Hearing loss + cognitive decline

Hearing loss + cognitive decline

 

Hearing loss and cognitive decline is an important fact. Hearing loss can have a huge impact on your cognitive wellbeing.  Wikipedia says ”Cognitive functions encompass reasoning, memory , attention, and language and lead directly to the attainment of information and, thus, knowledge”.  So hearing is a very important sense we need to keep on top of for a better quality of life.

The Honiton hearing centre can help with keeping your hearing at tip top levels. We use the latests hearing test tech and dispense the latests digital hearing aids on the market.

If you are serious about keeping your mental health in check please make an appointment and let us help with any hearing issues you may have. it could be a simple as clearing your ear wax!

If you do suffer from ear wax we offer micro-suction and the traditional ear syringing technique. Please click here to see how this works.

 

Bellow is a snippet of information from the latest British Irish hearing instrument manufacturers association meeting discussing cognitive decline.

 

Panel on Issues Facing Hearing Industry

BIHIMA, British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association
Over half (55%) of audiologists do not believe their patients are aware of the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, according to the results of an audiologist research panel, conducted by the British Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA), the Association announced.
BIHIMA questioned approximately 70 audiologists across the private sector and NHS, in April 2019, on issues facing the hearing industry today. Many audiologists on the panel highlighted the increasing need for their consultations to include an education piece on the growing body of research connecting hearing loss and cognitive decline.
BIHIMA Chairman, Paul Surridge, believes the industry has a duty to empower audiologists to deliver this crucial education work: “It is essential that we work together as an industry to educate patients about the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. If, as our research suggests, this education work tends to lie with audiologists, then we must do all we can to help and support them, as we did in our recent Dementia Round Table at the RCGP.”
The panel was also questioned on the technology trends of the future. They highlighted the following key trends for hearing tech (in order of priority): 1) Signal processing, 2) Smart technology and mobile apps, 3) Remote tuning of hearing devices, 4) Biometric monitoring of brain/heart function, and 5) Rechargeable hearing aids. Other trends mentioned include Artificial intelligence, OTC hearing aids, wireless accessories, and wearables.
The audiologists concluded that the biggest innovation challenges the industry faces in the future are: complexity leading to consumer inability to utilize the technology, battery life, lack of real-world testing, small scale, design appeal, speech recognition in noise, and connectivity.
The top reasons patients seek hearing aids from an audiologist were listed as: Not able to hear people talk, peer or family pressure, social isolation, work issues, unable to hear on the telephone, tinnitus, and hearing speech in noise.
Finally, the panel was asked how frequently they think people should get their hearing checked. Audiologists working in the private sector reported annual visits, whereas NHS audiologists said that, on average, their patients come for a hearing test every 3 years.
Surridge concludes: “It is a concern that private and NHS opinions on the frequency of hearing checks differ, as BIHIMA’s view is that hearing tests for the over 55s should take place once a year and be considered part of peoples’ regular health check routine, like dental and eye care. We intend to seek further feedback on this issue as we believe there needs to be an industry standard that all agree to, so we invite you to share your thoughts with us via our Facebookand Twitter channels.”
BIHIMA brought together this panel of experts in audiology to consult on industry matters. Its aim is to ensure the technology developed by its members is influenced by the knowledge and expertise of audiologists, and so that BIHIMA’s contribution to public discussions around hearing loss remains well informed.
About the Research:
  • The BIHIMA Audiologist Research Panel is made up of NHS and private audiologists, actively practicing in the UK
  • 71 respondents made up the May 19 panel—62% private v 38% NHS
  • Respondents were asked 10 questions via an anonymous online survey
  • Date: February-April 2019

Source: BIHIMA

Ear wax removal Exeter

Ear wax removal Exeter

 

Ear wax removal Exeter . The Honiton hearing centre is the place to find out more information if you are suffering with hearing loss of any type. Sometimes the loss can be quite mild and irritating so you just put up with it for now. This could easily be a build up of wax that is blocking the ear canal and can easily be removed in a few minutes at Honiton Hearing.  Ear wax removal is usually done using a very very small suction device called Micro-Suction. We have produced a video on how this works and how the ear wax removal appointment will look like. Colin Eaton is who you would see at Honiton hearing and he is shown on the video.

Ear wax removal Exeter

You can watch the Micro-Suction ear wax removal video here.

To book an appointment at the Honiton hearing centre please call reception and speak with Sam or use the contact form .

 

Honiton hearing news:

 

International Campaign for Better Hearing Announces Results of Hearing Loss Survey

Ear wax removal Exeter

Hearing loss Exeter

A new survey conducted in ten countries, specifically designed to study the habits of people with hearing loss, reveals how people around the world feel about their hearing condition and how addressing hearing loss with treatment can help significantly improve quality of life.

The study results, which the The International Campaign for Better Hearing announced in a press release, conclude that 74% of respondents from around the world with hearing loss have at some point been embarrassed, while 69% have felt anxious, 64% have experienced feeling socially isolated, 59% felt tired/drained, 62% suffered from anger or frustration, and 49% have even felt unsafe as a result of their hearing loss.

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The US ranked highest, with 81% of their respondents experiencing social isolation because of their hearing loss, while people in Spain were the most likely to have experienced feeling unsafe because of their condition (79%).

After recognising a problem with their hearing, 3/10 people globally delayed getting assessed and treatment as they believed losing their hearing was just a fact of ageing and therefore couldn’t be helped, and 24% delayed seeing a professional as they were too embarrassed to go.

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The US and UK respondents were quickest to seek medical help with 17% of US respondents and 16% of UK respondents pursuing advice as quickly as within a month of noticing a problem with their hearing. However, it took 22% of Irish, 18% of Australian, and 18% of New Zealand respondents over 5 years to seek help. Overall, less than half of respondents across the globe sought advice for their hearing issues within 6 months, and more than a third waited over a year.

After being diagnosed with hearing loss, 91% of respondents had treatment globally, which included hearing aids, cochlear implants, surgery, and wax removal. According to the survey, respondents from Ireland were most reluctant to accept treatment—35% compared to the global average of 9%.

The most common treatment for hearing loss across the globe was wearing a hearing aid, topping the poll in all but one market region. In fact, more than 8/10 of respondents in half of the countries polled reported that they wear aids, and significantly, 84% reported that their life has consequently improved by treatment.

The survey revealed that the most common prompts for recognising hearing problems are difficulty with conversations (62%), having to turn up the radio/TV (60%), and having friends and family point out that they are missing out on sounds (51%).

“In general, it seems that noticing hearing issues does not always spur us to seek medical advice, even though a vast majority have at some point felt anxious, unsafe, or alone. In fact, we are actually willing to wait a considerable amount of time and live with our symptoms,” said Ann-Kristin Foss, brand and communications manager, International Campaign for Better Hearing. “Considering how much of a difference hearing loss treatment can make to our lives we want to encourage more people to get their hearing checked as soon as they notice any difference to their hearing ability.”

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“If you noticed a problem with your eyesight, you would almost certainly get checked out as soon as possible, and would visit an optician for a diagnosis,” said Foss.  “Over half of the respondents that took our survey were more likely to turn to health services than to a hearing specialist for diagnosis of their hearing issues. Thanks to the International Campaign for Better Hearing, everyone can now receive a free hearing test at a number of professional hearing clinics across the world.”

The International Campaign for Better Hearing survey also looked to find out whether people with hearing loss were aware of the links between unaddressed hearing loss and health issues, and the results reveal that the majority of global respondents demonstrated an “alarming lack of knowledge” of how hearing loss can affect overall health. Whilst many are familiar with the links between hearing loss and social withdrawal and depression, more than three quarters are unaware that hearing loss can cause problems with heart health, strokes, and diabetes. Furthermore, 80% aren’t aware that untreated hearing loss may increase your risk of developing dementia. This question was also posed to family members of people with hearing loss, which produced slightly more positive results.

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The International Campaign for Better Hearing advocates the importance of hearing loss identification, offering free hearing tests for everyone—particularly encouraging people over the age of 60 to have their hearing checked at a clinic for free, as they are at a higher risk of hearing loss. The initiative, which is supported by hearing care retailer Audika Group, is making every effort to inform and educate about hearing health and the dangers of untreated hearing loss as well as making hearing aids accessible to those who otherwise could not afford them via a give-back program.

For more information visit: https://www.campaignforbetterhearing.org/

Source: The International Campaign for Better Hearing

 

New hearing aids Devon

New hearing aids Devon

 

New hearing aids available in Devon by Honiton hearing

 

New hearing aids available Devon at the Honiton hearing centre. A new style of hearing aid is now available for the younger generation. Made by Oticon. OPN Play. These hearing aids are available at specialist children’s centres who cater for children hearing loss. Many people suffer from hearing loss and we at the Honiton hearing centre do cater for the older generation. We also conduct hearing tests and remove ear wax by appointment. Digital hearing tests are available again by appointment. The new Oticon Opn Play are designed for children only, but we have the adult Opn selection in our Honiton store.

Ear wax removal Devon

Once we conduct a full spectrum hearing test we will go through the results with you to determine what hearing loss you may have and if any what type of remedy we can offer. This maybe through hearing aids or ear wax removal.

Please click here to watch our video on how we remove ear wax using Microsuction.

Hearing aids available Devon

 

Honiton Hearing News:

Oticon Introduces Opn Play

Oticon Opn Play

Honiton hearing centre

Oticon announces Opn Play™, a new child-friendly hearing solution, is said to “improve speech understanding in simple and complex listening environments and provides access to multiple speakers, without reducing environmental sounds important to incidental learning and safety.” The new Velox S™platform fuels Opn Play to provide children with the best possible conditions to grow, thrive, live, and learn, according to the company.

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According to pediatric best practice guidelines, it is crucial to give children as much of the auditory environment as possible, in particular speech, to create the best opportunities for learning and language development.* Opn Play featuring OpenSound Navigator™ (OSN) helps accommodate best practice by delivering the “optimal signal-to-noise ratio across varying listening environments to constantly optimize learning opportunities.” Unlike traditional omnidirectional and directional approaches, OSN reportedly gives children the best of both worlds—“always open” access to a balanced soundscape that helps support the natural way the brain makes sense of sound, even in difficult listening environments.

A study at Boys Town National Research Hospital with children ages 6-15 reported that OSN offered an average of 4 dB SNR improvement in speech recognition (up to 30%) whether the child faced the speaker directly or faced away. The same study found that OSN preserves competing speech to allow access to multiple talkers, supporting incidental learning for children.

“Young children naturally learn a tremendous amount from overhearing or incidental listening, but children with hearing loss have fewer opportunities to learn by overhearing, especially when they are not looking directly at the talker,” said Maureen Doty Tomasula, AuD, senior product & marketing manager, Oticon Pediatrics. “The ability of OpenSound Navigator to preserve speech coming from different locations allows access to other talkers in the background, which is fundamental to incidental learning in school-age children.”

In a separate study of listening effort for children, researchers at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam found that OSN improves speech understanding by up to 5 dB SNR with less perceived effort compared to traditional omnidirectional technology.**

Devon ear syringing

Powered by the new Velox S platform, Opn Play reportedly analyzes sound at 56,000 times/second to give children access to speech details with “more natural sound and increased comfort,” according to Oticon.  OpenSound Optimizer™, a new technology in Opn Play, uses “ultra-fast” detectors and a patented breaker signal to proactively manage feedback, even before it occurs. Hearing care professionals can now fit children with up to 6 dB more gain, helping to allow more stable gain for closed fittings and more open fittings. This helps enable Opn Play to provide the brain with up to 25% more speech cues, without the risk of feedback.***  The new technology helps ensure stable access to speech details to support better language development and is said to allow children to play, hug, interact, and wear hats and helmets without feedback.

Easy Connectivity at School and Home

Opn Play offers compatibility with existing classroom solutions. A new option—Opn Play plus Oticon ConnectClip—can enhance incidental listening and communication between parents and children with hearing loss, especially when there is distance or noise present, such as when riding in the car, at the playground, or in a stroller. ConnectClip helps make it easy for children to stay connected to the most important speakers in their lives, parents, friends, teachers, and coaches. Opn Play is Made for iPhone® and connects with smartphones, laptops and other Bluetooth®-enabled devices. 

Lyme Bay Devon, ear syringing

The Opn Play miniRITE R offers a rechargeable lithium-ion solution in a “discreet design,” helping to eliminate the hassle of handling and replacing batteries every few days. The charger features a stable magnetic connection and is said to deliver a full day of power, including streaming, with an overnight charge.

Oticon_Opn_play_4_Colours_product_lineup_cutout

        Hearing aids Bristol

The Oticon Opn Play family is available in fitting ranges from mild to severe across all styles and in an array of kid-friendly colors. For more information about the entire Oticon Opn Play family, visit: www.oticon.com/opn-play.

* American Academy of Audiology (AAA) Clinical Practice Guidelines Pediatric Amplification June 2013
** Ng E, Goverts T, et al. (2019). Oticon Whitepaper.

*** Speech Intelligibility Index. ANSI S3.5.

Source: Oticon

Image: Oticon 

Hearing aids for Devon 

Hearing aids for Devon

 

Hearing aids for Devon at the Honiton hearing centre.  Colin and Sam pride themselves on being at the vanguard of hearing technology. Based at Honiton, Devon, Colin Eaton is a lead audiologist and is first class at keeping up with the new tech that comes out constantly.  Today we he is looking at the recently announced Phonak Marvel. For those who don’t know what this product is here is a sample from their Press release.

”In October 2018, Phonak introduced Marvel, a hearing aid family that’s said to “combine all the top-requested features from hearing aid wearers” into one solution.

Hearing aids for Devon and Somerset

According to Phonak, this technology also helps to improves accessibility to hearing care by empowering consumers to benefit from a suite of smart apps that connect hearing aid wearers with their hearing care professional via smartphone. These include video chat, instant feedback regarding their wearing experience, remote fine-tuning from anywhere in the world, and real-time, voice-to-text transcription of phone calls”.

Hearing aids Exeter, Devon

Sounds good?  We think so and we are pleased that Phonak has won a prestigious award saying that they agree too. If this Phonak product sounds like something you may like more info on then please let us know and we could arrange an appointment to see if this would be right for you.

See the rest of the info on the Phonak Marvel product bellow.

Check out  our earwax removal video here.

 

Earwax removal News: 

Phonak Marvel Wins Silver Edison Award for Hearing Aid Design Technology

Phonak Marvel hearing aid technology also improves accessibility to hearing care by empowering consumers to benefit from a suite of smart apps that instantly connect hearing aid wearers with their hearing care professional via their smartphone.

Phonak Marvel available at the Honiton hearing centre Devon

Phonak Marvel, said to be “the world’s first hearing aid” to combine clear sound quality with universal “made for all” Bluetooth connectivity, received a Silver Award in the hearing aid design technology category at the Edison Awards gala in New York City, the hearing aid manufacturer announced. The Edison Awards, named after Thomas Alva Edison, recognizes and honors innovators and innovations.

In October 2018, Phonak introduced Marvel, a hearing aid family that’s said to “combine all the top-requested features from hearing aid wearers” into one solution.

Ear wax removal Devon

According to Phonak, this technology also helps to improves accessibility to hearing care by empowering consumers to benefit from a suite of smart apps that connect hearing aid wearers with their hearing care professional via smartphone. These include video chat, instant feedback regarding their wearing experience, remote fine-tuning from anywhere in the world, and real-time, voice-to-text transcription of phone calls.

All nominations were reviewed by the Edison Awards Steering Committee and the final ballot sent to an independent judging panel. The judging panel was comprised of more than 3,000 professionals from the fields of product development, design, engineering, science, marketing, and education, including professional organizations representing a wide variety of industries and disciplines.

Hearing aids for Devon and Somerset

For more information on the 2019 Edison Awards, please visit: www.edisonawards.com.  Applications for the 2020 awards will open in August 2019.

 Source: Phonak, Edison Awards

Images: Phonak

Hearing aids in Devon 

Hearing aids in Devon

 

Hearing aids in Devon by the Honiton Hearing Centre.  Colin and Sam the owners of The Honiton Hearing Centre pride themselves on being at the vanguard of hearing technology. Based in Honiton, Colin Eaton is a lead audiologist and is first class at keeping up with the new tech that comes out constantly.  Today we he is looking at the recently announced Phonak Marvel. For those who don’t know what this product is here is a sample from their Press release.

”In October 2018, Phonak introduced Marvel, a hearing aid family that’s said to “combine all the top-requested features from hearing aid wearers” into one solution.

Hearing aids for Devon and Somerset

According to Phonak, this technology also helps to improves accessibility to hearing care by empowering consumers to benefit from a suite of smart apps that connect hearing aid wearers with their hearing care professional via smartphone. These include video chat, instant feedback regarding their wearing experience, remote fine-tuning from anywhere in the world, and real-time, voice-to-text transcription of phone calls”.

Hearing aids Honiton, Devon

Sounds good?  We think so and we are pleased that Phonak has won a prestigious award saying that they agree too. If this Phonak product sounds like something you may like more info on then please let us know and we could arrange an appointment to see if this would be right for you.

See the rest of the info on the Phonak Marvel product bellow.

Check out  our earwax removal video here.

 

Devon ear wax removal centre

Devon ear wax removal centre

 

Devon ear wax removal conducted at the Honiton hearing centre. If you are experiencing excessive ear wax or are having issues with your ears being blocked we can help.  We are a fully accredited and regulated ear wax removal centre for the whole of Devon. Using Microsuction to remove excessive ear wax is painless and very quick. If you prefer the older technique of ear wax removal using water irrigation (ear syringing), we can do that too!

Click here to see how we use Microsuction and click here to see what ear syringing the old fashioned way was all about.

Please call Sam on reception to make a booking of click here to make a booking online.

 

Honiton hearing news:

BIHIMA Round Table Event Focused on Connection Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

Published on 

BIHIMA_LOGO_RGB_150dpi

A cross-sector summit was held last month, bringing together experts to discuss the connection between hearing loss as a risk factor in developing dementia, as well as highlighting the preventative role of hearing technology. The round table event was convened by the British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) on February 28, 2019 at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London, BIHIMA announced.

A series of podcasts of the event’s discussion has been created in order to spread greater understanding, available for download here.

Devon ear wax removal

The event united audiologists, research scientists, and representatives from the media and charity sectors, to share knowledge and develop strategies to get the crucial message out into the public arena, so the proven link between the two conditions is taken seriously by individuals and policymakers.

There is growing evidence of the connection between the two conditions, including a Lancet study which showed that midlife hearing loss may account for up to 9.1% of preventable dementia cases worldwide and is a modifiable risk factor in developing the condition1. Dr Sergi Costafreda Gonzalez, co-author of the study, attended the Round Table.

There is less research, however, into the mitigating benefits of hearing aids. A University of Manchester study2 showed the rate of age-related cognitive decline is 75% less following the adoption of hearing devices. Co-author of this study, Dr Asri Maharani, shared details of these findings on the day. Further studies are now underway but this remains an undeveloped area, and so last month’s forum called publicly for further trials.

The panel also called on policymakers to make this area a funding priority. As new data emerges which proves the impact of hearing aids in preventing dementia, this will provide greater economic argument for making hearing technology more available to those at risk of cognitive decline.

Ear wax removal Devon

“The better we understand cognitive decline and why hearing aid use helps, the better we can design intervention,” said Dr Helene Amieva, author of the 25-year study, “Death, Depression, Disability, and Dementia Associated with Self-reported Hearing Problems.”3

The panel also strongly recommended a cross-sector approach, whereby hearing loss is understood as part of a wider discussion which links with both neuroscience and social issues around isolation and wellbeing in the aging population.

“Dementia is a condition which affects 47 million people globally and is fast becoming a social care crisis. There is no time to waste in understanding the role of hearing technology which could stem the tide of the disease, and in educating people about looking after both their hearing and cognitive health,” said the BIHIMA Chairman, Paul Surridge.

BIHIMA PANEL ATTENDEES:

Paul Surridge, BIHIMA Chairman

Helene Amieva, PhD, author of: “Death, Depression, Disability, and Dementia Associated with Self-reported Hearing Problems: A 25-Year Study,” Inserm, University of Bordeaux

Dr Sergi Costafreda Gonzalez, co-author of the study: “Dementia prevention, intervention and care,” The Lancet, University College London

Tony Gunnell, audiologist (BIHIMA representative)

Peter Kunzmann, head of research and policy, Action on Hearing Loss

Brian Lamb, associate of The Ear Foundation and chair of the Hearing Loss and Deafness Alliance and the Action Group on Adult Cochlear Implantation

Dr Asri Maharani, co-author of the study: ‘Longitudinal Relationship Between Hearing Aid Use and Cognitive Function in Older Americans’, University of Manchester

Source: BIHIMA, The Lancet, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, The Journals of Gerontology

References

  1. Livingston G, Sommerlad A, Orgeta V, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. The Lancet. 2017;390(10113):P2673-2734.

  1. Maharani A, Dawes P, Nazroo J, Tampubolon G, Pendleton N. Longitudinal relationship between hearing aid use and cognitive function in older Americans. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2018;66(6):1130-1136.

  1. Amieva H, Ouvrard C, Meillon C, Rullier L, Dartigues J-F. Death, depression, disability, and dementia associated with self-reported hearing problems: A 25-year study. The Journals of Gerontology. 2018;73(10):1383-1389.

Best ear wax removal, Honiton Devon

Best ear wax removal, Honiton Devon

 

The Best ear wax removal, Honiton Devon, is at the family owned and run independent Honiton hearing centre. Covering the whole of Devon including Tiverton, Exeter Lyme bay and Sidmouth.

The Honiton hearing centre based in Honiton and is the place to book for ear wax removal and hearing tests. If you are suffering from Tinnitus Colin Eaton the lead audiologist at the Honiton hearing centre can help you with Tinnitus therapy.  Local GP surgeries are no longer treating ear wax removal as part of the NHS but if you are in serious need and want to book an appointment please call Sam on reception to book your ear wax removal session. Please read the website for costs.

 

Watch our hearing test video here and our ear wax removal using Microsuction here.

 

Honiton Hearing News:

Best ear wax removal, Honiton Devon

 

Oticon Releases Survey Highlighting Tinnitus Prevalence in the UK

Original Story by The HEARING REVIEW

Oticon Logo

For a second year, the British Tinnitus Association is hoping to raise awareness of the prevalent condition suggested to severely affect 1 in 10 of the population. People with tinnitus have a hidden condition making it difficult for others to understand what they are going through. This year’s Tinnitus Week theme will draw attention to how many people feel isolated and unable to talk to their loved ones, friends, or colleagues about their condition.

A nationally representative hearing loss survey of 2,000 UK adults commissioned by hearing aid manufacturer Oticon, reveals just how prevalent tinnitus is and highlights the importance of recognition and education of the sometimes debilitating condition, the hearing aid manufacturer announced. An alarming 21% of respondents experience tinnitus symptoms such as ringing, buzzing, or persistent noise in the ears. Among these respondents, less than half have seen a doctor or hearing care professional about their symptoms, 25% do not think that they need to, and worryingly, almost 40% are not concerned about their overall hearing health, despite nearly half reporting that they do not have good hearing.

Devon hearing aids

To underline the significance of this year’s Tinnitus Week theme of isolation, the Oticon survey reveals that the biggest effect of the widespread hearing condition is withdrawal from social situations, which 28% reported. This is followed by lack of concentration (26.4%), less alertness (25.8%), and stress (22.4%). Furthermore, two thirds experiencing tinnitus symptoms find it tiring to hear what people are saying and follow conversations in situations where there are lots of people speaking.

Alison Stone, training manager and audiologist at Oticon, says: “People with tinnitus are often more tired and can have more difficulty concentrating, especially if there is background noise in the environment. They are also more at risk of high anxiety, depression, and irritation which affects their daily quality of life a great deal. Isolation is a natural response to many of the effects of tinnitus which is why the support of friends and family is so important. We urge those with tinnitus to talk, and although there is no known cure, to explore the management options available to relieve their symptoms which could significantly minimize the impact the condition has on their life. There are trained professionals out there who understand and can help.”

Ear wax removal Devon

The Oticon survey results highlight that tinnitus can be experienced by anyone, with between 16% and 24% of respondents reporting symptoms in each age category. Tinnitus can indeed be experienced by anyone, as well as be temporary or permanent, constant or intermittent.

Best ear wax removal, Honiton Devon

Oticon’s Alison Stone advises: “We know that approximately 80% of those with hearing loss also have tinnitus, and 80% of those with tinnitus also have some form of hearing loss. It’s important to highlight that tinnitus can sometimes be a symptom of a treatable medical condition, so, if you are experiencing any tinnitus symptoms seek professional medical advice from your primary care doctor or an ENT consultant. Early intervention could make a difference.”

Tinnitus Week aims to increase awareness of tinnitus with a week of promotions that highlight the impact tinnitus can have on the lives of the many people affected. For more information about the condition visit: https://www.oticon.global/hearing/what-is-hearing/tinnitus

Source: Oticon, British Tinnitus Association 

Exeter hearing test centre

Exeter hearing test centre

 

Exeter hearing test centre by the Honiton hearing centre. The Honiton hearing centre is run by Sam and Colin Eaton. A short drive from Exeter and you can book an appointment easily to get your hearing tests or ear wax removed. The Honiton hearing centre is very close to Exeter so if you are in need of Microsuction or a simple hearing test  please contact Sam on reception to make a booking.

Exeter hearing

Colin Eaton the lead audiologist at the Honiton hearing centre is a fully qualified audiologist and dispenses the very latest digital hearing aids. Please ask for more information when you call or arrive for a consultation.

 

 

Exeter ear syringing available now

Exeter ear syringing

 

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

Watch our ear wax removal video here.

 

Honiton hearing 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, optimising 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.

AutoSense OS™ 3.0 is the enhanced automatic operating system in Phonak Marvel™ hearing aids. It has been optimised to recognise 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.

Ear syringing Exeter

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.

Ear syringing Sidmouth

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.

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.

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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 categorises 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.

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Taking this a step further to look into behavioural 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, optimising 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.

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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.

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Honiton Hearing News:

BIHIMA Releases Q3 Results on UK Hearing Aid Sales

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The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) announced its release of the Q3 results of its members, providing a picture of current trends and developments within the UK and Irish hearing care markets.

According to BIHIMA’s announcement, the “most significant” development is the continued growth in the number of units distributed through the private market in the UK: the number of unit sales increased by 2,756 units (3.5%) from the previous year and by 2,638 (3.3%) from Q2 2018. YTD (year-to-date) unit sales were also up 3.8% from 2017.

Meanwhile, the BIHIMA reports that the NHS side of the market slowed down in the same period: unit sales were flat compared to Q3 2017 and decreased by 7445 (2.2%) from Q2 2018.  YTD units were down 1.6% from 2017.

BIHIMA also tracks the trends in the types of technology being selected by patients in the private sector. In the private sector, the RITE/RIC (receiver-in-the-ear technology) continues to grow in popularity and now represents 69.4% of all sales, up 1.7% from Q3 2017.

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“We are seeing solid growth in the private hearing care sector which is in line with expectations based on our ageing population and also points to evolving public awareness of the hearing technology produced by our manufacturers which can have transformative results,” said the BIHIMA chairman, Paul Surridge.

In its role as the voice for the hearing technology industry, BIHIMA regularly monitors the market and releases the results of its members every quarter.

To keep up to date with the latest market information, download the results here: https://www.bihima.com/resources/statistics/.

Source: BIHIMA