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Bring your Hearing to the modern era. Enjoy clearer conversations, reduce needless sound, and listen to your favorite songs with the Olive SmartEar Plus. 

The Plus Experience

Bring your Hearing to the modern era. Enjoy clearer conversations, reduce needless sound, and listen to your favorite songs with the Olive SmartEar Plus. 

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Tinnitus App

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The Olive Branch Blog

FDA Releases OTC Hearing Aids Regulations & Guidelines

The FDA has released their proposal for OTC Hearing Hearing Aids. The new regulations will allow for easier access to hearing aids, allowing millions...

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Eliminating hearing aid stigma since 2016.

Olive Union was founded to overcome two major issues with hearing aids: price & social perception.

Our mission is to make hearing for all.

ABOUT US

Eliminating hearing aid stigma since 2016.

Olive Union was founded to overcome two major issues with hearing aids: price & social perception.

Our mission is to make hearing for all.

ABOUT US

The Olive Branch Blog

Medicare Coverage for Hearing Aids

If you’re wondering whether Medicare cover hearing aids and amplifiers (PSAPs), then read on to find out exactly what is - and isn’t - covered. 

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Smartphone Apps for People With Hearing Loss

It seems that nowadays our phones really are capable of anything. This article will introduce you to some of the best smartphone tools and apps for hearing loss.

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What is Mixed Hearing Loss?

There are two general types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and conductive hearing loss. When the two types of hearing loss occur in combination, it’s known as mixed hearing loss. What can you do to treat mixed hearing loss?

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Ear Infections and Hearing Loss

Ear infections are not only extremely painful, but they can cause significant hearing loss. Find out more about their causes, how to minimize the risk of getting them, and the treatments available.

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What Is Congenital Deafness?

Congenital Deafness is deafness that exists even at birth. It's a draining and difficult diagnosis, but there are also options for treatment, and possibly hearing.

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Hearing Aid Payment Plans

While hearing is definitely considered essential and a part of healthcare for everyone. It seems the insurance industry in the US thinks differently. It’s no secret that many health care services are not covered by health insurance including hearing aids.  Hearing aids are no easy investment either, with most hearing aids averaging around $2,000 just […] The post Hearing Aid Payment Plans appeared first on Olive Union.

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Hearing Aid Paymen Plans

While hearing is definitely considered essential and a part of healthcare for everyone. It seems the insurance industry in the US thinks differently. It’s no secret that many health care services are not covered by health insurance including hearing aids. 

Hearing aids are no easy investment either, with most hearing aids averaging around $2,000 just for the device itself. This is without taking into consideration consultation, check-up, fitting, and other service fees that may apply. 

In this article, we are going to cover some hearing aid payment plans you can use to purchase hearing aids. 

Hearing Aid Payment Plans & Other Options

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Insurance

The most obvious method we would hopefully like to pay for hearing aids is with insurance. With hearing being such an essential sense to function daily, it is a wonder why healthcare provided by companies will cover dental, body, and sometimes even mental health insurance, but hearing health is not included. The most included in a check-up is usually a free hearing test. Hopefully, with over-the-counter hearing aids becoming a new alternative option to traditional hearing aids, insurance may start to consider covering additional types of hearing health care services.

Trials

Some companies offer a trial with their hearing aids. This is usually a great way for customers to try a new hearing device and experience firsthand if the device is suitable or satisfactory to their hearing needs without needing to pay for the device in full. As everyone’s hearing and hearing needs are unique, there is no such hearing aid that can help all. Companies that offer trials, usually offer the trial for a low one-time price instead of paying in full for the device upfront and then giving you a 30-day trial period.

We believe that everyone should have the option to see if a product is a right fit for them. This is why we offer a $29 risk-free, 2-week trial at Olive Union for our Olive SmartEar Plus! If you would like more information on our 2-week trial please visit us here or get in touch with one of our customer services representatives at support_us@oliveunion.com!

30/45 Day Guarantee Periods

An option similar but not quite the same as trials is the 30/45 return guarantee period. This requires you to pay for the hearing aid/device up front but guarantees a 100% refund if the customer decides the device is not the right fit or is unsatisfied with the product. This is a standard for most hearing aid companies, especially in the US.

This may not be the most flexible option for those who cannot afford to be without the money they paid upfront. In addition, the uncertainty that the device will even work or satisfy your hearing needs adds another stressor to finding hearing aids that work for you.

FSA/HSA

An alternative to insurance, over-the-counter hearing aids are considered a valid expenditure for these types of accounts. When setting these accounts up, you will need to confirm what expenses can be covered as not all are the same. 

Out-of-pocket/Reimbursement Insurance Plans

Another alternative to traditional insurance services is the out-of-pocket/reimbursement insurance type. This type of insurance has the ability to be more flexible than standard insurance but is quite rare. This type of insurance allows you to pay for health care services yourself and then send an invoice to the insurance company for reimbursement. To see if you qualify for this type of insurance policy, you will need to talk with your insurance company or your employer.

Monthly Hearing Aid Payment Plans

Some companies understand that their technology/devices can be a little on the expensive side for most. This barrier can be taken down by a fixed monthly payment plan. This is a great option for companies and hearing aid retailers looking to expand their customer bases while simultaneously being a great way for more people to afford or try hearing aids. Monthly payment plans can be offered directly with the company itself or through credit card companies.

Upgrade Hearing Aid Plans/Packages

It may not be a solution for the initial purchase. However, upgrade programs/plans can be a great way to provide customers with the latest version of their already expensive devices. This could definitely be an incentive for potential customers/clients to make the investment into a higher-end hearing device if the customer knows they are supported in the future.

Conclusion

These are some common payment options and methods you will see when searching for hearing aid options online. Knowing the various possibilities can help you make an informed decision about a hearing device and the company you are buying it from. Hopefully, in the future, hearing aids will be more affordable and accessible to all!

Resources:

bloomhearing.com

entsalem.com

victoryhearing.com

The post Hearing Aid Payment Plans appeared first on Olive Union.

Dry Ears: Effects, Causes, and Treatment

Everyone has had or dealt with dry skin at some point in their lives. It can be caused by the environment, allergens, lifestyle decisions, and many other varying factors and can be quite a nuisance to deal with, even painful. Similarly, the same can be said for dry ears. Similar to how skin produces oil […] The post Dry Ears: Effects, Causes, and Treatment appeared first on Olive Union.

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Dry Ears

Everyone has had or dealt with dry skin at some point in their lives. It can be caused by the environment, allergens, lifestyle decisions, and many other varying factors and can be quite a nuisance to deal with, even painful. Similarly, the same can be said for dry ears.

Similar to how skin produces oil to keep moisturized, the ear naturally produces ear wax to keep your ears from drying out. Many people see ear wax as unhygienic, but the reality is we need ear wax to maintain a healthy moisturized ear. An overabundance and build-up of ear wax can be problematic, but in some cases, not enough ear wax can lead to dry ears

Similar to dry skin, dry ears are more common than people think and can turn into a real nuisance if left untreated. Let’s explore some basic information about dry ears, the long-term effects, causes, and treatments!

Long-term Effects of Dry Ears

For the most part, having dry ears is something that can be dealt with easily and is quite common. Dry ears are usually not a condition that persists, however, there are many conditions and causes for chronically dry ears that are more common than you think. 

If left untreated, chronically dry ears can lead to crust build-up, infections, oozing fluid/blood/pus, itchiness, redness, irritation, and can even impede your ability to use earphones, hearing aids, hearing enhancers, and even glasses! Overall, it can quite uncomfortable, painful, and, in rare cases, dangerous. For these reasons, it is important to know the possible causes of your ear dryness and the possible treatments/options you have to combat it. 

Dry Ear Causes

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Skin Conditions

One of the more common reasons for dry ears is existing skin conditions. Chances are if you have a skin condition, your ears may be an area that’s affected by it. Here are some of the most common skin conditions that can cause dry ears:

  • Psoriasis: An autoimmune condition that causes skin cells to grow at a faster rate than can be shed; This causes dry scaly red patches often found around the outer ear, neck, and scalp. 
  • Eczema: A common skin condition that causes red, scaly, and itchy patches; The skin is dry and can worsen in dry weather, exacerbating the condition. Typically occurs around/behind your ear, as well as inside the ear canal. This can lead to discharge and crust build-up. 
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: A skin condition that typically affects oily areas of the skin; It will typically occur behind the ears with yellow and white flaky patches of skin. There is still much unknown about what makes this condition occur.

Dehydration

Staying hydrated is important for your health in general! Staying hydrated can prevent your skin from drying out. Especially in dry weather seasons such as Winter, you might find certain parts of your body dry that normally aren’t, ears included. Make sure to drink plenty of water!

Weather

Speaking of Winter, seasons and the general weather can be enough to dry out your ears! Having a moisturizer for certain seasons that naturally dry your skin can go a long way for overall skin health. Weather is also a factor that can induce certain skin conditions or make them worse like Eczema. Cold winds, dry air, and dry heat are all examples of weather that can directly dry out your ears; you can also be sure to add sun exposure to that list of weather conditions to be wary of.

Temperature

Another typical source of dry ears is often temperature. Even if you are aware heat dries out your skin, you might not be aware of just how much you are exposing yourself to drying heat on a daily basis! Having your heater too high or for too long and taking hot showers are also ways that high temperatures can cause your ears to dry. Alternatively, locations that are too cold, have constantly blowing winds, or experience sudden changes in temperature from hot to cold or vice versa can also be the cause of a dried-out ear. 

Smoking

Nicotine is known to impair blood flow by narrowing your blood vessels. This causes oxygen flow to be poor causing your skin, in general, to dry out. If your ears are a particularly dry area for you already, smoking may worsen your condition.

Stress

Stress is just one of those things that can sometimes cause your body to react strangely. Unfortunately, dry mouth, dry skin, and dry ears are all physical reactions one can have to stress. If you are someone who experiences skin or ear dryness when stressed, finding a way to relax and destress (easier said than done, I know!) is essential to prevent recurring or long-term episodes.

Allergens 

Whether they are cosmetic, hygienic, or dietary allergens, allergic reactions are an all too common cause of dry ears. Sometimes the cause of your ear dryness is your favorite shampoo or cologne/perfume. It can even be a lotion/cream you are using. Certain fabrics and metals such as nickel, copper, and cobalt in earrings can cause a reaction. If you notice your dry ear comes suddenly from nowhere and reoccurs for a consistent amount of time, it could be allergy-induced. If you think that is the case, try to take note of what kind of materials or substances you might have ingested, touched, or used when it started!

Treatments

In order to treat your dry ears effectively, identifying the cause is key! However, finding the catalyst can take time and resources through trial and error. Here are some treatments that can be effective:

  • Ointments, Creams, and Eardrops: often used for treating skin conditions such as Psoriasis and Eczema. They combine oil and anti-inflammatory steroids to reduce itching and help restore moisture. Over-the-counter brands are available for purchase in most pharmacies. Hydrocortisone creams and ointments are the most widely used treatments.
  • Lotions: can be used for a cool breezy moisturizing effect, however, because they are water and crystal-based, they need to be applied often. Additionally, they don’t work as well for long-term treatment compared to their oil-based counterparts and are suited more as a preventative than treatment.
  • Humidifiers: If the source of your ear dryness is the dry air itself, a humidifier is a great solution. Alternatively, filling a glass, cup, or bucket with water and keeping it in your room is a makeshift-free and immediate solution! Of course, a humidifier would be most effective.
  • Avoiding Allergens: as mentioned in the section before, taking note if your ear dryness is caused by an allergic reaction is essential for treatment. Discovering and avoiding those substances can be the long-term relief answer you’ve been searching for! Hygiene and cosmetic products are the most likely place you’ll find allergens, but don’t forget to check any earrings or jewelry you wear as well! 

Resources:

www.healthline.com

www.verywellhealth.com

www.medicalnewstoday.com

www.healthline.com/health

my.clevelandclinic.org

medicalnewstoday.com

The post Dry Ears: Effects, Causes, and Treatment appeared first on Olive Union.

FDA Releases OTC Hearing Aids Regulations & Guidelines

The FDA has released its proposal for OTC Hearing Hearing Aids. The new regulations will allow for easier access to hearing aids, allowing millions... The post FDA Releases OTC Hearing Aids Regulations & Guidelines appeared first on Olive Union.

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OTC Hearing Aids Buy Online

Better late than never! Originally signed by President Donald Trump in 2017, on October 19th, 2021, the FDA finally publicly issued its proposal regarding OTC Hearing Aids. This proposal will stay for 90 days to allow public discourse before then continuing the process to be finalized.

These announced guidelines for OTC hearing aids are set to revolutionize the hearing industry in the United States and bring millions of people long-awaited access to hearing.


What are OTC Hearing Aids? Who Are They For?


OTC hearing aids will be a completely new category of hearing aids, separate from the current hearing aids available today. They will serve the same function and purpose as current hearing aids; acting as devices that amplify sounds and for those with hearing loss to better hear and participate in conversations, activities, and daily activities.

As the name suggests these will be available “over the counter” or online for direct purchase; no prescription or type of doctor/health professional visit is required. OTC hearing aids will mainly target individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. Those with profound or severe hearing loss will still need a prescription and specialized hearing aids from an audiologist/hearing specialist.

Currently, the market is rife with PSAP; Personal Sound Amplification Products. While PSAPs do amplify sounds, they are strictly different from hearing aids in several ways; most importantly they are not medical devices, not FDA regulated, and are not intended for use by those with hearing loss.

These new OTC regulations look to clearly define the differences between PSAP and hearing aids, allowing consumers to best choose the devices that best fit their specific situation. 

Since these new OTC Hearing Aids are purchasable without the assistance/aid of an audiologist, they will be self-fittable and are likely to be self-controllable/adjustable as well!  

As these new OTC Hearing Aids are designed for those with mild to moderate hearing loss, if you experience one or many of the following signs then you may be a prime target for these new devices. 

  • Difficulty hearing soft sounds, such as whispers or a gentle stream.
  • Television volume levels turned up to levels uncomfortable for others. 
  • Speech comprehension can become difficult when background noise is added or in noisy environments like a crowded cafe.
  • Requesting others to speak more slowly and loudly during conversations.


What Are The New Regulations?


These new OTC regulations aim to not revise the current hearing aid category but to create a completely different one. With the creation of these regulations, there will be 3 distinct categories of hearing devices, each providing its specific niche and purpose.

These three categories will be prescription hearing aids, OTC hearing aids, and PSAPs. 

The newest category, the OTC, will be widely available. You will be able to pick them up directly from stores or online. Some of the key aspects are as follows:

  • They will be classified as medical devices by the FDA
  • They will be subject to FDA safety regulations
  • They will have defined maximum volume output settings, design requirements, latency limits, warnings on the boxes, and other requirements to ensure safe usage and design. 
  • These devices will be available for individuals 18 years and older only; hearing aids for users younger than age 18 would be prescription devices only.
  • They are designed for mild to moderate hearing loss; those with severe or profound will still likely need a prescription and hearing aid from an audiologist/health specialist. 

The FDA promises to closely monitor the market and this new category to ensure that the products sold are safe and effective.

Furthermore, the FDA plans to revise the current hearing aid regulatory framework to allow harmonization together with this new OTA category. To read the full documents yourself, click the link below:

FDA OTC Hearing Aids Proposed Rule

PSAPs will be for those without any hearing loss but need a boost to assist with certain activities; some common uses include bird watching and listening to lectures in a large room. 

Hearing aids will see no direct changes, but you can expect there to be some indirect ones as a result of these new OTC regulations. For example, current hearing aids for those with mild-moderate hearing loss are still designed with an audiologist in mind; that means visiting them for the hearing test, purchasing through them, fitting & setting up the hearing aid, and returning for routine maintenance and check-ups.

Will these devices continue to sell and operate in this manner? Or will the slew of new cheaper, easier to access, and still FDA-regulated options make them a thing of the past? 

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Why Is This Such a Big Deal?


According to the FDA themselves, an estimated 30 million people in the United States suffer from hearing loss. Despite this, only about one in 5 people who could benefit from a hearing aid use one. That’s 24 million people suffering from addressable hearing loss! 

Despite these numbers, hearing aids face many barriers and hurdles that keep them from being widely accepted; their lack of accessibility (requiring a prescription/recommendation from an audiologist/hearing specialist), high cost (on average $2,000 per pair!), and the social stigma surrounding hearing loss & hearing aids among others.

OTC hearing aids look to address two of these barriers directly – accessibility and price. As hearing aids become more widespread and enter public perception, the acceptance of hearing loss and hearing aids as something just as normal as glasses will be sure to come. 

As Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra states, “today’s move by FDA takes us one step closer to the goal of making hearing aids more accessible and affordable for the tens of millions of people who experience mild to moderate hearing loss.”

Olive Union Is Here To Change Everything

Olive Pro Conversation


At Olive Union, we aim to remove existing barriers and help create affordable, attractive, and accessible hearing options. Hearing is something we believe everyone should be able to enjoy; your favorite songs, a loved one’s laugh, and conversations with friends are all priceless experiences. 

With the Olive Pro, we took our first step by creating the first 2-in-1 Hearing Bluetooth Earbud. These new OTC Guidelines are set to change the market, and we can’t wait. Olive Union plans to be right at the forefront during this exciting period; we’re hard at work even as we speak! 

Stay up to date on Olive Union news & products by joining our Waitlist and subscribing to the Olive Branch Newsletter at the bottom of the page!
 
 
The information in this guide has been written using the following reliable sources:

https://www.fda.govhttps://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2021-22473.pdfhttps://www.nidcd.nih.gov
 
 
 

 

The post FDA Releases OTC Hearing Aids Regulations & Guidelines appeared first on Olive Union.

5 Great Jobs For Those With Hearing Loss

Web designer is a particularly accessible job for the hearing impaired as well, because most of the communication involved tends to be digital. Salary... The post 5 Great Jobs For Those With Hearing Loss appeared first on Olive Union.

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laptop jobs for hearing loss

One of the unfortunate consequences of hearing loss that doesn’t generate enough discussion is that it can make it difficult to work in certain professions; jobs such as construction or administrative work with heavy phone usage can be difficult for those with hearing loss.

The hope, of course, is that this won’t be the case for very much longer. Improvements in hearing aid technology, alternative hearing devices becoming available, and meaningful advancements in medical treatments are painting a brighter future for those suffering with hearing loss.

A Johns Hopkins professor discussing drug treatments for hearing impairment was quoted in an article in 2019 suggesting that the potential to treat underlying causes — not just symptoms — is “phenomenal.”

That’s promising to hear, but until then, hearing loss can still limit professional opportunities to some extent. What’s more helpful than focusing on those limitations, however, is considering which jobs work well for people who struggle significantly with their hearing.

And the good news is that there are several quality, rewarding jobs for people with hearing loss that come to mind.

Teacher

teacher jobs for hearing loss

Teaching is a broad category, but what we’re referring to primarily here is the opportunity that hearing-impaired individuals have to teach children with similar special needs.

Kids in this situation can struggle to relate to other students or teachers, who often don’t have the necessary teaching or training experience. If you know what it’s like to be unable to hear or confidently express verbal communication, however, you may be in a unique position to help children.

Through both general teaching and instruction specific to hearing impairment (such as working on sign language), you can make a big difference and establish a fine career in the process.

 

Web Designer

 

Web design has been an appealing profession for many for a long time now, and it’s not difficult to see why. For one thing, there is always demand. As a Lifewire write-up on web design put it, every organization “from large corporations to small non-profits” needs a website (and possibly an app as well).

Additionally, the same write-up noted that the high-end salary for a web designer, as of 2018, was about $125k. Constant demand, good pay, and the chance to work creatively will certainly appeal to a lot of people.

It’s a particularly accessible job for the hearing impaired as well, because most of the communication involved tends to be digital.

 

Accountant

Accountant jobs for hearing loss

One perk that web design and accounting actually share is that people aspiring to have careers in these areas can do much of the work online. Internet courses are widely available in both disciplines, and are of course quite accessible to those who struggle with hearing.

Also similar is the demand in both fields. Numbers quoted in a Maryville University rundown of the online bachelors in accounting suggest a median salary of about $72k (similar to the median for web design), with significant growth projected in the coming years. Thus, we have another accessible, in-demand, well-paying job that hearing-impaired individuals can perform with relatively little difficulty.

 

Doctor

 

Various careers in medicine can be perfectly fitting as well. Of course, there are some difficulties that come into play. Assistance from materials like specialized stethoscopes can be necessary in day-to-day practice, and it’s certainly the case that some communications with patients can be challenging.

But there are still opportunities for people with hearing impairment to become doctors, and there are few professions as stable or as rewarding.

 

Data Analyst

data analyst jobs for hearing loss

Data analysis has been one of the trendier up-and-coming professions of the last decade, and demand isn’t slowing down yet.

Jobs in this field can differ from one another according to specific company needs, but typically they require only that you have sharp math skills and familiarity with programs that help to gather and organize data.

There is no reason for someone with hearing loss to have particular difficulty in this field, and it’s a field in which you can find high-paid and rewarding work helping a given organization to capitalize on its data and optimize performance.

 

In Conclusion…

 

While these are just a handful of many jobs accessible to people with hearing loss, they do represent some particularly strong opportunities! Whether you’re looking for a career change or figuring out what your first career will be, these are a few of the jobs that you should definitely keep in mind.

Additionally, we’d add that you should always keep your eyes open for new opportunities. As we alluded to above, options for managing and even treating hearing loss have been improving rapidly over the last decade.

This is improving many people’s ability to live with hearing loss on a day-to-day basis, and it is going to open more doors to more employment opportunities as well.

The future is bright, and the options are only going to diversify and improve from here!

 

This guest article was specially written for OliveUnion.com

 

 

The post 5 Great Jobs For Those With Hearing Loss appeared first on Olive Union.

Hearing Aids

At Olive Union, we aim to change social perception around hearing aids & hearing loss, and remove existing barriers for people to improve their every day life – one ear at a time. Whether you pick up one of our Hearing Devices or another brands, it’s important for your hearing health and safety you know […] The post Hearing Aids appeared first on Olive Union.

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Olive Pro: 2-in-1 Hearing Aids & Bluetooth Earbuds Facebook Ad

At Olive Union, we aim to change social perception around hearing aids & hearing loss, and remove existing barriers for people to improve their every day life – one ear at a time. Whether you pick up one of our Hearing Devices or another brands, it’s important for your hearing health and safety you know as much as you can before making that purchase.

Whether you have questions about the price of hearing aids, the different styles of hearing aids, where to purchase hearing aids, whatever it is; we want to make sure you’re well informed and ready.

Check out some of our many articles about hearing aids today, and leave a hearing aid expert.

 

 

 

The post Hearing Aids appeared first on Olive Union.

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