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Children with Hearing Loss May Experience Higher Rate of Bullying

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New UT Dallas research indicates that children and adolescents with hearing loss experience higher rates of peer victimization, or bullying, than children with typical hearing, UT Dallas announced in a press release on its website.

In the study, approximately 50% of the adolescents with hearing loss said they were picked on in at least one way in the past year. Previous studies show about 28% of adolescents in the general population report being bullied.

“I thought more children and adolescents with hearing loss would report getting picked on, but I did not expect the rates to be twice as high as the general population,” said Dr Andrea Warner-Czyz, an assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and a researcher at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders.

Dr Andrea Warner-Czyz

Dr Andrea Warner-Czyz

The study, which appears in the journal Exceptional Children, showed the type of bullying experienced by youth and adolescents with hearing loss mimics patterns in children with other special needs, with significantly higher rates of social exclusion.

More than one-fourth of adolescents with hearing loss indicated they felt left out of social activities, compared to only 5% of the general population reporting exclusion. These findings parallel published reports of fewer invitations to social events, lower quantity and quality of friendships, and higher loneliness in children and adolescents with hearing loss.

Researchers conducted an online survey of 87 children and adolescents ages 7 to 18 who wear cochlear implants or hearing aids for hearing loss. If they indicated they were picked on at all, the survey automatically generated follow-up questions on how often it occurred and why they thought they were targeted.

Approximately 45% said they did not know why, 20% said it was because of their hearing loss or cochlear implant, and 20% said it was because of how they looked or how they acted.

Based on information provided by parents and from other studies, Warner-Czyz said the problems with peers might reflect communication difficulties related to auditory skills.

“Sometimes they miss puns or a play on words, or other cues that have to do with humor. Or when something is said very quietly or in a noisy location, the student with hearing loss might miss it. And that can make them feel like an outcast, or it can make them look like an outcast,” she said.

“Friendships are important to most young people, but I believe are especially important for children with hearing loss.”
said Warner-Czyz. Alternatively, she said peer problems might indicate a broader issue of not recognizing social cues from conversation or distinguishing true friendship from acquaintances.

Researchers have previously said having at least one good friend is a protective factor against bullying. Most children in this study cited several or lots of friends, but anecdotal reports from parents and clinicians questioned the veracity of these friendships.

“Friendships are important to most young people, but I believe they are especially important for children with hearing loss,” said Warner-Czyz. “Anything parents can do to facilitate social interaction and friendship and letting them learn how to be a friend and who is a friend is critical.”

She said future research will delve more deeply into the reasons behind differences in friendship quality and peer victimization in children and adolescents with hearing loss to guide evidence-based, targeted therapeutic intervention and potentially contribute to effective anti-bullying programs geared toward children with special needs. She said these factors might go beyond individual youth characteristics to include a microsystem of school and home settings.

The research is part of a larger study exploring the quality of life in children and adolescents with cochlear implants.

Original Paper: Warner-Czyz AD, Loy B, Pourchot H, White T, Cokely E. Effect of hearing loss on peer victimization in school-age children. Exceptional Children. 2018;84(3):280-297.

Source: UT Dallas, Exceptional Children

Image: UT Dallas

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Oticon ConnectClip Wins 2018 Red Dot Award for Product Design

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Red Dot logo 2018

Oticon ConnectClip has earned a 2018 Red Dot Award for product design, the Denmark-based hearing aid manufacturer announced. A panel of international jurors recognized ConnectClip for what was said to be “outstanding design aesthetics” that incorporated a variety of technical, performance, and functionality innovations. The intermediary device is the newest addition to the Oticon connectivity devices designed to improve Oticon Opn™users’ listening and communication experiences.  ConnectClip will be among the award-winning designs exhibited at Red Dot Design Museums around the world.

Oticon Logo

Commenting on the award win, Gary Rosenblum, president, Oticon, Inc said, “Oticon is honored to receive another prestigious Red Dot Award, this year for our new ConnectClip. This internationally recognized symbol of excellence is a testament not only to ConnectClip’s convenient, lifestyle-enhancing features, but also to the work that goes into the design and continued evolution of our Oticon Opn hearing aid, a 2017 Red Dot Award winner.”

The multi-functional ConnectClip is designed to turn Oticon Opn hearing aids into a high-quality wireless headset for clear, hands-free calls from mobile phones, including iPhone® and Android™ smartphones. Sound from the mobile phones is streamed directly to the hearing aids and ConnectClip’s directional microphones pick up the wearer’s voice. ConnectClip serves double duty as a remote/partner microphone, helping to provide improved intelligibility of the speaker wearing it, either at a distance (up to 65 feet), in very noisy environments or in a combination of the two. Opn wearers can also use ConnectClip as a remote control for their hearing aids.

Wearable Technology Award Win

Oticon also celebrates a win at the UK’s Wearable Technology and Digital Health Show Awards. Oticon Opn received the  Innovation Award for wearable originality and advancement. The win reflects votes by a combined method of professional jury and public website vote.

Organizers at the Wearable Technology and Digital Health Show Awards commented on the win: ”The judges felt that the Oticon solution presented a revolutionary approach to hearing loss, and that its technology presented a real opportunity for users to interact with the growing number of smart devices in the home. A worthy winner.”

Learn more about the expanded Oticon Opn family, ConnectClip and entire range of wireless connectivity accessories at www.Oticon.com/Connectivity.

 * Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple Watch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android, Google Play, and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Source: Oticon

Images: Oticon, Red Dot

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City, University of London to Pilot Language and Reading Intervention for Children

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Researchers from City, University of London have been awarded £97k ($USD approximately $136,479) from the Nuffield Foundation to pilot a language and reading intervention with 120 children in their first year of formal education, the school announced on its website.

Involving Dr Ros Herman, Professor Penny Roy, and Dr Fiona Kyle from the School of Health Science’s Division of Language and Communication Science, in collaboration with Professor Charles Hulme from Oxford University, the study—which is reportedly the first reading intervention study to include both deaf and hearing children—will trial the new intervention in primary schools for a year and compare outcomes with other schools that offer the standard literacy teaching.

The research team have shown in previous research that many severely and profoundly deaf children have significant reading delays, yet are typically excluded from reading intervention research.

In this new study, teachers will be trained to deliver the intervention program, comprising systematic phonics teaching alongside a structured vocabulary program, during the school literacy hour. The study will investigate whether all children, or only specific groups of children, benefit from the integrated program and whether a full-scale evaluation is merited.

Dr Herman said, “Our previous research has revealed the scale of reading difficulties among deaf children. Our findings suggest that deaf children will benefit from specialist literacy interventions such as those currently offered to hearing children with dyslexia. In addition, deaf children and many hearing children require ongoing support to develop the language skills that underlie literacy.

“As a result we hope our new study, which will pilot a combined language and reading intervention, will address these issues so that teachers can provide the vital support needed to prevent both hearing and deaf children from unnecessarily falling behind their peers.”

Source: City, University of London

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Researchers Find Increased Risk of Hearing Loss Among Smokers

Researchers Find Increased Risk of Hearing Loss Among Smokers

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New research published in Nicotine & Tobacco Researchhas shown evidence that smoking is associated with hearing loss, according to a news release from the journal’s publisher, Oxford Press.

The study—which included 50,000 participants over an 8-year period—looked at data from annual health checkups, which included factors such as smoking status, number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the duration of smoking cessation on hearing loss, according to the release. Researchers calculated a 1.2 to 1.6 increased risk of hearing loss among smokers as compared to those who had never smoked before.

The risk of hearing loss decreased five years after smoking cessation.

For additional information, please click here to view the release on Science Daily’s website.

Original Paper: Hu H, Sasaki N, Ogasawara T, et al. Smoking, smoking cessation, and the risk of hearing loss: Japan epidemiology collaboration on occupational health study. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. March 14, 2018.

Source: Science Daily, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Oxford Press

Which hearing aids are best for me?

Which hearing aids are best for me?

Bristol and Bath hearing aid centre, Stephen Neal is the hearing and earwax specialist for Somerset and Wiltshire.

You’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss and the hearing healthcare professional says you’ll benefit from wearing hearing aids, but which devices are best for you? The decision you make will depend greatly on the severity of your hearing loss as well as your health and the lifestyle you lead. Before you sit down to discuss options with your hearing healthcare provider, here are a few things to consider.

Are you a technology buff?

best hearing aids for me

Stephen Neal, hearing aid and wax removal specialist. Frome, Somerset.

Your hearing aids should be as individual
as you are!

Hearing aids have changed a lot in the last ten years. Today’s devices are nothing like those your parents or grandparents may have worn, mainly because of advances in technology. While your parents’ hearing aids had to be adjusted with a tiny screwdriver by a hearing care provider, today’s digital devices are programmed via computer. Gone are the days of fiddling around with bulky volume control wheels and buttons. Most of today’s devices can be controlled discreetly by the wearer with smartphone apps as listening environments change. Bluetooth technology allows hearing aids to connect wirelessly to that smartphone you bought the moment it became available, tablets, televisions or car audio.

How much of a techie are you? Chances are, there’s a hearing aid that can keep up with your fascination for cutting edge gadgets. If you’re not a technology lover, don’t despair – the technology in your new hearing aids can also work behind the scenes automatically so you can just focus on hearing your best.

Is your world noisy?

Let’s face it — life can be loud! Depending upon what you do for a living and how often you’re socially engaged with people you love spending time with, directional microphone technology can help you make sense of that noise. Dual microphones in the hearing aid work to help you understand speech in challenging listening environments such as noisy conventions, crowded restaurants and bars or a family room filled with chattering children by focusing on the sound directly in front of you and minimizing sound to the sides and back.

Nearly all hearing aids today have some form of noise reduction built in. This technology is best for increasing your comfort in noisy situations, but it’s the directional microphones that have a noticeable impact on your ability to understand conversation in these same situations. Be honest about your lifestyle and talk with your hearing care provider about which features you need.

Are you self-conscious about your hearing loss?

Let’s be clear: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wearing hearing aids — no matter whether they’re visible to others standing close to you or fit snugly out of sight inside your ear canal. These miracle devices not only help you hear your favorite sounds, they also alert you to emergency warning signals and decrease your risk of falling, developing dementia and feeling depressed. What’s not to love?

Unfortunately, some prefer to be more discreet about their hearing loss. For those individuals, tiny receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) or receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) styles with ultra-thin tubing and an availability of colors which blend with skin or hair may be desirable. For even more invisibility, invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) or completely-in-the-canal (CIC) styles may be an option.

The discretion of small hearing aids can come with some tradeoffs. Your hearing healthcare professional can help you decide, given the severity of your hearing loss and your personal preferences, which style is best for you.

Do you have dexterity issues?

Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and other health conditions can cause numbness in the fingers or a decline in fine motor skills. The smaller the hearing aid, the smaller the features — such as the battery door or volume control. If you struggle with putting on jewelry or activities which require fine motor skills, you will likely benefit from wearing hearing aids that fit behind-the-ear (BTE) or a larger custom style. It’s much better to own devices you can operate confidently and effectively than one which frustrates you so much it spends more time in your nightstand than in your ear.

Summary

It’s important to remember that no two people or their hearing losses are alike, but there are hearing aids to suit most every need. The best hearing aids are the ones that work for you. Instead of waiting to make a decision because you’re afraid you’ll make the wrong one, find a hearing healthcare professional to guide you. Working as a team, the two of you can determine which devices will work for your unique hearing situation. Check out our directory of consumer-reviewed clinics to get started.

GN Hearing Launches Rechargeable Battery Option for ReSound Linx 3D

Stephen Neal the earwax specialist for Bath, Bristol and the Somerset area.

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GN Hearing—the medical device division of the GN Group—has introduced a rechargeable battery option for the ReSound LiNX 3D hearing aids, the company announced. The rechargeable battery solution, available in North America and other major markets from September 1, gives ReSound users more options to choose from. The rechargeable option is also available for Beltone Trust in North America, and from September 1, this will be extended to other major markets.

The rechargeable battery option is made available based on an understanding of user expectations as well as a commitment to empower users to choose the solution best suited for their needs and preferences. The announcement follows GN Hearing’s release of the innovative 5thgeneration 2.4 GHz wireless technology ReSound LiNX 3D hearing aids, which offer unmatched sound quality, an enhanced fitting experience, and comprehensive remote fine-turning, giving users a new hearing care experience, GN Hearing said.

According to the company, ReSound LiNX 3D rechargeable has all of the benefits of ReSound LiNX 3D, now combined with the all-day power of a rechargeable battery. With overnight charging, users will experience the advantage of all-day power, without the need to change batteries.

ReSound Linx 3D rechargeable accessory.

ReSound LiNX 3D rechargeable accessory.

“GN Hearing is pleased to provide yet another option for hearing aid users, built on our commitment to providing unmatched sound quality and user experience,” said Anders Hedegaard, president & CEO, GN Hearing. “This new rechargeable battery solution allows hearing care professionals to offer an additional option to their clients, and gives hearing aids users even more choices to tailor their hearing experience to their unique preferences,” he added.

Source: GN Hearing 

Image: GN Hearing 

Visual Cues May Help Amplify Sound, earwax can be the cause.

Visual Cues May Help Amplify Sound, University College London Researchers Find

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Ear wax removal and hearing aids, Bath, Bristol, Frome, Glastonbury

Looking at someone’s lips is good for listening in noisy environments because it helps our brains amplify the sounds we’re hearing in time with what we’re seeing, finds a new University College London (UCL)-led study, the school announced on its website.

The researchers say their findings, published in Neuron, could be relevant to people with hearing aids or cochlear implants, as they tend to struggle hearing conversations in noisy places like a pub or restaurant.

The researchers found that visual information is integrated with auditory information at an earlier, more basic level than previously believed, independent of any conscious or attention-driven processes. When information from the eyes and ears is temporally coherent, the auditory cortex —the part of the brain responsible for interpreting what we hear—boosts the relevant sounds that tie in with what we’re looking at.

“While the auditory cortex is focused on processing sounds, roughly a quarter of its neurons respond to light—we helped discover that a decade ago, and we’ve been trying to figure out why that’s the case ever since,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Jennifer Bizley, UCL Ear Institute.

In a 2015 study, she and her team found that people can pick apart two different sounds more easily if the one they’re trying to focus on happens in time with a visual cue. For this latest study, the researchers presented the same auditory and visual stimuli to ferrets while recording their neural activity. When one of the auditory streams changed in amplitude in conjunction with changes in luminance of the visual stimulus, more of the neurons in the auditory cortex reacted to that sound.

“Looking at someone when they’re speaking doesn’t just help us hear because of our ability to recognize lip movements—we’ve shown it’s beneficial at a lower level than that, as the timing of the movements aligned with the timing of the sounds tells our auditory neurons which sounds to represent more strongly. If you’re trying to pick someone’s voice out of background noise, that could be really helpful,” said Bizley.

The researchers say their findings could help develop training strategies for people with hearing loss, as they have had early success in helping people tap into their brain’s ability to link up sound and sight. The findings could also help hearing aid and cochlear implant manufacturers develop smarter ways to amplify sound by linking it to the person’s gaze direction.

The paper adds to evidence that people who are having trouble hearing should get their eyes tested as well.

The study was led by Bizley and PhD student Huriye Atilgan, UCL Ear Institute, alongside researchers from UCL, the University of Rochester, and the University of Washington, and was funded by Wellcome, the Royal Society; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC); Action on Hearing Loss; the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Hearing Health Foundation.

Original Paper: Atilgan H, Town SM, Wood KC, et al. Integration of visual information in auditory cortex promotes auditory scene analysis through multisensory binding. Neuron. 2018;97(3)[February]:640–655.e4. doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2017.12.03

Source: University College London, Neuron

GN Store Nord Develops Device to Protect Soldiers’ Hearing

GN Store Nord Develops Device to Protect Soldiers’ Hearing

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GN Store Nord has announced a “first of its kind, fully fledged hearing protection solution, enabling defense and security forces to hear more, do more, and be more.” With this advanced tactical hearing-protection solution, GN reports that it is leveraging unique leading competencies within intelligent audio solutions in both hearing aids and headsets to create an unparalleled noise management solution. The product will be manufactured at its Bloomington, Minn, facility where ReSound is also located.

The global market for military communication systems is estimated to be about $630 million, and features competitors such as Peltor (3M), INVISIO, Silynx, Racal Acoustics, and MSA Sordin, according to long-time hearing industry analyst Niels Granholm-Leth of Carnegie Investment Bank in Copenhagen.  GN has embarked on several projects in its GN Stratcom organization, which is currently part of GN Hearing, although the company could eventually establish it as a stand-alone division alongside its Hearing (ReSound, Beltone, and Interton) and Headset divisions (Jabra).

The new patented hearing protection solution is designed specifically for defense and security forces. GN says the solution offers the user a communication headset which is designed to be comfortable, highly durable, and protects the user against high volume noise. At the same time, by leveraging GN’s expertise within situational awareness, the solution allows its user to clearly identify important sound in 360°.

Anders Hedegaard

Anders Hedegaard

“The GN Group encompasses consumer, professional, and medical grade hearing technology under the same roof,” says CEO of GN Hearing, Anders Hedegaard. “This unique platform makes it possible to expand GN’s business into adjacent opportunities within the sound space. With our user-centric approach we aim to be the leader in intelligent audio solutions to transform lives through the power of sound.”

GN will be starting to build a small, swift group related to this new business opportunity. This year, GN will participate in military tenders in the United States and with other NATO-countries. The new product line will, under the name GN FalCom, include:

  • Comfort. Designed for optimal physical comfort allowing for multiple hours of use in extreme combat situations;
  • Clarity. Enables users to localize sounds all around them without the need to remove the earpiece. To maintain high quality communications at all times, GN FalCom will integrate seamlessly with military radio technology, and
  • Protection. Allows users to stay connected while benefitting from noise protection. For example, users will experience the highest level of safety without blocking out wanted sounds.

The  hearing protection solution builds on GN’s expertise in sound processing from both GN Hearing and GN Audio—and across R&D teams in the United States and Denmark. It is a successful result of corporate level investments made through GN’s Strategy Committee guided initiatives to explore opportunities outside of, but related to, GN’s existing business areas. According to the company, the hearing protection solution will be manufactured at GN’s existing production facilities in Bloomington, Minn, and will not impact GN’s financial guidance for 2018.

Oticon Opn™ A new hearing aid.

Oticon Opn™ A new digital hearing aid.

 

Stephen Neal audiologist at the Keynsham Hearing Centre knows all about hearing aids and earwax removal using Microsuction and ear irrigation techniques, and shares the latest hearing aid from Oticon. Digital hearing instruments really are the latest option for a living in a digital world. Contact Stephen Neal to book an appointment at his Keynsham hearing centre. Stephen also does out of hours appointments too.

Hearing

The challenge of hearing clearly amidst background noise is a complaint hearing care professionals commonly encounter. Houston-based audiologist Jana Austin discusses how the Oticon Opn helped Bryan Caswell, a chef, manage the “tornado” of background noise coming at him from all directions in a busy restaurant environment. With its OpenSound Navigator and Spatial Sound LX working in tandem to identify sounds and manage noise, Caswell can hear a conversation from across the kitchen that he likens to a dart of sound that he’s catching. For Austin, the Opn reaffirms her ability to improve a patient’s quality of life.

Stephen Neal at Keynsham hearing centre near Bristol and Bath can help with supply and fit of this hearing aid or any other hearing aid on the market today. With Digital hearing instruments now so advanced you will be surprised on how yoru life can be totally changed within a few days of fitting.

Stephen Neal is a registered HCPC dispenser and works with all the large hearing aid/instrument manufacturers. With his expert advice and fitting, you will be surprised on how digital technology in the hearing world really has changed in recent years. Ask Stephen for a demo on how connecting with your smart phone, iPad and T.V. can transform your world.

Ear wax removal

Micro-suction, Microsuction, earwax removal, Bath, Bristol, keynsham,

Stephen Neal, specialist ear wax and micro suction technique. Based in Keynsham

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