoms. The reasons include simple denial, cosmetics, and concern about cost.  Most insurances, including Medicare, do not cover the cost of hearing aids.”

“Using a tax return to acquire medical devices, like hearing aids, is an intelligent use of your annual refund because not only are you improving your quality of life, but the cost can count toward your medical deduction threshold on next year’s tax return,” says David Ratzker, owner of Zounds Westfield and a former investment professional.

The first step in the process is a complete hearing evaluation. An evaluation is especially important if you’ve noticed a decline in your ability to understand conversations, discern spoken words against background noises, or hear a television broadcast at an appropriate volume.

“It’s never too early to be evaluated for hearing loss, especially if you have noticed any change in how you perceive the loudness or clarity of sounds,” says Dr. Lipp. 

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, more than 36 million people in the U.S. have some hearing loss, but only one out of five people who need hearing aids use them.  

A recent study performed by Dr. Frank Lin, M.D., out of John Hopkins University highlights brain shrinkage as the latest in a list of health problems associated with hearing loss. “If you want to address hearing loss well, you want to do it sooner rather than later,” Lin said. “If hearing loss is potentially contributing to these differences we’re seeing on MRIs, you want to treat it before these brain structural changes take place.”

Because May is National Better Hearing Month, Dr. Lipp and Zounds Hearing will conduct free hearing screenings on site at Zounds’ location, 1943 Route 22, Scotch Plains, by appointment for the entire month.  They will also offer free hearing screenings May 12th  and May 19th  at Walgreens, 1311 Morris Avenue, Union, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  The process takes just a few minutes, and is open to any age group, no appointment necessary.  Results and recommendations for next steps will be provided on site.

For more information on the screenings, visit http://www.zoundshearing.com/westfield, or call 908-280-0479.  

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