Page 33 - Senior Scene April 2018
P. 33

Senior Scene® | April Issue
Many adults have a hard time admitting to hearing loss, but seeking help early can mean the difference between staying connected to family, friends, and the world or suffering the snowball effects of leaving the problem untreated.
The best time to take on hearing loss? Right now.
“Sometimes people feel embarrassed or ashamed about hearing difficulties and try to ignore it or self-manage,” says Dr. Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, and audiologist at EarCare, P.A. in Brevard County, FL. “They don’t necessarily realize that getting help from a hearing care professional is important not only for better hearing but a better quality of life.”
About 48 million Americans have some type of hearing difficulty, according to research led by Johns Hopkins. Left unaddressed, it can lead to other problems such as depression, social withdrawal, balance issues, reduced mobility, and possibly even dementia.
Most hearing loss, however, can be treated with properly fit hearing aids. Today’s technology offers a variety of analog, digital, and wireless options with diverse capabilities and even smartphone and Bluetooth® compatibility. New technology from AGX Hearing, for example, can highlight the dominant voice in a conversation, making listening easier with less effort.
Adults who seek treatment report a better quality of life, including improved physical and mental health, greater social engagement, and other benefits, according to the National Council of Aging. Their family members also report improvements in relationships and more.
It all starts with a hearing test, and what better time than right now? 321-698-1870
Hospital Observation Could Cost You
William A. Johnson, P.A. Elder Law Attorney
Most people assume that when they stay at the hospital for several days that they have been “admitted.” This may not be true. Increasingly, hospitals are keeping patients in “observation” status and not admitting them. Does it really make any difference whether you are admitted or in observation status? The answer may leave you stunned.
If you are not admitted to the hospital and are considered in “observation” status, Medicare treats that as an outpatient service with higher out-of-pocket expenses and entitlement to fewer Medicare coverages. Generally, “observation” status was used for patients not well enough to return home, but also not sick enough to be admitted.
More patients are ending up in “observation” status since Medicare has become stricter regarding who should be admitted. If you are in “observation” status, Medicare does not pay for routine drugs provided by the hospital. A Medicare Part D plan may cover those costs, but not always. Also, if you have not been admitted for a period covering at least three midnights, Medicare will not pick up the costs of rehabilitation at a nursing facility. This alone may cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
How can you tell if you are in observation status? You cannot. The care is basically the same. You must ask the hospital administration. There are Federal rules being developed that will require notification by the hospital of your status. Until then, patients beware!
When’s a Great Time to Tackle Hearing Loss? Now!
Dr. Karen Cowan-Oberbeck Audiologist, EarCare,P.A.
April 2018 | Senior Scene® Magazine | 33

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