Smart phone hearing aids at Chalfont

GN Hearing and Google Partner to Enable Direct Streaming from Android Devices to Hearing Aids

GN Hearing logo

GN Hearing and Google have announced a new technology partnership that will reportedly make GN Hearing the first manufacturer to enable a full spectrum of direct audio streaming from Android devices to hearing aids. In a future Android release, direct streaming may also become available for ReSound LiNX Quattro™ and Beltone Amaze™ hearing aid users.

“According to the World Health Organization, around 466 million peopleworldwide have disabling hearing loss,” said Seang Chau, vice president of engineering at Google. “This number is expected to increase to 900 million people by the year 2050. Google is working with GN Hearing to create a new open specification for hearing aid streaming support on future versions of Android devices.”

According to the joint announcement, users will be able to connect and monitor their hearing aids without using an intermediate device for streaming from Android phones and tablets to their hearing aids.

“We are honored to partner with Google for this important development, which will enable direct streaming for even more hearing aid users through their Android devices,” said Anders Hedegaard, CEO, GN Hearing. “This is another example of how GN Hearing relentlessly strives to drive innovation forward by developing new products and solutions with unique benefits for hearing aid users and audiologists around the world.”

Google has published the new hearing aid specification for Android smartphones available here: Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on Bluetooth Low Energy Connection-Oriented Channels.

The Chalfont hearing centre is the place where you will find the very latest in digital hearing tech. If you need hearing aids, streaming devices or ear wax removal we do it all. Hearing loss in no longer a condition that is not treatable.

Source: GN Hearing, Google

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Eargo Launches Eargo Max Hearing Device

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Eargo, a direct-to-consumer hearing technology company, announced the launch of Eargo Max.

Eargo Max is designed with an all-new chip set and operating system as well as “Flexi Domes,” that are designed to help decrease feedback and increase gain while preserving speech clarity, according to Eargo.

Each hearing aid also comes with sound profile memory and voice indicators that are designed to make Eargo Max even easier to use than its predecessor.

“We asked our customers, ‘How can we make Eargo even better?’  With their help we developed Eargo Max, the best invisible hearing aid on the planet,” said Christian Gormsen, Eargo’s CEO. “We’re proud of our latest creation but not spending any time patting ourselves on the back.  There’s too much to do and we’re just getting started.”

Eargo provides support to clients transitioning to their hearing aids with the help of a team of licensed personal hearing guides. The company is backed by a group of investors (including NEA, The Nan Fung Group, Maveron, and Charles and Helen Schwab) who continue to invest their time, money, and resources into helping Eargo fulfill its mission.

Eargo Max Pricing & Availability

Eargo Max is available for purchase online at eargo.com or by phone at 1-800-61-EARGO. The Eargo hearing system is regularly priced at $2,500 but currently available for a limited time at the introductory price of $2,250. Financing is available for as low as $104 a month. Each purchase of an Eargo hearing aid comes with a 45-day money back guarantee, one-year warranty, and ongoing support by Eargo’s licensed hearing professionals. Eargo Max is only available in the United States.

Source: Eargo

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Chalfont Hearing Centre joins the UK Elite for Audiology and Hearing Aids

Chalfont Hearing Centre and Henley Hearing Centre are proud to announce that as of September 2015, we have satisfied the criteria to be considered as one of the UK’s Elite Hearing Centres. (more…)

NHS Hearing Aid Ban

Amidst ever increasing government cuts, the NHS has taken a huge impact. This week, NHS leaders have proposed to save £1.2 million by no longer giving out hearing aids to patients with mild to moderate hearing loss. (more…)

Why do hearing aids sometimes use up batteries so quickly and how can they be more effIcient? It's a conversation I have often with my patients.

Hearing aid batteries

It’s no secret that battery life is a common complaint amongst hearing aid users. According to research from a 2010 MarkeTrak survey, battery lifetime is the challenge that receives the most negative ratings from users. Battery usage is a complicated factor and measuring it can be even more difficult. As hearing aid technology allows for stronger and more powerful devices, bigger and better batteries are required. This is difficult in a time when clients are demanding smaller and more discreet devices.

Environmental factors like temperature, humidity, air quality, and noise pollution can also have bad effects on batteries. Measuring battery life in hearing aids is a lot like measuring fuel efficiency in a car. But with a car, drivers can turn off certain features such as seat warmers, air condition, and radio sound to improve fuel efficiency. This isn’t possible with hearing aids, which are running and processing sound at all times using all their features. The only exception to this rule are functions that allow for streaming of sound from one device to another and can be turned off when not in use. Luckily there are a few ways to make hearing aid batteries work more efficiently.

So I suggest following these tips to get the most out of your batteries:

Turn it off: Don’t keep your hearing aid running at night or when it isn’t in use. Open the battery drawer and remove the battery.

Use fresh produce: The fresher the batteries are the better, so pay attention to the expiry date. Do not keep large quantities of batteries in stock. And be advised that mercury free batteries have shorter lifespan than traditional batteries.

Keep it dry: Humidity can greatly decrease battery efficiency. Keep hearing aids away from water and as dry as possible when in humid environments.

Don’t keep it too dry: An environment that is too dry can also damage the batteries. The ideal relative air humidity is somewhere around 50 – 60 percent. This is why it is not a good idea to store batteries in the fridge, where the air humidity is generally low. Make sure the battery is removed when using a dry aid kit.

Keep it cool: Batteries like cool environments so keep them away from the heat – but do not store them in the fridge, where they may be damaged.

Keep them unopened: Don’t remove the batteries from the original packaging before you need to use them.

Customers asking for a precise answer to how long their batteries will be running are likely to be disappointed. While manufacturers give estimates on expected battery life, the real-life usage is dependent on each individual case. “There is no easy way to tell how long hearing aid batteries will last in a given hearing aid, so providing your customers with a precise answer is not always possible,” says battery expert Ole Toft from Widex. “

I therefore think it is worthwhile to ask our users to report back on their experiences with products from different manufacturers to obtain a general overview of real life current consumption. If you have further questions about the battery life of your hearing aid or you need hearing aid batteries then please call us on 01494 765144.

How to buy your hearing aid?

As a hearing professional who has sat in front of NHS patients, one of the most common questions I was asked was, how do I go about getting a better hearing aid? However, owing to departmental impartially little advice or assistance was advised. These patients were largely left to their own devices to source more satisfactory solutions. Now sat in front of my private patients it is apparent that they are still ill informed and unaware of the vastly different options available to them. Leaving me to be the primary person answering their questions, which can be difficult to fit into a 90 minute consultation. After visiting several different health professionals, typically their G.P., NHS audiology, a national hearing aid company and doing internet research the patient arrives not knowing typical price structures, difference in clinical qualifications (competence) for achieving optimum outcomes, the importance of technology level and service packages in achieving satisfaction. Therefore I thought I would offer some advice based on the Which Magazine report.

If you decide to buy hearing aids rather than go to the NHS the price of the hearing aids is bundled with the service and follow up. In order to compare hearing aid prices it is important to compare like for like only. So make sure you know what is included. You are buying a whole on-going package not just a one off purchase. Independent hearing aid centres tend to be cheaper and have more flexibility when offering products because they are not generally tied to manufacturers. National companies tend to offer older technologies at lower price points, have higher overheads and therefore premium products are often more expensive and often they do not verify the fitting of the hearing aid which is important to ensure correct prescription. Hearing aid devices last on average 3 to 5 years, so you will need to build in the cost of replacing them. Manufacturer’s guarantees are attached to service packages to a maximum of 5 years, manufacturer’s guarantees are essential as you are buying an electronic device that can go wrong. Lifetime aftercare is a gimmick term used by companies to give you a false perception of the life of the hearing aid and the ongoing costs, it is a valueless term, as any quality independent hearing aid centre will always look after you and your hearing aid once you have purchased a hearing aid on an ongoing basis.

Ongoing costs can include batteries, domes and wax guards which can total an average spend of £50 to £100 per year. With some independents this cost is included in their premium packages. Batteries can be purchased for between £2 and £4 a pack (6 batteries).

There are 7 main manufacturers who all have four current ranges and therefore four price points. The four ranges are a basic, mid-level, advanced and premium level, with the performance and cost increasing as you go up the range. Average prices are from £500 to £3500 per hearing aid. The average spend in the UK is £3k for a pair of hearing aids. At Chalfont Hearing are prices range from £750 to £2000 per hearing aid with a basic service package. If you buy mid-level hearing aids from high street hearing centres you are likely to get older or lesser quality technology than obtainable from independent hearing centres. If you buy premium hearing aids (from high street hearing centres, like Boots, Specsavers, Hidden Hearing) you will often pay an unnecessary premium for exactly the same product. Hearing aids supplied by the NHS (such as the Oticon Zest) are mid-level technology and were released to the private market in 2008, they have since been super-seeded by 2 generations. We would advise against going for cheap hearing aids especially those under £500-£600 pounds as they are often old or extremely basic technology, these hearing aids maybe ‘OK’ for housebound elderly patients who can not get to the hospital but will offer limited benefit.

However getting value for money is about more than just the cost of the instruments. Actually the price is fairly trivial, its about service and therefore the difference of whether the hearing aids work or not. The amount you pay should reflect the quality of the instrument, the service and your lifestyle requirements. If your lifestyle is fairly relaxed and you rarely leave the house a more basic hearing aid is perfect, if you are still working and socially active then you will need something more premium.

Key questions to ask if you are buying a hearing aid:

1. Have you been offered a choice, have you reviewed the pro’s and con’s of different hearing aid styles and features?

2. Have you trialled them to see if they actually benefit you?

3. What is the warranty period (repairs and replacement)?

4. What level and quality will the fitting be done to?

5. How will the aftercare be delivered?

Five things to watch out for:

1. Some companies offer free guides on hearing aids and follow these up with home visits. They are often lead generation companies who operate in a sales based way.

2. Do not buy hearing aids online without a full hearing assessment, the hearing aid is only as good as the programming.

3. If you are shopping around, only compare ‘like for like’. That includes make, manufacturer, warranty, aftercare, additional extras, qualification of clinician and quality of premises and equipment.

4. Some companies have tie ins with manufacturers, this includes the NHS and therefore options will be limited if this is the case.

5. You should not need to replace hearing aids more than once every 3 years.

For your piece of mind Chalfont hearing Centre have considered and incorporated all of this information into our service delivery model to ensure our patients get the best advice on hearing aids possible. To have a hearing test and get informed and impartial information contact 01494 765144.

http://www.which.co.uk/home-and-garden/bathroom-and-personal-care/guides/how-to-get-the-best-hearing-aid/how-to-buy-your-hearing-aids/

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