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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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soldier aims gun

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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MICROSUCTION (EAR WAX REMOVAL)

Oticon Opn™ Delivers a Better Hearing Experience

 

 

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.

Gene Editing Technique May Help Preserve Hearing in Individuals with Genetic Mutation

Gene editing could someday help people at risk of hearing loss from genetic mutations, according to research by a new Rice University faculty member, the Texas-based university announced on its website.

Xue (Sherry) Gao, who joined Rice in the fall as the Ted N. Law Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is co-lead author of a new Nature paper that reports on the promise of gene editing to treat autosomal dominant hearing disease.

Xue (Sherry) Gao, Ted N. Law Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University.

Xue (Sherry) Gao, Ted N. Law Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University.

Gao performed the research while a postdoctoral associate under the guidance of David Liu at Harvard University. She said that while hearing diseases are typically not life-threatening, hearing loss is the most common human sensory impairment and has a substantial impact on individuals and society.

Many genetic mutations affect the sensory hair cells that amplify acoustic vibrations and translate them into electrical nerve signals. Gao said humans are born with about 12,000 hair cells that do not regenerate spontaneously if damaged. It has been reported that one in every 1,000 infants born in the United States has genetic mutations that contribute to deafness. Nevertheless, she said, few treatments are available to slow or reverse genetic deafness.

The researchers used rodent models of human genetic disease since a rodent cochlea—the organ in the inner ear that sends sounds to the brain—is strikingly similar to that of humans, Gao said. They focused on editing hair cells inside the cochlea, which they found suitable for the delivery of one-time, nonreplicable edits through Cas9/single-guide RNA. The RNA is a ribonucleotide (RNP) protein complex designed to specifically disrupt genes associated with hearing loss.

“Delivering the RNP complex instead of DNA into the cochleae showed significantly fewer off-target effects,” Gao said. This enabled the researchers to effectively disrupt one genomic site containing a single point mutation and avoid the billions of other sites available for modification.

Eight weeks after injecting the protein complex into the cochleae of rodents with progressive, genetic hearing loss, the researchers observed higher hair cell survival rates compared with those in a control group that did not receive the injection.

In a new Nature paper, a Rice University professor outlines a strategy that uses gene editing to slow the progression of a genetic hearing disease. Illustration by Xue (Sherry) Gao

In a new “Nature” paper, a Rice University professor outlines a strategy that uses gene editing to slow the progression of a genetic hearing disease. Illustration by Xue (Sherry) Gao

Tests that measured brain waves in response to audio cues showed the treatment significantly preserves the animals’ hearing compared with the control group. The treatment also helped preserve the injected animals’ acoustic behavioral reflexes, according to the researchers.

“We believe this is a leading study on using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to treat genetic hearing diseases,” said Gao, whose lab is at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative. “We hope to develop more advanced genome-editing tools and test them on other animal species to demonstrate their safety and effectiveness as we move them toward humans.

“I’m definitely looking for collaborators at Rice, the Texas Medical Center, and in Houston who also are interested in developing genome-editing technology,” she said.

Gao’s primary collaborators on the Nature paper were co-lead author Yong Tao and Zheng-Yi Chen of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Institutes of Health supported the research.

Original Paper: Gao X, Tao Y, Lamas V, et al. Treatment of autosomal dominant hearing loss by in vivo delivery of genome editing agents. Nature. December, 2017. doi:10.1038/nature25164

Source: Rice University, Nature

Images: Rice University, Xue (Sherry) Gao

Sound Proof Room

SOUND PROOF ROOM

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide our clients with the latest technology and the correct environment in which to conduct a hearing test, we have a purpose built test room.

Stephen Neal believes that it is essential for your hearing test to be conducted under optimum conditions to BSA standards to ensure that there are no distractions or disturbances likely to interfere with your test. This will result in the most accurate test results and ultimately help us to ensure you are fitted with the most suitable hearing instrument to meet your needs.
Our sound proof room allows us Keynsham Hearing Centreto achieve these conditions as it is purpose-built and sound proofed to the highest standard.

Did you notice any of the following when you last had your hearing test?

  • Traffic noise from outside
  • Telephone ringing
  • People chatting in the waiting room

If you have answered ‘YES’ to any of the above, your hearing test results may not have been fully accurate.

Call today to arrange a hearing test in our Sound Proof room on – 0117 986 4242

Starkey Hearing Technologies Launches IQ Product Lines

iQ Product Family

Starkey Hearing Technologies—an Eden Prairie, Minn-based hearing technology company—is launching a new line of hearing aids based on the company’s research in virtual reality, advanced neuroscience, and audiology and signal processing, Starkey announced. Designed to create an immersive hearing experience for patients, the iQ product lines include: Muse iQ, a complete line of 900sync™ technology, wireless hearing aids; SoundLens Synergy iQ, a new invisible-in-the-canal hearing aid; Halo iQ, smartphone-compatible hearing aids; and the brand-new TruLink Remote.

Muse iQ_Details(1)

“As part of our commitment to lead the world in hearing innovation, we are excited to share the results of our collaboration with the world’s top researchers in today’s most advanced technologies,” Starkey Hearing Technologies President Brandon Sawalich said. “By working closely with leading researchers in the fields of neuroscience, virtual reality, and audiology and signal processing to integrate advancements into our award-winning products, we can now provide patients with new levels of presence, clarity, personalization, and other benefits previously unattainable with traditional hearing devices.”

iQ Family_IIC_RIC_312T_mini_BTE_312_micro_RIC_312T_CIC

New Features with Acuity OS 2, Inspired by Virtual Reality Research

Built with Starkey Hearing Technologies’ proven Synergy platform and Acuity™ OS 2 operating system, the iQ technologies include a suite of new features that deliver the presence, clarity, and personalization patients have previously missed during the moments that matter most, the company said. Four of the most notable new features include:

  • Acuity Immersion – Designed to leverage microphone placement to aid with high-frequency information for improved sound quality and sense of special awareness, this technology has the potential to help patients relearn key acoustic brain cues to support clear speech, a sense of presence, and spatial attention for connection to their environment. Acuity Immersion takes the key natural cues needed for spatial awareness and shifts them to provide the wearer with both clear speech and a sense of presence and connection to their environment. By giving the wearer’s brain access to these cues, iQ hearing aids can help wearers’ brains relearn these key cues and thereby reassert spatial perception.
  • Acuity Immersion Directionality – Designed to restore front-to-back cues for a more natural, safer listening experience.
  • Speech Indicators for memory – Provide descriptive names for memory environments rather than numeric indicators.
  • Smart VC – Allows for an increase in gain in all channels not already at maximum, to give wearers a desired increase in loudness when needed.

TruLink Details(1)

“The iQ line represents a brand-new dimension in hearing technology research and innovation,” Starkey Hearing Technologies Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Engineering Achin Bhowmik said. “We anticipate that our new products will have a dramatic impact on our patients’ lives—and change the game in the global hearing aid industry.”

iQ_Synergy Platorm Family

 

Muse iQ, Muse iQ CROS and SoundLens Synergy iQ

Designed to provide high-quality, natural sound in even the most challenging environments, Muse iQ and SoundLens Synergy iQ hearing aids offer audibility and streaming for individuals with single-sided hearing loss, said Starkey. All Muse iQ and SoundLens Synergy iQ devices work with SurfLink wireless accessories to provide ear-to-ear streaming of calls, music and media, remote hearing aid control, and a personalized hearing experience.

SoundLens iQ Synergy_Details(1)

Muse iQ hearing aids are available in both custom and standard styles, and the Muse iQ micro RIC 312t is also available in a rechargeable option. Finally, Muse iQ CROS and BiCROS systems offer audibility and streaming for individuals with single-sided hearing loss.

SoundLens Synergy iQ hearing aids offer wearers an invisible, custom fit hearing solution featuring Starkey Hearing Technologies’ advanced technology and sound quality.

Halo iQ and the NEW TruLink Remote 

Powered by Starkey Hearing Technologies’ TruLink 2.4 GHz wireless hearing technology, Halo iQ smartphone-compatible hearing aids enable connectivity with iPhone, iPad®, iPod touch®, Apple Watch®, and select Android™ devices.

Halo iQ_Details

A brand-new wireless accessory, the TruLink Remote is compatible with Apple® or Android and works without a smartphone.

Source: Starkey Hearing Technologies

Images: Starkey Hearing Technologies