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Phonak Wins Three Red Dot Product Design Awards. Honiton-Devon hearing.

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Original story taken from: The hearing Review

Phonak Virto B-Titanium
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Phonak, a global provider of hearing aids and wireless communication solutions, has been honored with three international Red Dot Awards for excellence in product design, the company announced. The product award winners include: Virto B-Titanium, said to be “the world’s first” mainstream titanium custom hearing aid; Audéo B-Direct, a Bluetooth®* hearing aid that is designed to directly connect to both a cell phone** and TV; and EasyView Otoblock, a product for hearing care professionals that is designed to allow for deeper ear impressions. The winners were celebrated at the Red Dot Gala earlier this month in Essen, Germany.

“Three Red Dot Award winners in one year is proof of what happens when you combine Phonak’s dedication to superior product design with a neverending quest to push the limits of innovation,” said Thomas Lang, senior vice president at Phonak. “Receiving honors for the Virto B-Titanium and EasyView Otoblock is a tribute to the amount of research and development Phonak devotes to producing the most cosmetically appealing and highest quality custom products on the market. Meanwhile, the awards for the revolutionary Audéo B-Direct keep on adding up!”

Virto B-Titanium

According to Phonak, the Virto B-Titanium is “the world’s first mainstream” custom hearing aid made of premium medical-grade titanium. It was designed to combine the benefits of titanium including superior strength and an extra light weight with the latest in 3D printing technology.

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Audéo B-Direct

With the Audéo B-Direct, hearing aid wearers can answer or reject a phone call and talk completely hands-free by pressing the push button on their hearing aid. Meanwhile, the optional TV Connector uses proprietary AirStream™ technology to help connect wearers to their favorite TV programming for an immersive audio experience.

EasyView Otoblock

The EasyView Otoblock is designed to give hearing care professionals the ability to take deeper ear impressions by allowing “full visualization” of the eardrum, according to the company. Made from the seal of a Phonak Lyric™, the EasyView Otoblock attaches to existing otoscopes and speculas and is designed to provide better vision and light during Otoblock placement. It’s compatible with standard impression-making materials and stays on the impression during the scanning process, according to the company’s announcement. This may result in an average of 6mm more canal length information.

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“I want to congratulate the award winners sincerely on their wonderful success in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2018,” said Professor Dr Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award. “Success in the competition is proof of the good design quality of the products and once again shows that companies are on the right path. When I speak about good design, I am referring to more than just an attractive product. All of the products are characterized by outstanding functionality. This demonstrates that the designers have understood their clients and their needs.”

For an inside look into the people behind Phonak’s Red Dot Award-winning products, visit:

Phonak Virto-B titanium 2018 Red Dot Award
Audéo B-Direct
Phonak EasyView Otoblock 2018 Red Dot Award

Three Red Dot Awards for Phonak in 2018

For more information, please visit www.phonak.com or www.phonakpro.com.

* Bluetooth is a registered trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc; Android™ is a trademark owned by Google, Inc
** with Bluetooth® 4.2 wireless technology and most older Bluetooth phones.

Source: Phonak
Image: Phonak
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Tinnitus therapy Devon

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

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

 

Eva’s history

Eva Jensen, who lives in Greve, Denmark, fits in well to these statistics. With a moderate to severe hearing loss, Eva can’t hear much without her hearing aids and she experiences tinnitus.
“What does your tinnitus sound like?” I asked Eva. She explained that it is a constant buzzing sound, which lies somewhere in the middle of the pitch spectrum. “I think it developed at my work where there was a lot of noise,” says Eva. In 2006 she stopped working as an Educational Assistant in a nursery because of a back injury and since then she has suffered from constant back pain.
“It was only when I stopped working that I started thinking about my tinnitus. My husband was still working so I was at home alone where it was completely quiet and I became more aware of the ringing in my ears.” She experiences it all day, especially when she takes off her hearing aids in the evening. “Since my injury I have the TV on constantly – it helps me think of something other than my back pain,” says Eva.
ReSound Relief user

Eva’s experience with Relief app

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

ReSound Relief

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

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

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

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

Article taken from a press release by GnResound May 2018

Tinnitus, therapy, hearing aids, ear wax removal, hearing aid batteries

Tinnitus therapy in Devon. The Honiton hearing centre.

For more information on Tinnitus read our Tinnitus page here.

Tinnitus therapy, Honiton, Devon

Brainwave Abnormality Could Be Common to Parkinson’s Disease, Tinnitus, Depression

Tinnitus, news update:

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The Honiton hearing centre in Devon offers Tinnitus therapy

A brainwave abnormality could be a common link between Parkinson’s disease, neuropathic pain, tinnitus, and depression—a link that authors of a new study suggest could lead to treatment for all four conditions.

Dr Sven Vanneste, an associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas, is one of three authors of a paper in the journal Nature Communications regarding thalamocortical dysrhythmia (TCD), a theory that ties a disruption of brainwave activity to the symptoms of a wide range of neurological disorders, The University of Texas announced.

Dr Sven Vanneste, associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Dr Sven Vanneste, associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Vanneste and his colleagues—Dr Jae-Jin Song of South Korea’s Seoul National University and Dr Dirk De Ridder of New Zealand’s University of Otago—analyzed electroencephalograph (EEG) and functional brain mapping data from more than 500 people to create what Vanneste believes is the largest experimental evaluation of TCD, which was first proposed in a paper published in 1996.

“We fed all the data into the computer model, which picked up the brain signals that TCD says would predict if someone has a particular disorder,” Vanneste said. “Not only did the program provide the results TCD predicted, we also added a spatial feature to it. Depending on the disease, different areas of the brain become involved.”

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The strength of our paper is that we have a large enough data sample to show that TCD could be an explanation for several neurological diseases.

Brainwaves are the rapid-fire rhythmic fluctuations of electric voltage between parts of the brain. The defining characteristics of TCD begin with a drop in brainwave frequency—from alpha waves to theta waves when the subject is at rest—in the thalamus, one of two regions of the brain that relays sensory impulses to the cerebral cortex, which then processes those impulses as touch, pain, or temperature.

A key property of alpha waves is to induce thalamic lateral inhibition, which means that specific neurons can quiet the activity of adjacent neurons. Slower theta waves lack this muting effect, leaving neighboring cells able to be more active. This activity level creates the characteristic abnormal rhythm of TCD.

“Because you have less input, the area surrounding these neurons becomes a halo of gamma hyperactivity that projects to the cortex, which is what we pick up in the brain mapping,” Vanneste said.

While the signature alpha reduction to theta is present in each disorder examined in the study—Parkinson’s, pain, tinnitus, and depression—the location of the anomaly indicates which disorder is occurring.

“If it’s in the auditory cortex, it’s going to be tinnitus; if it’s in the somatosensory cortex, it will be pain,” Vanneste explained. “If it’s in the motor cortex, it could be Parkinson’s; if it’s in deeper layers, it could be depression. In each case, the data show the exact same wavelength variation—that’s what these pathologies have in common. You always see the same pattern.”

EEG data from 541 subjects was used. About half were healthy control subjects, while the remainder were patients with tinnitus, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, or major depression. The scale and diversity of this study’s data set are what set it apart from prior research efforts.

“Over the past 20 years, there have been pain researchers observing a pattern for pain, or tinnitus researchers doing the same for tinnitus,” Vanneste said. “But no one combined the different disorders to say, ‘What’s the difference between these diseases in terms of brainwaves, and what do they have in common?’ The strength of our paper is that we have a large enough data sample to show that TCD could be an explanation for several neurological diseases.”

With these results in hand, the next step could be a treatment study based on vagus nerve stimulation—a therapy being pioneered by Vanneste and his colleagues at the Texas Biomedical Device Center at UT Dallas. A different follow-up study will examine a new range of psychiatric diseases to see if they could also be tied to TCD. Tinnitus, is thought to be connected.

For now, Vanneste is glad to see this decades-old idea coming into focus and suggest that Tinnitus is getting better understood,.

“More and more people agree that something like thalamocortical dysrhythmia exists,” he said. “From here, we hope to stimulate specific brain areas involved in these diseases at alpha frequencies to normalize the brainwaves again. We have a rationale that we believe will make this type of tinnitus therapy work.”

The research was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF) and the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital.

Original Paper: Vanneste S, Song J-J, De Ridder D. Thalamocortical dysrhythmia detected by machine learning. Nature Communications. 2018;9(1103)

Source: Nature Communications, University of Texas at Dallas, Tinnitus.

Image: University of Texas at Dallas

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Tinnitus Management and therapy, Honiton Devon

Oticon ConnectClip Wins 2018 Red Dot Award for Product Design

Tinnitus management and therapy in Honiton, Devon. Honiton hearing centre

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

Neurofeedback May Reduce Severity of Tinnitus, Study Shows

Neurofeedback May Reduce Severity of Tinnitus, Study Shows

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Researchers using functional MRI (fMRI) have found that neurofeedback training has the potential to reduce the severity of tinnitus or even eliminate it, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the international society of radiologists, medical physicists, and other medical professionals announced on its website.

sherwood_fig_1

The standard approach to fMRI neurofeedback.

 Tinnitus is the perception of noise, often ringing, in the ear. The condition is very common, affecting approximately one in five people. As sufferers start to focus on it more, they become more frustrated and anxious, which in turn makes the noise seem worse. The primary auditory cortex, the part of the brain where auditory input is processed, has been implicated in tinnitus-related distress.

For the study, researchers looked at a novel potential way to treat tinnitus by having people use neurofeedback training to turn their focus away from the sounds in their ears. Neurofeedback is a way of training the brain by allowing an individual to view some type of external indicator of brain activity and attempt to exert control over it.

“The idea is that in people with tinnitus there is an over-attention drawn to the auditory cortex, making it more active than in a healthy person,” said Matthew S. Sherwood, PhD, research engineer and adjunct faculty in the Department of Biomedical, Industrial, and Human Factors Engineering at Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio. “Our hope is that tinnitus sufferers could use neurofeedback to divert attention away from their tinnitus and possibly make it go away.”

Matthew S. Sherwood, PhD

Matthew S. Sherwood, PhD

To determine the potential efficacy of this approach, the researchers had 18 healthy volunteers with normal hearing undergo five fMRI-neurofeedback training sessions. Study participants were given earplugs through which white noise could be introduced for periods of time. The earplugs also served to block out the scanner noise.

sherwood_fig_2

Overview of the experimental design. Each participant completed 5 sessions.

To obtain fMRI results, the researchers used single-shot echo planar imaging, an MRI technique that is sensitive to blood oxygen levels, providing an indirect measure of brain activity.

“We started with alternating periods of sound and no sound in order to create a map of the brain and find areas that produced the highest activity during the sound phase,”  Sherwood said. “Then we selected the voxels that were heavily activated when sound was being played.”

The volunteers then participated in the fMRI-neurofeedback training phase while inside the MRI scanner. They received white noise through their earplugs and were able to view the activity in their primary auditory cortex as a bar on a screen. Each fMRI-neurofeedback training run contained eight blocks separated into a 30-second “relax” period followed by a 30-second “lower” period. Participants were instructed to watch the bar during the relax period and actively attempt to lower it by decreasing primary auditory cortex activity during the lower phase.

Neurofeedback training paradigm.

Neurofeedback training paradigm.

The researchers gave the participants techniques to help them do this, such as trying to divert attention from sound to other sensations like touch and sight.

“Many focused on breathing because it gave them a feeling of control,” Sherwood said. “By diverting their attention away from sound, the participants’ auditory cortex activity went down, and the signal we were measuring also went down.”

A control group of nine individuals were provided sham neurofeedback—they performed the same tasks as the other group, but the feedback came not from them but from a random participant. By performing the exact same procedures with both groups using either real or sham neurofeedback, the researchers were able to distinguish the effect of real neurofeedback on control of the primary auditory cortex.

Control over the primary auditory cortex (A1 control) separated by group and session. The experimental group was found to have significantly higher control, averaged across training, than the control group.

Control over the primary auditory cortex (A1 control) separated by group and session. The experimental group was found to have significantly higher control, averaged across training, than the control group.

Whole brain effects of neurofeedback training.

Whole brain effects of neurofeedback training.

Effect of emotion on attention. Emotional distractors resulted in a significantly larger change in response latency in the experimental group when compared to the control group. However, the impact of emotion on attention was not found to change significantly between the groups across training.

Effect of emotion on attention. Emotional distractors resulted in a significantly larger change in response latency in the experimental group when compared to the control group. However, the impact of emotion on attention was not found to change significantly between the groups across training.

Activation of the primary auditory cortex in response to binaural stimulation. Activation significantly decreased from session 1 to session 5.

Activation of the primary auditory cortex in response to binaural stimulation. Activation significantly decreased from session 1 to session 5.

Improvements in control over the primary auditory cortex were found to be significantly related to decreases in the effect of emotion on attention.

Improvements in control over the primary auditory cortex were found to be significantly related to decreases in the effect of emotion on attention.

The study reportedly represents the first time fMRI-neurofeedback training has been applied to demonstrate that there is a significant relationship between control of the primary auditory cortex and attentional processes. This is important to therapeutic development, Sherwood said, as the neural mechanisms of tinnitus are unknown but likely related to attention.

The results represent a promising avenue of research that could lead to improvements in other areas of health like pain management, according to Sherwood.

“Ultimately, we’d like take what we learned from MRI and develop a neurofeedback program that doesn’t require MRI to use, such as an app or home-based therapy that could apply to tinnitus and other conditions,” he said.

Co-authors are Emily E. Diller, MS; Subhashini Ganapathy, PhD; Jeremy Nelson, PhD; and Jason G. Parker, PhD. This material is based on research sponsored by the US Air Force under agreement number FA8650-16-2-6702. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official views or policy of the Department of Defense and its Components. The US Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. The voluntary, fully informed consent of the subjects used in this research was obtained as required by 32 CFR 219 and DODI 3216.02_AFI 40-402.

Source: RSNA

Images: RSNA