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2020 Oticon hearing aids available in Bristol

2020 Oticon hearing aids available in Bristol

2020 Oticon hearing aids available in Bristol at the Keynsham hearing centre near near Bath

Oticon hearing products are at the vanguard of hearing technology. Their hearing aids really are at the cutting edge of what is available today that can help anyone with hearing loss. We at the Keynsham Hearing Centre are proud to offer Oticon hearing aids and would be very happy to advise which type & model would suit your hearing loss. We also stock and procure the top world wide manufacturers of hearing aids and hearing products. We are not tied to sell one main manufacturers hearing aids.

As an independent hearing company and not tied to any manufacturer, we will only advise what hearing aid is best suited to your hearing loss and budget. Be assured we only have your hearing in mind, and not a target to sell so many hearing aids per month.

If you feel you may need a hearing test we offer appointments throughout the day and week. Please call to make a hearing appointment or ear wax removal appointment.

Keynhsam Hearing News

Oticon Xceed and RemoteCare Named as Honourees in CES 2020 Innovation Awards

Oticon Xceed with ON app, Keynsham hearing centre near Bath and Bristol

Oticon announced that the Consumer Electronics Association (CES) has named Oticon Xceed and Oticon RemoteCare as honourees in the CES 2020 Innovation Awards. The international awards program annually selects the best of the best in consumer electronics. Oticon Xceed, said to be “the world’s most powerful hearing aid,” earned honours in the Health & Wellness category.  Oticon RemoteCare, a new e-health solution that will help enable hearing care professionals to provide aftercare service to their patients (to be released in 2020), was honoured in the Tech for a Better World category.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Oticon has been recognised by this international awards program.  The two newest awards bring to 10 the number of times Oticon has received CES Innovation Awards, including three top-ranked Best of Innovation category wins.

“We are extremely proud to have Oticon Xceed and Oticon RemoteCare honoured by the Consumer Electronics Association,” said Oticon President Gary Rosenblum. “Our ability to consistently stand out in a competition that includes some of the world’s most cutting-edge consumer technology products and services underscores Oticon’s commitment to develop hearing technology that makes a real difference in people’s lives.”

Bath hearing centre 

Oticon Xceed features a new approach to hearing care for individuals with severe-to-profound hearing loss that is said to help deliver better speech clarity and better short-term recall while reducing the listening effort this patient population struggles with in most situations every day.

Keynsham hearing centre near Bath and Bristol

Oticon Xceed

According to Oticon, Xceed is the “first super- and ultra-power hearing aid with OpenSound Navigator and OpenSound Optimiser, BrainHearing technologies that support more access to speech.” The technology in Xceed reportedly “empowers hearing care professionals to deliver industry-leading optimal output and gain—146dB SPL and 87 dB full on gain—without the high risk of feedback.”

Convenient Follow-up Care Benefits Practitioner and Patient

When launched in 2020, Oticon says its RemoteCare will “facilitate easier access to the personalised care that qualified hearing care practitioners provide and that hearing aid wearers require,” helping to allow hearing care professionals to provide optimal support for their patients at a mutually convenient time. RemoteCare will also help provide hearing care professionals and patients with easy access to follow-up appointments, especially convenient during the first days and weeks with new hearing aids. The Oticon RemoteCare App also helps enables data communication between the users’ hearing aids and the hearing care professional via a stable Internet connection, the company says. Hearing care practitioners can help make necessary adjustments in real time—just as if the patient was in the clinic—and receive immediate feedback.

Bristol hearing centre

“By providing a global showcase for our newest hearing technology, prestigious awards like the CES Innovation Awards help us to show the world the wide-ranging possibilities of modern hearing technology to improve not only hearing, but quality of life,” said Rosenblum.

To learn more about Oticon Xceed, visit: www.oticon.com/xceed.  For more information on the comprehensive Oticon product portfolio, visit: www.oticon.com.

Source: Oticon

Images: Oticon

Starkey hearing aids

Starkey hearing aids, Stephen Neal Hearing

 

We sell and dispense all types of hearing aids at the Keynsham hearing centre run by Stephen Neal . One of the big guns is Starkey. Recently they announced a new innovation for their Live Ai hearing aids. It now comes with fall detection, meaning it will detect if you have a fall and if you are paired with your phone it will message up to 3 contacts  that you have specified before hand.

Read the full press statement bellow for more info, or if you are interested in knowing more please pop in or make an appointment so we can walk you through the new hearing aid and it’s features.

 

Stephen Neal hearing news:

Starkey Releases World’s First Hearing Aid with Fall Detection and Alerts to Livio AI Users

balance problems increase risk for fallsStarkey Hearing Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn, has released its new Fall Detection and Alert feature in Livio AI hearing aids to a limited number of hearing professionals, and plans to offer the feature to all dispensing professionals and their clients in late February, according to CTO Achin Bhowmik, PhD, in an interview with Hearing Review on Tuesday, December 18. Using integrated sensors, the Fall Detection and Alert feature is designed to automatically detect falls and send messages to as many as three contacts.

Fall detection sensors are currently implemented in all Livio AI devices as part of its standard hardware platform, and Starkey has been working on the Fall Alert feature to maximize its utility for end users prior to the system’s widespread implementation.

Falls are a massive public health problem, particularly for older adults. It’s estimated that injuries due to falls will account for $67.7 billion in public health spending by 2020, and according to the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) falls are currently responsible for an older adult being admitted to a US emergency room every 11 seconds. Additionally, people with hearing loss are particularly susceptible to falls. A Johns Hopkins study suggests that having hearing loss triples the risk of falls for people age 40 and older—and the findings hold up regardless of whether their hearing loss is moderate or severe.

StarkeyFallsInfoGraphic

How Starkey Fall Detection and Alerts work. Starkey’s new Fall Detection system is said to have several benefits over existing stand-alone medical alert systems, which are typically attached to a lanyard around the neck. “The first key advantage is that a hearing aid is almost always in your ear during your active hours, making for one less thing to carry or remember. One of the major problems with medical alert systems is getting people to wear them,” says Bhowmik. “Second, we have two fall detection sensors [in binaural fittings] for the right side and the left side, whereas most fall detection systems have only one. And the way the two sensors are spaced apart and the way in which you hold your head, we can get better and more accurate results than neck-worn sensors designed to detect falls.”

Starkey CTO Achin Bhowmik spoke about the possibility of fall detection and other sensor-based capabilities at the 2018 Starkey Expo held in January.

Starkey CTO Achin Bhowmik spoke about the possibility of fall detection and other sensor-based capabilities at the 2018 Starkey Expo held in January.

According to Bhowmik, part of Starkey’s recent research has revolved around what constitutes an actual fall as opposed false-positives such as quick downward movements or even accidentally dropping the hearing aid. “If you take the hearing aid off your ear and drop it on the ground, you will not get a false-positive for falling with Livio AI,” says Bhowmik. “We have been working on [eliminating false-positives] for over a year. A good AI system is only as good as the data you train the system with. In this particular case, if the left hearing aid detects a fall, it immediately checks with the right hearing aid to see if the data matches what would indicate a fall for the system. Unless it detects a fall from the hearing aids in tandem for both the right and left sides of the head, the device will eliminate those non-fall events and false-positives.”

Starkey Livio AI hearing aid

Starkey Livio AI hearing aid.

The hearing care professional will be able to activate Fall Detection and Alerts through an easy-to-use interface within the fitting software for Starkey’s Livio AI hearing aids. The user can then enter the Auto Alert contacts—up to three people who are to be alerted in the event of a fall within the Thrive Hearing App. When a fall is detected by the system, an audio prompt asks the user if they have fallen. He or she then has 60 seconds to provide an Event Cancellation and stop the outgoing Fall Alert messages from being sent to their designated contacts. If the hearing aid user has fallen and elects to send the Fall Alert message to his/her contacts, they receive confirmation when each contact has been successfully reached.

The system also allows for a Manual Alert which can be activated by simply pressing the hearing aid button, sending an alert for a fall or non-fall related event. “Maybe you didn’t fall, but instead just felt dizzy or were otherwise forced to sit down on the floor,” explains Bhowmik. “Obviously, this is not a fall. But you can still use the Manual Alert to get help when you need it. By tapping a button, you can send an automatic alert to your contacts, telling them you need assistance.”

This is just another step in the direction of making the hearing aid a multi-purpose, multi-functional device, according to Starkey.

To learn more about Starkey’s Livio AI you can visit: https://www.starkey.com/hearing-aids/technologies/livio-artificial-intelligence-hearing-aids

 

Frome ear syringing available now!

Frome ear syringing available now!

If you are not as close to Keynsham as to Devizes we would recommend our sister company

Wiltshire ear clinic 

 

Frome ear syringing or ear wax removal. The Keynsham hearing centre is an independent hearing centre run by Stephen Neal and Anita Neal and are based in Keynsham near Bath.  Just a short drive and you can get an earlier appointment for your ear wax removal or your hearing test. Keynsham hearing are also a major Somerset centre for the latest DIGITAL hearing aids. If you are suffering with hearing loss and need impartial expert advice them please call Anita on reception to book your appointment to speak with Stephen.

Watch our ear wax removal video here.

 

Stephen Neal News:

 

A New Enhanced Operating System in Phonak Hearing Aids: AutoSense OS 3.0

Original story by The Hearing Review

Tech Topic | February 2019 Hearing Review

A review of the rationale for and enhanced features in AutoSense OS 3.0  with binaural signal processing, and how the new system is designed to achieve the most appropriate settings for the wearer, optimizing hearing performance in all listening environments, including media steaming.

It can be challenging to hear, understand, and actively engage in conversation in today’s fast-paced and “acoustically dynamic” world, especially for a listener with hearing loss. The Phonak automatic program has been designed to adapt seamlessly, based on the acoustic characteristics of the present environment and the benefit for clients.

Ear wax removal Frome

AutoSense OS™ 3.0 is the enhanced automatic operating system in Phonak Marvel™ hearing aids. It has been optimized to recognize additional sound environments for even more precise classification, applying dual path compression, vent loss compensation, and a new first-fit algorithm. In combination, these new enhancements to the Phonak automatic classification system ensure that the listener gains access to speech clarity and quality of sound irrespective of the environment, enabling them to actively participate in everyday life.

Optimal sound quality in every listening environment for listeners with hearing loss is always the goal of hearing aid manufacturers and hearing care professionals alike. As pointed out by MarkeTrak, “Hearing well in a variety of listening situations is rated as highly important to hearing aid wearers and has a direct impact on the satisfaction of hearing aid use throughout daily tasks and listening environments.”1

Without conscious effort, humans naturally classify audio signals throughout each day. For example, we recognize a voice on the telephone, or tell the difference between a telephone ring versus a doorbell ring. For the most part, this type of classification task does not pose a significant challenge; however, problems may arise when the sound is soft, when there is competing noise, or when the sounds are very similar in acoustical nature. Of course, these tasks become even more difficult in the presence of a hearing loss, and hence, great strides have been made in hearing instrument technology to incorporate classification capabilities within the automatic program.

Technology Evolution

In previous years, the sound processing of hearing aids was limited to a single amplification setting used for all situations. However, since the soundscape around us is dynamic—with frequent acoustical changes in the environment—it is unrealistic for a hearing aid with only one amplification setting to deliver maximum benefit in every environment. The evolution of hearing aids has seen the introduction of sound-cleaning features, such as noise cancellation, dereverberation, wind noise suppression, feedback cancellation, and directionality. These features offer maximum benefit to overall sound quality and speech intelligibility when they are appropriately applied, based on analysis of the sound environment.

Rather than having these sound-cleaning features permanently activated, their impact is greatest when they are applied selectively. For example, a wearer may not hear oncoming traffic if noise cancellation is permanently suppressing sound from all directions. Thus, defaults are set in the system for different environments.

Frome hearing aid centre

Of course, the possibility exists to add manual programs to accommodate acoustic characteristics of specific listening environments (eg, an “everyday” program with an omnidirectional microphone enabled and a “noise” program with a directional microphone enabled). However, having several manual programs increases the complexity for the hearing aid wearer. Research data shows the increasing preference of wearers for automatically adaptive sound settings over manual programs for different environments,and this is further confirmed by data-logging statistics which reveal a decline in manually added programs with the launch of newer technology platforms (Figure 1).3

Figure 1. Market research data from Phonak in 2017: Percentage of fittings with manual programs at 2nd session across hearing aid platforms Spice/Spice+, Quest, Venture, and Belong (n = 183,331).

Figure 1. Market research data from Phonak in 2017: Percentage of fittings with manual programs at 2nd session across hearing aid platforms Spice/Spice+, Quest, Venture, and Belong (n = 183,331).

Results of studies focusing specifically on speech intelligibility demonstrate that the majority of participants achieve a 20% improvement in speech understanding while listening in AutoSense OS than in a “preferred” manual program across a wide variety of listening environments, suggesting that manual programs may not always be appropriately or accurately selected.Even more interesting is the fact that users rate sound quality as being equal between the automatic and manual programs.According to this same research from Searchfield et al,a possible explanation may be that the practical application of selection relies on the wearer’s manual dexterity, normal cognition, noticeable benefit, and motivation levels. Furthermore, their research confirms a bias towards selection of the first program in the setup—whether or not this would be considered “audiologically” optimal.

Having an automatic program which can seamlessly adjust to select the most appropriate settings in any environment therefore saves both the client and the hearing care professional effort, time, and hassle.

First-generation AutoSense OS™

When Phonak AutoSense OS was originally developed, data from several sound scenes was recorded and used to “train” the system to identify acoustic characteristics and patterns. These characteristics include level differences, estimated signal-to-noise ratios  (SNRs), and synchrony of temporal onsets across frequency bands, as well as amplitude and spectrum information. Probabilities of the degree of match between “trained” versus “identified” acoustic parameters in real time are then calculated for the most optimal selection of sound settings in each environment. There are seven sound classes: Calm Situation, Speech in Noise, Speech in Loud Noise, Speech in Car, Comfort in Noise, Comfort in Echo, and Music. Three of the programs—Speech in Loud Noise, Music, and Speech in Car—are considered “exclusive classes” (ie, stand-alone) while the other four programs can be activated as a blend when it is not possible to define complex, real-world environments by one acoustic classification. For example, Comfort in Echo and Calm Situation can be blended with respect to how much each of these classifications are detected in the environment.

Enhanced Benefits for Wearers

With AutoSense OS 3.0, Phonak has gone a step further and incorporated data from even more sound scenes for the classes Calm Situation, Speech in Noise, and Noise into the training for additional system robustness. Enabling the desired signal processing is the goal of automatic classification, so to support the wearer’s understanding in speech-in- noise situations, the program Speech in Noise is activated even earlier than before.

Ear syringing Frome, Somerset

AutoSense OS 3.0 is the foundation for steering the signal processing and applying the most appropriate setting for the wearer based on the acoustics present in the environment. Refinements to the audiological settings within this are always sought to further enhance the user experience, and the improvements occur in different areas of the signal processing.

In order to maintain the natural modulations of speech in noise as well as streamed media, dual path compression is available and activated based on the listening environment. This allows temporal and spectral cues in speech to be more easily identified and used by the wearer.6

It is known that a full and rich sound is preferred by wearers while streaming audio, so the system enhances the sound quality of streamed audio signals by increasing the vent loss gain compensation. The result is an increase in low-frequency gain by up to 35 dB, which is especially beneficial to overcome the vent loss of a receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid, most likely to be fitted with an open coupling (depending on the hearing loss and/or client comfort). This low-frequency “boost” is applied to streamed signals (or any other alternative input source, including a telecoil), while inputs received directly to the hearing aid microphones remain uncompromised, maintaining the frequency response of a Calm situation.

The Adaptive Phonak Digital (APD) algorithm has also been enhanced for spontaneous first-fit acceptance. The gain for first-time wearers fitted to an adaptation level of 80% has been softened for frequencies above 3000 Hz to reduce reported shrillness, but without compromising speech intelligibility. The desired effect of this is that the wearer experiences a comfortable and clear sound quality from the outset.7

New Classification of Media Signals 

Listening to music and enjoying it is achieved by an alternate setting that is used to attain optimal speech understanding. In an internal study conducted at the Phonak Audiology Research Center (PARC), participants emphasized their preferences for clarity of speech for dialogue-dominated sound samples and sound quality for music-dominated samples (C Jones, unpublished data, “Preferred settings for varying streaming media types,” 2017). This preference applies not only in the acoustic environment where signals reach the hearing instrument microphones directly, but also for streamed media inputs via the Phonak TV Connector or Bluetooth connection to a mobile device.

Phonak Audéo Marvel with AutoSense OS 3.0 now incorporates streamed inputs into the automatic classification process offering the wearer speech clarity as well as an optimal music experience. A recent study conducted at DELTA SenseLab in Denmark confirmed that the new Audéo Marvel, in combination with the TV Connector, is rated by wearers as close to their defined ideal profile of sound attributes for streamed media across a range of samples including, speech, speech in noise, music, and sport (Figure 2). The Audéo Marvel streaming solution was also rated among the top streaming solutions across 7 competitor solutions.This confirms that the way in which the classifier now categorizes streamed media into the sound classes “Speech” versus “Music” is yet another way in which the system provides ideal hearing performance for wearers in their everyday lives.

Figure 2. Sound attributes plot for Ideal profile (in gray) & AutoSense OS 3.0 in Phonak Audéo Marvel with TV Connector (in green).

Figure 2. Sound attributes plot for Ideal profile (in gray) & AutoSense OS 3.0 in Phonak Audéo Marvel with TV Connector (in green).

Binaural VoiceStream Technology

The Binaural VoiceStream Technology™ has been reintroduced within AutoSense OS 3.0. This technology facilitates binaural signal processing, such as binaural beamforming, and enables programs and features such as Speech in Loud Noise (when StereoZoom™ is activated), Speech in 360°, and DuoPhone. StereoZoom uses 4 wirelessly connected microphones to create a narrow beam towards the front, for access to speech in especially loud background noise. We know that the ability to stream the full audio bandwidth in real time and bidirectionally across both ears improves speech understanding and reduces listening effort in challenging listening situations.This reduction in listening effort, and consequently, memory effort, has been demonstrated in recent studies employing electrophysiological measures, such as electroencephalography (EEG), where significantly reduced Alpha-wave brain activity is noted when listening with StereoZoom compared to listening with more open approaches of directionality.10 When we consider this in terms of the “Limited Resources Theory” described in psychology by Kahneman11(ie, that the brain operates on a limited number of neural resources), it highlights that efficiencies in sensory processing, through use of such advanced signal processing, may serve to free up resources to benefit higher cognitive processing for the wearer.

Taking this a step further to look into behavioral patterns of speakers and listeners with hearing loss in a typical group communication scenario in the real world, methods such as video and communication analyses have been used effectively. Changes in behavior when listening with StereoZoom versus traditional fixed directional technologies have been compared and correlated with subjective ratings of listening effort. StereoZoom has been shown to increase communication participation by 15%, and decrease listening effort by 15% relative to the fixed directional condition.12

Summary

The ability of a hearing instrument to offer acceptable “hands-free” listening by automatically adapting to multiple situations increases the adoption rate of the instrument.The enhanced AutoSense OS 3.0, with binaural signal processing, achieves this by selecting the most appropriate settings for the wearer, optimizing hearing performance in all listening environments, and now during media streaming, too. The wearer is freed from expending energy on effortful listening and can focus their enjoyment instead on tasks which are more meaningful to them, confident in the knowledge that their hearing instruments will automatically take care of the rest.

Screen Shot 2019-01-21 at 11.35.38 AM


Correspondence
 can be addressed to Tania Rodrigues at: tania.rodrigues@phonak.com

Citation for this article: Rodrigues T. A new enhanced operating system in Phonak hearing aids: AutoSense OS 3.0. Hearing Review. 2019;26(2)[Feb]:22-26.

References 

  1. Kochkin S. MarkeTrak VIII: Consumer satisfaction with hearing aids is slowly increasing. Hear Jour. 2010;63(1):19-32.

  2. Rakita L; Phonak. AutoSense OS: Hearing well in every listening environment has never been easier. https://www.phonakpro.com/content/dam/phonakpro/gc_hq/en/resources/evidence/white_paper/documents/insight_btb_autosense-os_belong_s3_028-1585.pdf Published August 2016.

  3. Überlacker E, Tchorz J, Latzel M. Automatic classification of acoustic situation versus manual selection. Hörakustik. 2015.

  4. Rakita L, Jones C. Performance and preference of an automatic hearing aid system in real-world listening environments. Hearing Review. 2015;22(12):28-34.

  5. Searchfield GD, Linford T, Kobayashi K, Crowhen D, Latzel M.  The performance of an automatic acoustic-based program classifier compared to hearing aid users’ manual selection of listening programs. Int J Audiol. 2017;57(3):201-212.

  6. Gatehouse S, Naylor G, Elberling C. Linear and nonlinear hearing aid fittings-1.Patterns of benefit. Int J Audiol. 2006;45(3):130–152.

  7. Jansen S, Woodward J; Phonak. Love at first sound: The new Phonak precalculation. https://www.phonakpro.com/content/dam/phonakpro/gc_hq/en/resources/evidence/white_paper/documents/insight_btb_marvel_precalculation_season4_2018_028-1931.pdf. Published July 2018.

  8. Legarth S, Latzel M; Phonak. Benchmark evaluation of hearing aid media streamers. DELTA SenseLab, Force Technology. www.phonakpro.com/evidence

  9. Winneke A, Appell J, De Vos M, et al. Reduction of listening effort with binaural algorithms in hearing aids: An EEG study. Poster presented at: The 43rd Annual Scientific and Technology Conference of the American Auditory Society; March 3-5, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ.

  10. Winneke A, Latzel M, Appleton-Huber J; Phonak. Less listening- and memory effort in noisy situations with StereoZoom. https://www.phonakpro.com/content/dam/phonakpro/gc_hq/en/resources/evidence/field_studies/documents/fsn_stereozoom_eeg_less_listening_effort.pdf. Published July 2018.

  11. Kahneman D. Attention and Effort.Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc;1973.

  12. Schulte M, Meis M, Krüger M, Latzel M, Appleton-Huber J; Phonak. Significant increase in the amount of social interaction when using StereoZoom. https://www.phonakpro.com/content/dam/phonakpro/gc_hq/en/resources/evidence/field_studies/documents/fsn_increased_social_interaction_stereozoom_gb.pdf. Published September 2018.

 

 

Hearing aids Keynsham Somerset

Hearing aids Keynsham Somerset

 

Hearing aids & Ear wax removal Somerset

Hearing aids in Somerset at the Keynsham hearing centre. We are a family owned truly independent hearing centre based in Keynsham Somerset.

We supply and fit the very latest digital hearing aids from all the leading hearing aids manufacturers. We also conduct ear wax removal using Microsuction and the traditional water irrigation technique.

You can find out more about our ear wax Micro-suction removal here.

 

Stephen Neal News:

GN ReSound Showcases New Partnership with Google and LiNX Quattro at EUHA 2018

ReSound LiNX Quattro.

Hearing aids and Ear wax removal Keynsham Somerset

    ReSound LiNX Quattro.

With today’s start of the European Union of Hearing Aid Acousticians(EUHA) Congress in Hannover, Germany, GN ReSound has announced a new partnership with Google that will provide a full spectrum of direct streaming to hearing aids from Android devices, and the company is showcasing what the company is calling a “premium-plus” hearing aid, ReSound LiNX Quattro,™ which was previously launched in August.

Somerset hearing aids

According to ReSound, the LiNX Quattro offers “a brilliant sound experience with unprecedented Layers of Sound.” In a direct comparison, where hearing aid users were asked to listen to music and rate the sound, the company states that 95% of respondents preferred ReSound LiNX Quattro compared to other premium hearing aids.

A new high-performing chip platform drives the extensive sound quality improvements, providing 100% faster processing, twice the memory capacity, and 35% increase in frequency bandwidth compared to ReSound LiNX 3D™. With a bandwidth of up to 9.5 kHz, a greater range of high-frequency sounds is accessible to people with hearing loss. An input dynamic range of 116 dB SPL—reportedly the highest in the industry—is designed to ensure that softer sounds are clearer and louder sounds are distortion free.

Somerset ear wax removal

GN Hearing’s recently-announced partnership with Google allows it to offer a full spectrum of direct streaming from Android devices to hearing aids. It continues GN Hearing’s record of industry breakthroughs, including 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity, Binaural Directionality, direct full streaming compatibility with Apple devices, and cloud based remote fine-tuning.

Anders Hedegaard

Anders Hedegaard

“With the launch of ReSound LiNX Quattro, as well as other major technology launches and partnerships, GN Hearing is continuing to shape the future of hearing care,” said GN Hearing CEO and President Anders Hedegaard. “We want to help people hear more, do more, and be more than they ever thought possible. We are striving to support people living with hearing loss and hearing care professionals alike access the latest technology and support the provision of high-quality care.”

GN Hearing has also recently launched Beltone Amaze™, which GN characterizes as the world’s most complete hearing solution that combines great sound quality, connectivity, rechargeability and remote fine-tuning. The company also recently introduced Interton Ready™, which is designed to offer great sound, ease-of-use, and connectivity at an affordable price.

Source: GN ReSound

Ear wax removal in Wells Somerset

Ear wax removal in Wells Somerset

Stephen Neal is the premier ear wax removal Specialist for the Bath, Bristol, Wells and Frome areas of the south west.

Using the very latest ear wax removal technique such as Microsuction, Stephen Neal can have your blocked ears unlocked from wax in no time. Based In Keynsham, you can book an appointment now.

To see how Microsuction works click here. 

 

Stephen Neal blog news from around the world.

GN Hearing and Google Partner to Enable Direct Streaming from Android Devices to Hearing Aids

GN Hearing logo

GN Hearing and Google have announced a new technology partnership that will reportedly make GN Hearing the first manufacturer to enable a full spectrum of direct audio streaming from Android devices to hearing aids. In a future Android release, direct streaming may also become available for ReSound LiNX Quattro™ and Beltone Amaze™ hearing aid users.

“According to the World Health Organization, around 466 million peopleworldwide have disabling hearing loss,” said Seang Chau, vice president of engineering at Google. “This number is expected to increase to 900 million people by the year 2050. Google is working with GN Hearing to create a new open specification for hearing aid streaming support on future versions of Android devices.”

According to the joint announcement, users will be able to connect and monitor their hearing aids without using an intermediate device for streaming from Android phones and tablets to their hearing aids.

Watch a video testimonial here of Stephen Neals work

“We are honored to partner with Google for this important development, which will enable direct streaming for even more hearing aid users through their Android devices,” said Anders Hedegaard, CEO, GN Hearing. “This is another example of how GN Hearing relentlessly strives to drive innovation forward by developing new products and solutions with unique benefits for hearing aid users and audiologists around the world.”

Google has published the new hearing aid specification for Android smartphones available here: Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on Bluetooth Low Energy Connection-Oriented Channels.

 

 

Source: GN Hearing, Google

Depression and Hearing loss

Depression and Hearing Loss

Stephen Neal the ear wax removal specialist in Somerset. News

 

Depression and its connection to hearing loss seems pretty logical and self-evident, especially if you’re a dispensing professional who experiences daily the difference that amplification can make in a person’s life. In fact, many clinicians find themselves explaining the connection as follows: a person’s hearing loss and related communication problems can lead to gaffes and social faux pas; leading to embarrassment, anxiety, and loss of self-esteem; leading to gradual withdrawal from social situations and physical activity; leading to social isolation and loneliness; and eventually bringing them down the path to depression.

Karl Strom_photo

While this is probably an adequate description for some cases, a recent webinar1 by Victor Bray, PhD, associate professor and former dean of Salus University’s Osborne College of Audiology, points to more recent scientific literature that paints a far more complex picture of hearing loss and its association with depression—one we all should be aware of. The utility of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and assistive devices is made no less important by this complexity; however, it’s vital to understand who might be most at risk for depression in your patient population, how best to administer simple screening tools (ie, the PHQ-2 or PHQ-9), and why it’s important to refer patients to a medical doctor or psychologist, when indicated. 

Depression, also known as major depressive disorder (MDD), is present in 5-10% of the general population (up to 40% in some groups), and is a serious medical illness that negatively affects feelings, thoughts, and actions. The primary risk factors for depression are co-morbid chronic medical conditions (hearing loss is a pervasive chronic condition, especially among seniors) and recent stressful events. And, as with cognitive decline and dementia—the subject of my editorial last month—the stakes in treating depression are high for society and healthcare professionals. As Hsu and colleagues (2016) pointed out:

Depression is a common mental disorder, which affects 350 million people in the world. Unipolar depressive disorders and adult-onset hearing loss, the most common neuropsychiatric conditions, and sense organ disorder, respectively, are the first and second leading nonfatal causes of year loss due to disability among adults in high-income countries.2

Several of the studies reviewed by Dr Bray tend to suggest that the odds ratio for acquiring depression increases by a factor of about two if you have untreated hearing loss. However, a lot of the studies also show that a variety of chronic illnesses—ranging from cirrhosis to diabetes mellitus—can be associated with depression, so there could be some underlying neurophysiological common cause in hearing loss and other health problems that hasn’t been discovered yet. Dr Bray also looks at some very intriguing research about how dual-sensory loss (ie, hearing and vision loss) and sudden sensorineural hearing loss (particularly among young people) can greatly increase the risk for depression, as well as studies that are shedding light on how treated hearing loss might positively affect those suffering from anxiety, loneliness, and depression. 

As Dr Bray explains, the linkage of hearing loss to depression could come from both a social (downstream) effect, as described at the beginning of this article, and a biological/neurological (upstream) effect, as proposed in a model by Rutherford et al.3 If that were the case, an effective treatment plan could involve therapy and/or medication from a psychologist, in coordination with a hearing device and/or auditory and cognitive retraining from a hearing care professional. 

Dr Bray’s webinar was sponsored by Hamilton CapTel, and the company also sponsored an exceptionally interesting and well-viewed webinar last year about hearing loss and associated co-morbidities (including depression) by Harvey Abrams, PhD.4,5 When viewed together, they put an exclamation point on the fact that hearing loss isn’t just about the ears, it’s about health, the brain, quality of life, healthy aging, and so much more—while underscoring the crucial role of the hearing care professional in general healthcare.

To see Dr Bray’s webinar, visit https://bit.ly/2Lpt4AW

Citation for this article: Strom KE. Depression and hearing loss. Hearing Review. 2018;25(8):6.

References

1. Bray V. Depression, hearing loss, and treatment with hearing aids [Webinar]. July 13, 2018. Available at: http://www.hearingreview.com/2018/07/new-webinar-depression-hearing-loss-treatment-hearing-aids

2. Hsu W-T, Hsu C-C, Wen M-H, et al. Increased risk of depression in patients with acquired sensory hearing loss: A 12-year follow-up study. Medicine. 2016;95(44):e5312.

3. Rutherford BR, Brewster K, Golub JS, Kim AH, Roose SP. Sensation and psychiatry: Linking age-related hearing loss to late-life depression and cognitive decline. Am J Psychiatry. 2017;175(3):215-224.

4. Abrams H. Hearing loss and associated comorbidities: What do we know [Webinar]? May 31, 2017. Available at: http://www.hearingreview.com/2017/05/new-webinar-hearing-loss-associated-comorbidities-know/

5. Abrams H. Hearing loss and associated comorbidities: What do we know? Hearing Review. 2017;24(12):32-35. Available at: http://www.hearingreview.com/2017/11/hearing-loss-associated-comorbidities-know/

Heading a football could create Balance issues

Heading a Football May Be Linked to Increase in Balance Problems

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Soccer players who head the ball more often may be more likely to have balance problems than players who do not head the ball as often, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s (AAN) Sports’ Concussion Conference in Indianapolis July 20 to 22, 2018, the AAN announced on its website.

“Soccer headers are repetitive subconcussive head impacts that may be associated with problems with thinking and memory skills and structural changes in the white matter of the brain,” said study author John Jeka, PhD, of the University of Delaware in Newark, Del. “But the effect of headers on balance control has not been studied.”

For the study, 20 soccer players recruited from the community in Newark took a balance test where they walked along a foam walkway with their eyes closed under two conditions: with galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) and without GVS. For GVS, electrodes placed behind each ear stimulate the nerves that send messages from the balance system in the inner ear to the brain. So the stimulator can make you feel like you are moving when you are not. In this case, it made participants feel like they were falling sideways.

The soccer players, who had an average age of 22, also completed questionnaires about how many times they had headed the ball during the past year. The number of headers over a year for each participant ranged from 16 to 2,100, with an average of 451 headers. Those numbers were calculated by asking participants for the average number of headers during a practice and game, the average number of practices and games per week, and the average number of months per year that the player participated.

The study found that the players with the largest number of headers had the largest balance responses to GVS in both foot placement and hip adduction during the walking test, which indicated that they had vestibular processing and balance recovery problems. Researchers found for every 500 headers, foot placement response increased about 9 millimeters and hip adduction response increased about 0.2 degrees.

“Soccer players must have good balance to play the game well, yet our research suggests that headers may be undermining balance, which is key to all movement, and yet another problem now linked to headers,” said study author Fernando V. Santos, PT, of the University of Delaware. “It is important that additional research be done to look more closely at this possible link with balance and to confirm our findings in larger groups of people.”

A limitation of the study was that participants relied on memory when reporting how many times they headed the ball. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Learn more about concussion at www.BrainandLife.org, the American Academy of Neurology’s free patient and caregiver magazine and website focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health. Follow Brain & Life on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about the AAN’s Sports Concussion Guideline and access resources, visit https://www.aan.com/concussion.

Original Paper: Santos FV, Caccese JB, Gongora M, et al. Greater exposure to repetitive subconcussive head impacts is associated with vestibular dysfunction and balance impairments during walking. Paper presented at: 2018 AAN Sports Concussion Conference; Indianapolis, IN. https://www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/GetDigitalAsset/12757

Source: AAN

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Tinnitus App now available

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An international study from 2012 found that 15% of the global population experience permanent tinnitus but many more are affected by temporary tinnitus. A Danish study, also from 2012, with 14,000 participants found that 27% of those in the study experienced either temporary or permanent tinnitus. In other words, more than one quarter of the Danish population are affected tinnitus.

But despite a lot of research on the topic, there is still a lot to learn about tinnitus. According to Chief Physician Ture Andersen at Odense University Hospital in Denmark, tinnitus is often a symptom of damage to the inner ear. Tinnitus is not a disease, but can be a symptom of a disease or an impaired auditory system. It is defined as the perception of noise or ringing in the ears when no external sound is actually present. The sounds are most commonly described as ringing, whistling, wheezing, buzzing or humming, but can be described in many other ways. A large Swedish study showed that excessive noise at work and in other environments results in fatigue, headaches and ultimately impaired hearing or tinnitus. Another study, from France, shows that only one in 123 people with tinnitus do not have a hearing impairment.

 

Eva’s history

Eva Jensen, who lives in Greve, Denmark, fits in well to these statistics. With a moderate to severe hearing loss, Eva can’t hear much without her hearing aids and she experiences tinnitus.

“What does your tinnitus sound like?” I asked Eva. She explained that it is a constant buzzing sound, which lies somewhere in the middle of the pitch spectrum. “I think it developed at my work where there was a lot of noise,” says Eva. In 2006 she stopped working as an Educational Assistant in a nursery because of a back injury and since then she has suffered from constant back pain.

“It was only when I stopped working that I started thinking about my tinnitus. My husband was still working so I was at home alone where it was completely quiet and I became more aware of the ringing in my ears.” She experiences it all day, especially when she takes off her hearing aids in the evening. “Since my injury I have the TV on constantly – it helps me think of something other than my back pain,” says Eva.

Eva’s experience with Relief app

“It’s really great to be able to use the app when my tinnitus is driving me crazy. If you are strongly affected by tinnitus, I would definitely recommend this app. There are so many possibilities with creating your own soundscapes, you can always find a sound that’s comfortable. There is no doubt that I’m going to keep it on my phone, so I can get help when my tinnitus it really bothering me,” says Eva with a smile.

ReSound Relief

The idea of helping people focus on something other than the pain, or in this case tinnitus, is the basic concept of a new app made by the hearing aid manufacturer GN Hearing. The free app is called ReSound Relief and offers a combination of audio therapy and relaxation exercises. My editorial team and I tested the app, which offers some new and unique features compared to other apps we have tried. One very smart feature of the app is that it allows you to create your own soundscapes.

Relief allows you to combine a variety of familiar sounds such as birdsong or bubbling water with music and other therapeutic nature sounds. The ability to combine sounds, offers an almost endless amount of possibilities. This sound mixing feature allows you to mix five different sounds and you can individually adjust the volume of each sound.

After downloading the app, you can listen to music on your smartphone as usual, and if you use wireless hearing aids or headphones, you can stream directly through them. The ReSound Relief app also contains a feature called MyRelief that keeps a record of how you use the app and which sounds you have used the most. It creates a personalized plan and allows you to track your progress, much like an exercise app. “When we were developing the concept of this app, we analyzed the market for other tinnitus apps and found that mostof them just use sounds as a distraction. Very few actually guide the user through the tinnitus management process. Tinnitus management for many is more than just playing a sound.

The idea of MyRelief is that you can use it as part of the treatment provided by a Hearing Care Professional. Because MyRelief keeps a record of your use, it provides useful information that a Hearing Care professional can use as part of tinnitus counseling” says Michael Piskosz, Senior Audiologist at GN Hearing.

The app gives you some great tools to help you with your tinnitus.

Learn more about ReSound Relief

Avoid a vicious spiral

Worldwide, around 700 million people experience tinnitus. Around two thirds of them have mild to moderate tinnitus. People in the last third with more severe tinnitus can even experience feelings of desperation and hopelessness. International studies show that only about 3-5% of people seek help, so many people just try to live with tinnitus without any support. “In the United States, 70-80% of the population have a smartphone, and because we know that many people are desperately searching for help, we made this app. In most cases, the app will be beneficial. In addition to the distracting sounds there is also therapeutic support,” says Michael Piskosz. “ReSound Relief includes relaxation exercises and techniques for dealing with the tension and stress that tinnitus can cause. If you are extremely affected by tinnitus, the app alone will not be enough but it is a very useful tool and a great first step for people seeking help with tinnitus.”

This strategy is supported by a study by Professor Ture Andersen from Odense University Hospital.  “Unfortunately, the more emotionally you react to your tinnitus, the more the tinnitus signals will pass through the hearing center in your brain. If you respond by getting irritated or with stress or anxiety, it can actually make you more aware of the tinnitus sounds. You may end up getting into a “vicious cycle” where your tinnitus ends up controlling you. It’s important to learn how to avoid this. One way is by training  yourself not to respond to the tinnitus sounds. This way, the brain will filter out the noise signals to a large extent before reaching the hearing center. Then you’ll only hear a weak sound in the background, a light soundscape that makes it less distracting.” The study also shows that music can help. The volume of the music should not be particularly high – it’s not about covering up the sound of tinnitus with a louder sound – but about focusing your attention on the music and away the tinnitus.

“In some cases, when you use audio therapy to get relief from your tinnitus, the focus on it can increase,” explains Michael Piskosz. “Many people believe that this is due to the introduction of the technology to help with the tinnitus. Often times, people monitor their tinnitus more, to see if the technology is helping. It’s similar to when someone gets a new pair of shoes. At first, they are very aware of the shoes, and getting used to the fit. But, with time, they adjust and acclimate. Typically, users will find that the focus on tinnitus will be reduced over-time by using an app like ReSound Relief.”

More information about ReSound apps, please click here.  

New Study Examines Inequality in Treatment for Hearing Loss

New Study Examines Inequality in Treatment for Hearing Loss

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Hearing loss seems like one of the great equalizers of old age, striking people of all kinds as their ears gradually lose the ability to pick out sounds or hear certain pitches.

But a new national study reveals major gaps in whether Americans over age 55 get help for their hearing loss—gaps that vary greatly by age, race, education, and income, according to an article published on the Michigan Medicine website.

In all, just over a third of older adults who say they have hearing loss are using a hearing aid to correct it, the study finds. But those who are non-Hispanic white, college educated, or have incomes in the top 25% were about twice as likely as those of other races, education levels, or income ranges to have a hearing aid.

The cost of hearing aids is most to blame, say the researchers from the University of Michigan who published the study in The Gerontologist. They presented it this week at the annual research meeting of the AcademyHealth professional society for health care researchers.

Hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars out of a patient’s pocket because most health insurance programs, including Medicare, don’t cover them.

In fact, the study finds that the only factor that leveled the playing field for hearing aid use was having insurance through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which covers hearing aids in many cases. Hearing-impaired veterans ages 55 to 64 were more than twice as likely as their nonveteran peers to use a hearing aid, even after the researchers corrected for other differences. The gap between veterans and nonveterans was also significant for those over 65.

But the detailed interviews conducted for the study also show that personal concerns about hearing aid use, and lack of engagement with health providers, play a role.

“Hearing aids are not easy for many to obtain due to their costs,” says Michael McKee, MD, MPH, the U-M family medicine physician and assistant professor who led the analysis.

Michael McKee, MD, MPH

Michael McKee, MD, MPH

“However, there are a number of additional issues that place at-risk groups at an even larger disadvantage to achieving good hearing health. Many of these issues are beyond the financial aspects, including racial/ethnicity and sociocultural elements, for instance stigma and vanity.”

National survey and local interviews

McKee, who uses a cochlear implant to overcome his own hearing loss, worked on the study with Helen Levy, PhD, a health economist and professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research, and other colleagues. The authors are members of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

They used survey data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study, which is based on interviews conducted by the Institute for Social Research with funding from the National Institutes of Health.

The analysis included data from more than 35,500 people nationwide over age 55 who said they had hearing loss. In addition, McKee and colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with 21 other older adults with hearing loss in the communities surrounding the university.

The authors conclude that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Servicesshould consider covering hearing aids for Medicare participants and those in Medicaid plans for lower-income adults of any age. Some state Medicaid plans do cover hearing aids, but it is not required.

“Many people may not realize that Medicare does not cover hearing aids,” says Levy. “But it doesn’t, so cost can be a significant obstacle preventing older adults with hearing loss from getting the help that they need.”

More findings from the study:

  • The percentage of older adults with hearing loss who used a hearing aid rose with age, from about 15% of those in their late 50’s to more than 57% of those in their late 80s.
  • Forty percent of non-Hispanic white adults with hearing loss used a hearing aid, compared with 18.4% of non-Hispanic black and 21.1% of Hispanic adults with hearing loss.
  • Nearly 46% of hearing-impaired older adults who had gone to college reported that they used a hearing aid, compared with just under 29% of those who hadn’t graduated from high school.
  • Nearly half of those with incomes in the top 25% wore a hearing aid, compared with about one-quarter of those in the bottom 25%.
  • There were no significant differences in hearing aid use based on the size of the community where the person lived, nor their level of health literacy as measured on a standard test.
  • Interviews showed that cost, lack of insurance coverage (or knowledge about insurance coverage), vanity, and stigma were common reasons for not using hearing aids. Participants also cited a lack of attention to hearing loss by their primary care provider and worries about finding an audiologist they could trust.
  • Many interview participants who used a hearing aid mentioned efforts that hearing-related professionals made to connect them to discounts and insurance programs.

More about hearing loss

Estimates of hearing loss incidence place it at 29% of people in their 50s, 45% of those in their 60s, 68% of those in their 70s, and 89% of those in their 80s.

Previous studies have shown that untreated hearing loss reduces older adults’ ability to carry out everyday tasks, reduces their quality of life, and is linked to social isolation, lower income, reduced cognitive function, and poorer physical and psychological health.

A recent study led by McKee’s colleague Elham Mahmoudi, PhD, found that having a hearing aid was associated with a lower chance of being hospitalized or visiting an emergency room in the past year. That study focused on people over 65 who had severe hearing loss, and it used data from a federal database.

McKee leads the Health Info Lab, which is researching health information use and literacy among deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

This article is copyrighted by the University of Michigan and used with permission.

Original Paper: McKee MM, Choi H, Wilson S, DeJonckheere MJ, Zazove P, Levy H. Determinants of hearing aid use among older Americans with hearing loss. The Gerontologist. 2018. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/geront/gny051/5000029?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Source: Michigan Medicine/University of Michigan, The Gerontologist

Image: University of Michigan

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Best independent earwax removal specialist in Somerset

Best independent earwax removal specialist in Somerset

 

Stephen Neal is regarded as the best independent earwax removal specialist in the Bath, Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire areas. Based in Keynsham he offers out of hours appointments.

 

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Though public transportation is thought to be better for the environment in that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy, and improves air quality, according to the Federal Transit Administration, there may be a negative effect on your personal health.

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According to a recent Canadian study, commuters traveling during peak hours were exposed to maximum noise levels. A summary of the study’s results, published on the Hear-it AISBL—a nonprofit organization that provides information on hearing loss—website, show the results of the study, which was published in the Journal of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery. In this article, we’ll share the highlights, edited and adapted from the Hear-it website.

COMMUTING STYLES

Researchers looked at two different commuting situations among Toronto residents: people waiting for a streetcar/bus as compared to people walking/biking to a subway. Bikers were exposed to louder noise than those walking or driving a vehicle. Noise levels were higher for those waiting on a subway platform as compared to those in the subway car. And, finally, research showed that those waiting at bus stops were exposed to the loudest noise of all.

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PEAK NOISE

Though commuters often only experienced short and intense bursts of impulse noise exceeding the 114 dBA limit recommended by the EPA, researchers concluded this can be just as harmful as prolonged noise exposure. Up to 20% of the peak mean noise measurementsexceeded 114 dBA, and up to 85% of measurements at bus stops were higher than 120 dBA, according to the study. Researchers were concerned that prolonged exposure could lead to noise-induced hearing loss.

 

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