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 Ear wax removal Devon

 Ear wax removal Devon

 

The best ear wax removal Devon is at the Honiton hearing centre. If you are in need of expert advice for ear wax issues or you know you have ear wax issues, the Honiton hearing centre have various ways they can remove it. The latest technique is using a small hoover type of machine.  This very gently removes ear wax using Micro-Suction. Suction so small you can hardly feel it.  Colin Eaton, the lead audiologist at Honiton hearing demonstrates how Micro-suction works here. The video really does show how simple and effective this way of removing ear wax is.

 Ear wax removal Devon

Sometimes ear wax removal can be called ear syringing. Honiton hearing can do the traditional ear syringing technique if you prefer.

Devon wax removal

Ear wax removal in Devon at the Honiton hearing centre.

Out of hours ear wax appointments can be available, please call reception and ask Sam specifically for an out of ours appointment if your ear wax removal is urgent.

 

Honiton hearing news:

 

New Apple Watch Feature to Measure Noise Levels

The Honiton hearing centre offers the very latest in hearing aids and hearing wearable connectivity.

 

Ear wax removal and hearing aids, Bath, Somerset

A new feature on the Apple watchOS 6 will help users keep track of the decibel level in their surrounding environment, according to an article on Mic.

The app, known as “Noise,” will periodically use the watch’s microphone to check sound levels, and will issue a warning if sound reaches or exceeds 90 decibels, according to Mic. Users will also be able to perform checks on demand as well.

The Mic article does note, however, that the Noise app will not measure sound levels when listening to music via headphones.

To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

Source: Mic

Image: © Jair Fonseca – Dreamstime.com

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.

Tiverton ear wax removal

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 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.

 

Ear wax removal near Tiverton Devon

Ear wax removal near Tiverton Devon

 

Ear wax removal near Tiverton Devon is available at the Honiton hearing centre. If you are suffering from excessive wax build up in the ear or ears we can come to your aid. Using Microsuction or the traditional irrigation technique, (some call it ear syringing), it only take a few mins to painlessly  remove excess ear wax. Please click here to see how Micro-Suction works via our new online video.

To see how ear syringing works please click here. 

If you live in Tiverton area then contact us for Ear wax removal near Tiverton Devon

Honiton hearing centre also conduct lots of other ear related issues such as hearing tests, dispensing the very latest digital hearing aids along with hearing aid servicing and setting up of new hearing aids after you purchase them. If you need any of our services please book in using our online booking calendar or call Sam on reception.

 

Honiton hearing news:

Philips Hearing Aids Introduced by Demant

Published on 

Philips-Hearing-Aids-Honiton-Hearing-Devon

Honiton hearing Devon

Demant, Copenhagen, Denmark, has announced the introduction of Philips branded hearing aids to the global hearing aid market, according to a press release from the company. A new player, the Philips brand is entering the hearing healthcare market with a complete range of premium hearing aids, accessories, and applications to best serve hearing aid users. Demant states Philips Hearing Solutions will quickly become a trusted brand with hearing care providers and users, as it has great potential around the world to present unique opportunities for hearing care professionals in an ever-evolving market.

In August, Demant  announced a licensing agreement with Philips, which is headquartered in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, to bring Philips-branded solutions to the hearing healthcare market.  Demant (formerly William Demant Holding) is the parent group of Oticon, Sonic, and Bernafon hearing aids, as well as Oticon Medical.

Ear wax removal near Tiverton Devon

“Based on a shared vision of improving the lives of people through innovative healthcare this new cooperation will not only change the way we see hearing healthcare, but also widen the definition of hearing healthcare, supporting healthier lifestyles and active aging,” said Spencer Ramsey, Senior Director of Brand Licensing, Philips, in the press statement. “Combining Demant’s world-leading hearing aid technology with Philips’ global brand presence in healthcare, the cooperation will enrich the hearing healthcare experience.”

The new premium Philips hearing aids—named Philips HearLink—are now available for hearing care professionals in selected countries. The look and feel of the Philips HearLink hearing aids is designed to cater to today’s baby boomer generation with design and usability developed for this expanding market. Philips HearLink users will benefit from connectivity between their hearing aids and the devices they use in their everyday life, such as smartphones and televisions. The hearing aids will reportedly be manufactured by Demant using the Velox-S and Velox platforms, and will be available in a complete range of styles, including RICs, BTEs, ITCs, CICs, and IITs.

Demant President Søren Nielsen provided an overview of the Oticon Opn S and Opn Play at an investor and media presentation.

Søren Nielsen

“The Philips hearing aids will provide users with an innovative, future-proof hearing solution,” says Demant President & CEO Søren Nielsen. “We live in an age where user engagement and digital services are shaping the future of healthcare technology. More and more people are conscious of taking control of their own personal healthcare and are using electronic devices to do so. In this light, Philips Hearing Solutions offers new and exciting premium solutions alongside Philips’ healthcare ecosytem, which will attract interest and generate significant benefits to users, ultimately supporting our valued customer base of hearing care professionals.

Tiverton ear wax removal at the Honiton Hearing centre

“With this partnership, we take connected hearing healthcare to the next level and offer new and exciting solutions within integrated healthcare services to the benefit of both professionals and people suffering from a hearing loss,” continued Nielsen. “Health, caring, and innovation are cornerstones in the vision of both Demant and Philips, which makes the partnership a great match for the future. Furthermore, it will strengthen and add value to both companies’ ambition to improve people’s lives.”

The Philips brand is something of a “back to the future moment” for more seasoned dispensing professionals. Philips was a well-known hearing aid brand in the 1990s, and the company embarked on a technical collaboration with Telex then exited the market just before the turn of the new century when Beltone purchased Philips’ hearing aid technology. The Hearing Review published numerous news and technical articles about Philips technology in the 90s.

Traditionally, hearing aid branding has not played a large role in hearing healthcare; MarkeTrak 9 suggested that less than half of hearing aid users (43%) could identify the brand of their device. However, many experts in the industry believe this is due to change, as more consumers are expected to enter the market and there is continued competition and aggressive marketing among dispensing chains, pharmacies, mass merchandisers, and online retailers. The Philips brand brings with it one of the world’s best known and trusted healthcare and consumer electronics brands.

For further information about Philips Hearing Solutions and a full presentation of the Philips HearLink product range, visit: hearingsolutions.philips.com

New Hearing aid batteries Honiton

New Hearing aid batteries Honiton

 

Hearing aid batteries in Honiton. Hearing aid batteries available at the Honiton hearing centre by popping in or calling and we can post them out the same day.  Hearing aid batteries come in all shapes and sizes and we stock most if not all for all the most common manufacturers.  Click here to see the new hearing aid battery battery information video on our website.

At the Honiton hearing centre we also conduct ear wax removal using Microsuction and the tradition ear syringing method using water. It’s not really ear syringing but water irrigation, and you can see here how this works by clicking here.

 

Honiton hearing news:

Varta to Unveil Power One Evolution at 2019 AAA Show

Published on 

power one Full Product Line 2019

The significance of the quality of a tailor-made power supply is emphasized by Stiftung Warentest, a German consumer test organization. In the current test, VARTA Microbattery GmbH—a company supplying retail and OEM batteries for electronics companies—announced that it came out on top among the 14 hearing aid batteries tested in the “most important types,” 312 and 10.

“The test winner rating has motivated us to intensify our research efforts to develop an even better product,” said Torsten Schmerer, general manager, healthcare, at VARTA Microbattery GmbH.

The result of these efforts is the power one EVOLUTION. The newly developed product as well as the test-winning batteries and the full range of batteries and rechargeable batteries were showcased on March 22-23, 2019 at the 41st Congrès des Audioprothésistes in the Palais des Congrès de Paris (UNSAF). They will also be showcased on March 27-29, 2019 at the Congress of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) in Columbus, USA, Stand 630.

New Hearing aid batteries Honiton Devon

According to VARTA Microbattery, it has developed the power one EVOLUTION in response to the needs of consumers who require reliable batteries with longer operating times. The power one EVOLUTION zinc-air battery is based on the Thin Foil Technology (TFT) and is said to be characterized by a “very high energy density.” Moreover, its capacity is said to be even higher than that of the tried-and-tested hearing aid batteries by VARTA Microbattery, resulting in a longer service life. The service life of the type 312 is reportedly up to 15% longer. The company says that field tests have shown that “nine out of ten customers would recommend the battery because of the significantly longer operating times.”

Hearing aid batteries Honiton

“The limited space in hearing aids is the reason why the power supply can only be increased by improving the technology of the hearing aid. Our expertise is based on the synergy of extensive material research, many years of experience in cell development, and our own production equipment technology,” said Schmerer.

More detailed information on the power one products is available at the fair stands or online at: www.powerone-batteries.com.

Source: Varta Microbattery

 

Honiton hearing centre, Devon

Honiton hearing centre, Devon

 

 

Honiton hearing centre caters for all types of hearing loss and ear wax removal. Colin Eaton, the lead audiologist at the Keynsham hearing centre has over 15 years audiology expertise to make sure his clients get the best hearing result no matter what the hearing issues are.

Ear wax removal is available by appointment and a limited amount of out of hours appointments are available but please call Sam on reception if you require out of hours.

Comprehensive hearing tests are also available. Please make sure that any ear wax issues are clear before you take the test, if you need ear wax removing prior the test please call reception and make this clear to Sam that you will need ear wax clearing first.

If you are confused on what hearing aids are for and for what type of hearing loss, please watch our new video here that explains why so many different types of hearing aids there are.

 

Honiton hearing centre, News

Researchers Restore Hearing via Gene Therapy in Deaf Mouse Model

Published on 

In collaboration with the universities of MiamiColumbia, and San Francisco, scientists from the Institut Pasteur, InsermCNRSCollège de FranceSorbonne University, and the University of Clermont Auvergne have managed to restore hearing in an adult mouse model of DFNB9 deafness, a hearing disorder that represents one of the most frequent cases of congenital genetic deafness, Institut Pasteur announced on its website. Individuals with DFNB9 deafness are profoundly deaf as they are deficient in the gene coding for otoferlin, a protein which is essential for transmitting sound information at the auditory sensory cell synapses. By carrying out an intracochlear injection of this gene in an adult DFNB9 mouse model, the scientists successfully restored auditory synapse function and hearing thresholds to a near-normal level. These findings, published in the journal PNAS, open up new avenues for future gene therapy trials in patients with DFNB9.

Honiton hearing centre Devon

The left panel is a schematic representation of the human ear. Sound waves are collected by the outer ear made up of the pinna and ear canal. The middle ear, composed of the eardrum and ossicles, transmits sound waves to the inner ear, which features the cochlea – the hearing organ responsible for transmitting auditory messages to the central nervous system. The right panel shows an immunofluorescence image of the auditory sensory epithelium within an injected cochlea. The inner hair cells have been stained for otoferlin in green. Otoferlin is detected in almost all of these cells. The inset is a high magnification area showing an inner hair cell that has not been transduced. © Institut Pasteur

The left panel is a schematic representation of the human ear. Sound waves are collected by the outer ear made up of the pinna and ear canal. The middle ear, composed of the eardrum and ossicles, transmits sound waves to the inner ear, which features the cochlea – the hearing organ responsible for transmitting auditory messages to the central nervous system. The right panel shows an immunofluorescence image of the auditory sensory epithelium within an injected cochlea. The inner hair cells have been stained for otoferlin in green. Otoferlin is detected in almost all of these cells. The inset is a high magnification area showing an inner hair cell that has not been transduced. © Institut Pasteur

Ear wax removal Devon

Over half of nonsyndromic profound congenital deafness cases have a genetic cause, and most (~80%) of these cases are due to autosomal recessive forms of deafness (DFNB). Cochlear implants are currently the only option for recovering hearing in these patients.

Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) are among the most promising vectors for therapeutic gene transfer to treat human diseases. AAV-based gene therapy is a promising therapeutic option for treating deafness but its application is limited by a potentially narrow therapeutic window. In humans, inner ear development is completed in utero and hearing becomes possible at approximately 20 weeks of gestation. In addition, genetic forms of congenital deafness are generally diagnosed during the neonatal period. Gene therapy approaches in animal models must therefore take this into account, and gene therapy efficacy must be demonstrated following a gene injection when the auditory system is already in place. In other words, therapy must reverse existing deafness. The team led by Saaïd Safieddine, a CNRS researcher in the Genetics and Physiology of Hearing Unit (Institut Pasteur/ Inserm) and coordinator of the project, used a mouse model of DFNB9, a form of human deafness that represents 2-8% of all cases of congenital genetic deafness.

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DFNB9 deafness is caused by mutations in the gene coding for otoferlin, a protein that plays a key role in transmitting sound information at the inner hair cell synapses. Mutant mice deficient in otoferlin are profoundly deaf as these synapses fail to release neurotransmitters in response to sound stimulation, despite the absence of detectable sensory epithelial defects. DFNB9 mice therefore constitute an appropriate model for testing the efficacy of viral gene therapy when it is administered at a late stage. However, as AAVs have limited DNA packaging capacity (approximately 4.7 kilobase (kb)), it is difficult to use this technique for genes whose coding region (cDNA) exceeds 5 kb, such as the gene coding for otoferlin, which has a 6 kb coding region. The scientists have overcome this limitation by adapting an AAV approach known as dual AAV strategy because it uses two different recombinant vectors, one containing the 5’-end and the other the 3’-end of the otoferlin cDNA.

A single intracochlear injection of the vector pair in adult mutant mice was used to reconstruct the otoferlin coding region by recombining 5′ and 3′-end DNA segments, leading to long-term restoration of otoferlin expression in the inner hair cells, and then restored hearing.

Honiton hearing centre, Devon

The scientists have therefore obtained initial proof of the concept of viral transfer of fragmented cDNA in the cochlea using two vectors, showing that this approach can be used to produce otoferlin and durably correct the profound deafness phenotype in mice.

The outcomes achieved by the scientists suggest that the therapeutic window for local gene transfer in patients with DFNB9 congenital deafness could be wider than thought, and offers hope of extending these findings to other forms of deafness. These results are the subject of a patent application filed.

Hearing aids Tiverton, Devon

In addition to the institutions mentioned in the first paragraph, this research was funded by the French Foundation for Medical Research, the European Union (TREAT RUSH), and the French National Research Agency (EargenCure and Lifesenses LabEx).

Original Paper: Akil O, Dyka F, Calvet C, et al. Dual AAV-mediated gene therapy restores hearing in a DFNB9 mouse model. PNAS. 2019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1817537116

Source: Institut Pasteur, PNAS

Image: Institute Pasteur

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 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.

  13. Exeter ear syringing available now

Bridport ear wax removal

Bridport ear wax removal

 

Bridport earwax removal by the Honiton hearing centre.

 

Ear wax removal in the Bridport area is difficult as now the local GP’s have stopped the procedure as it is now not covered by the NHS.  Colin Eaton the lead audiologist at the Honiton Hearing centre is available to step in and take some of the slack in the area.  Specialising in ear wax removal using the Microsuction technique or the traditional water irrigation.  Apart from ear wax removal the Honiton hearing centre also conduct hearing tests and the servicing of hearing aids. Hearing aid batteries are on sale at the centre and the dispensing of hearing aids by the leading hearing aid brands.

 

Honiton hearing news:

BIHIMA Releases Q3 Results on UK Hearing Aid Sales

Original story by The Hearing review

BIHIMA_LOGO_RGB_150dpi

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.

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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.

“We are seeing solid growth in the private hearing care sector which is in line with expectations based on our aging 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.

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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

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Hearing aids East Devon

The Honiton hearing centre

 

Hearing aids East Devon, at the Honiton hearing centre run by Colin and Sam Eaton. Digital hearing aids have changed beyond recognition in the last 5 years. If you are using older hearing aids or have been using NHS hearing aids and would like to try the latest discreet digital hearing aids with connectivity with your mobile phone, tablet and T.V. Honiton hearing offer a free trial. Please contact Sam on reception. We use PhonakGN ReSoundOticon and other manufacturers hearing aids.

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The Honiton hearing centre also conduct ear wax removal using Microsuction and the traditional water irrigation technique. You can watch our video here to see how we do this and how painless and quick it really is.

Honiton hearing news:

Researchers Identify Gene Associated with Age-related Hearing Loss

 

Mouse study reveals contributor to hearing loss

An international group of researchers, led by Ronna Hertzano, MD, PhD, associate professor, Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), and Michael Bowl, PhD, program leader track scientist, Mammalian Genetics Unit, MRC Harwell Institute, UK, have identified the gene that acts as a key regulator for special cells needed in hearing.

The discovery of this gene (Ikzf2) will help researchers better understand this unique type of cell that is needed for hearing and potentially develop treatments for common age-related hearing loss, UMSOM announced.

“Outer hair cells are the first inner ear cells lost as we age,” said Hertzano, whose research will be published in the journal Nature. “Age-related hearing loss happens to everyone. Even a 30-year-old has lost some of the outer hair cells that sense higher pitch sounds. Simple exposure to sound, especially loud ones, eventually causes damage to these cells.”

The inner ear has two kinds of sensory hair cells required for hearing. The inner hair cells convert sounds to neural signals that travel to the brain. This compares to outer hair cells, which function by amplifying and tuning sounds. Without outer hair cells, sound is severely muted and inner hair cells don’t signal the brain. Loss of outer hair cells is said to be the major cause of age-related loss of hearing.

About the Research

Hertzano’s group, in collaboration with Ran Elkon, PhD, senior lecturer, Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel, took a bioinformatics and functional genomics approach to discover a gene critical for the regulation of genes involved in outer hair cell development. Bowl’s group studied mice from the Harwell Aging Screen to identify mice with hearing loss. Bowl identified mice with an early-onset hearing loss caused by an outer hair cell deficit. When the two groups realized that they were studying the same gene, they began to collaborate to discover its biological function and role in outer hair cell development. The gene is Ikzf2 gene, which encodes helios. Helios is a transcription factor, a protein that controls the expression of other genes. The mutation in the mice changes one amino acid in a critical part of the protein, which impaired the transcriptional regulatory activity of helios in the mice.

To test if helios could drive the differentiation of outer hair cells, the researchers introduced a virus engineered to overexpress helios into the inner ear hair cells of newborn mice. As a result, some of the mature inner hair cells became more like outer hair cells. In particular, the inner hair cells with an excess of helios started making the protein prestin and exhibited electromotility, a property limited to outer hair cells. Thus, helios can drive inner hair cells to adopt critical outer hair cell characteristics.

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Funding for the research was provided by Action on Hearing Loss UK, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense (DOD).

As Professor Steve Brown, PhD, director, MRC Harwell Institute, said, “The development of therapies for age-related hearing loss represents one of the big challenges facing medicine and biomedical science. Understanding the genetic programs that are responsible for the development and maturation of sound-transducing hair cells within the inner ear will be critical to exploring avenues for the regeneration of these cells that are lost in abundance during age-related hearing loss. The teams from the University of Maryland and the MRC Harwell Research Institute have given us the first insights into that program. They have identified a master regulator, Ikzf2/helios, that controls the program for maturation of outer hair cells. Now, we have a target that we can potentially use to induce the production of outer hair cells within damaged inner ears, and we are one step closer to offering treatments for this disabling condition.”

Original Paper: Chessum L, Matern MS, Kelly MC, et al. Helios is a key transcriptional regulator of outer hair cell maturation. Nature. November 21, 2018.

Source: University of Maryland School of Medicine, Nature

Image: University of Maryland School of Medicine