Hearing aids available Bucks
Hearing aids available Chesham
Hearing aids available in Chesham by Oticon hearing
Hearing aids available Chesham at the Chalfont 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 Chalfont 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.
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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.
Hearing aids available Amersham
Chalfont Hearing News:
Oticon Introduces Opn Play
Oticon announces Opn Play™, a new child-friendly hearing solution, is said to “improve speech understanding in simple and complex listening environments and provides access to multiple speakers, without reducing environmental sounds important to incidental learning and safety.” The new Velox S™platform fuels Opn Play to provide children with the best possible conditions to grow, thrive, live, and learn, according to the company.
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According to pediatric best practice guidelines, it is crucial to give children as much of the auditory environment as possible, in particular speech, to create the best opportunities for learning and language development.* Opn Play featuring OpenSound Navigator™ (OSN) helps accommodate best practice by delivering the “optimal signal-to-noise ratio across varying listening environments to constantly optimize learning opportunities.” Unlike traditional omnidirectional and directional approaches, OSN reportedly gives children the best of both worlds—“always open” access to a balanced soundscape that helps support the natural way the brain makes sense of sound, even in difficult listening environments.
A study at Boys Town National Research Hospital with children ages 6-15 reported that OSN offered an average of 4 dB SNR improvement in speech recognition (up to 30%) whether the child faced the speaker directly or faced away. The same study found that OSN preserves competing speech to allow access to multiple talkers, supporting incidental learning for children.
“Young children naturally learn a tremendous amount from overhearing or incidental listening, but children with hearing loss have fewer opportunities to learn by overhearing, especially when they are not looking directly at the talker,” said Maureen Doty Tomasula, AuD, senior product & marketing manager, Oticon Pediatrics. “The ability of OpenSound Navigator to preserve speech coming from different locations allows access to other talkers in the background, which is fundamental to incidental learning in school-age children.”
In a separate study of listening effort for children, researchers at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam found that OSN improves speech understanding by up to 5 dB SNR with less perceived effort compared to traditional omnidirectional technology.**
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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.
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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.
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.
Hearing and Depression link
New report into depression and hearing has been published. We at the Chalfont hearing centre are well aware of this link and can help with making your hearing a little better.
Bucks hearing and Ear wax removal centre
Bucks hearing and Ear wax removal centre is at the Chalfont hearing centre the independent hearing and ear wax specialist covering Chalfont, Amersham and Henley. If you are having issues with hearing in general we can conduct a hearing test at one of our centres either in Chalfont or Henley. The comprehensive hearing test will take around an hour of your time, but the results will be know there and then putting you in control of your hearing. We can then discuss what hearing instrument (hearing aid) you may need if required. There could be other issues at play if you are not hearing as well as you think you should be. We can before the test look to see if you have any ear wax present. Ear wax isn’t usually an issue, we all need a little for good ear health. However in some cases excessive ear wax build up can become an issue and if you have excessive ear wax we will clear this before any test is conducted.
Ear wax removal Chesham Bucks
Ear wax removal is very easy and painless. We use the Microsuction ear wax removal method as this really is the gold standard of ear wax removal. We also can use the older method of ear wax removal called irrigation or some may know this as ear syringing. This method uses warm water to gently irrigate the ear to help release the ear wax out from the ear.
So if you are having some hearing issues and would like afamily run professional ear wax removal service then book an appointment. We can discuss at the appointment any of the issues at length. After all we are all ears!
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Chalfont hearing News:
Bringing world wide news on hearing to our local area.
Hearing aids for Buckinghamshire
Hearing aids for Buckinghamshire at the Chalfont Hearing Centre. We pride ourselves on being at the vanguard of hearing technology here at the Chalfont hearing centre. Leon Cox the lead audiologist is a first class audiologist who keeps up today with the new tech that comes out constantly. Today we are 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.
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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”.
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.
Chalfont hearing News:
Phonak Marvel Wins Silver Edison Award for Hearing Aid Design Technology
Phonak Marvel, said to be “the world’s first hearing aid” to combine clear sound quality with universal “made for all” Bluetooth connectivity, received a Silver Award in the hearing aid design technology category at the Edison Awards gala in New York City, the hearing aid manufacturer announced. The Edison Awards, named after Thomas Alva Edison, recognizes and honors innovators and innovations.
In October 2018, Phonak introduced Marvel, a hearing aid family that’s said to “combine all the top-requested features from hearing aid wearers” into one solution.
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According to Phonak, this technology also helps to improves accessibility to hearing care by empowering consumers to benefit from a suite of smart apps that connect hearing aid wearers with their hearing care professional via smartphone. These include video chat, instant feedback regarding their wearing experience, remote fine-tuning from anywhere in the world, and real-time, voice-to-text transcription of phone calls.
All nominations were reviewed by the Edison Awards Steering Committee and the final ballot sent to an independent judging panel. The judging panel was comprised of more than 3,000 professionals from the fields of product development, design, engineering, science, marketing, and education, including professional organizations representing a wide variety of industries and disciplines.
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For more information on the 2019 Edison Awards, please visit: www.edisonawards.com. Applications for the 2020 awards will open in August 2019.
Source: Phonak, Edison Awards
Ear wax removal Bucks
Ear wax removal Bucks is available at the Chalfont hearing centre. If you are suffering from excessive wax build up in the ear or ears we can come to your aid. Using Micro-Suction 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 from our sister site in Henley.
If you live in the Chalfont area then contact us for Ear wax removal near Little Chalfont Bucks.
Chalfont 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 by calling reception.
Chalfont hearing centre News:
Philips Hearing Aids Introduced by Demant
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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.
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“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.
“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.
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“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 aids Chalfont, Bucks
New hearing aids in Bucks at the Chalfont hearing centre. We are used to new hearing aids arriving from various manufacturers all year round, but when something is really new and exciting we love to tell you and our existing clients why we are so excited.
Hearing aids have evolved in recent years. Digital hearing aids have made the devices so small and powerful they are no longer what people expect to see. The huge hearing aid of old is getting less visible these days, the new as powerful hearing aids are now tiny. If you are looking for new hearing aids in Bucks, we are the place for you!
New hearing aids Buckinghamshire
The tech inside these little wonders are amazing on so many levels. Take one of the many things they can do. They can connect to your mobile phone and you can talk wirelessly without the phone in your hand as if you were talking to a person next to you. The hearing aid is catching your voice and transmitting this to your phone via bluetooth. You can hear perfectly as your hearing aid is in your ear so you don’t have to really listen hard to get what the conversation is. It’s all done without you doing anything. This tech isn’t new, it has been around for some years, but if your hearing aids are not ”Connected” versions, then maybe when you are next due a new set of hearing aids, you can ask to be told of what’s new in this ”Connected” world.
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Leon Cox the lead audiologist at Chalfont hearing will be happy to show you and explain all about what is new and on offer. He will also show you how you connect your new digital hearing aid with various tech such as mobile phones, iPads, and the T.V.
Make your appointment with Leon now by calling reception.
Chalfont hearing news:
Semtech and Sonova Launch Jointly-Developed Radio System
Semtech Corporation (Nasdaq: SMTC), a supplier of high-performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms, and Sonova, a developer of hearing care solutions, announced a jointly developed advanced radio system. The ultra-small integrated circuit (IC) is said to be a main component for a new generation of hearing aids, enabling support for multiple radio protocols in the 2.4GHz band, as well as effective operation on very low power, according to the announcement.
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“This chip allows Sonova to move in a new direction with our hearing aids,” said Marc Secall, director, research & development, wireless, at Sonova. “The breakthrough radio technology and power management are the game changers for hearing aids. It allows them to support a number of applications that have previously not been possible in a hearing aid, all at low power consumption and low supply voltage. Possible applications span from connectivity to any Bluetooth®-enabled audio device (eg, a smartphone or television) to full duplex audio streaming between hearing aids and connectivity to wireless microphones.”
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“Semtech continues to innovate and create flexible, reliable solutions for challenging applications associated with the best radio frequency connectivity at the lowest power and 0.8V supply voltage,” said Jean-Paul Bardyn, vice president of research and development of Semtech’s wireless and sensing products group. “Sonova has long been a leader for hearing devices. By implementing Semtech’s technology and enabling access to the Cloud, we believe that these devices will enrich the IoT-connected solutions which Semtech is serving with LoRa Technology.”
Source: Semtech, Sonova
Images: Semtech, Sononva
Starkey hearing aids, Little Chalfont
We sell and dispense all types of hearing aids at the Chalfont hearing centre. One of the big guns is Starkey. Recently they announced a new innovation for their Live Ai hearing aids. It now comes with fall detection, meaning it will detect if you have a fall and if you are paired with your phone it will message up to 3 contacts that you have specified before hand.
Read the full press statement bellow for more info, or if you are interested in knowing more please pop in or make an appointment so we can walk you through the new hearing aid and it’s features.
Chalfont hearing news:
Starkey Releases World’s First Hearing Aid with Fall Detection and Alerts to Livio AI Users
Starkey Hearing Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn, has released its new Fall Detection and Alert feature in Livio AI hearing aids to a limited number of hearing professionals, and plans to offer the feature to all dispensing professionals and their clients in late February, according to CTO Achin Bhowmik, PhD, in an interview with Hearing Review on Tuesday, December 18. Using integrated sensors, the Fall Detection and Alert feature is designed to automatically detect falls and send messages to as many as three contacts.
Fall detection sensors are currently implemented in all Livio AI devices as part of its standard hardware platform, and Starkey has been working on the Fall Alert feature to maximize its utility for end users prior to the system’s widespread implementation.
Falls are a massive public health problem, particularly for older adults. It’s estimated that injuries due to falls will account for $67.7 billion in public health spending by 2020, and according to the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) falls are currently responsible for an older adult being admitted to a US emergency room every 11 seconds. Additionally, people with hearing loss are particularly susceptible to falls. A Johns Hopkins study suggests that having hearing loss triples the risk of falls for people age 40 and older—and the findings hold up regardless of whether their hearing loss is moderate or severe.
How Starkey Fall Detection and Alerts work. Starkey’s new Fall Detection system is said to have several benefits over existing stand-alone medical alert systems, which are typically attached to a lanyard around the neck. “The first key advantage is that a hearing aid is almost always in your ear during your active hours, making for one less thing to carry or remember. One of the major problems with medical alert systems is getting people to wear them,” says Bhowmik. “Second, we have two fall detection sensors [in binaural fittings] for the right side and the left side, whereas most fall detection systems have only one. And the way the two sensors are spaced apart and the way in which you hold your head, we can get better and more accurate results than neck-worn sensors designed to detect falls.”
According to Bhowmik, part of Starkey’s recent research has revolved around what constitutes an actual fall as opposed false-positives such as quick downward movements or even accidentally dropping the hearing aid. “If you take the hearing aid off your ear and drop it on the ground, you will not get a false-positive for falling with Livio AI,” says Bhowmik. “We have been working on [eliminating false-positives] for over a year. A good AI system is only as good as the data you train the system with. In this particular case, if the left hearing aid detects a fall, it immediately checks with the right hearing aid to see if the data matches what would indicate a fall for the system. Unless it detects a fall from the hearing aids in tandem for both the right and left sides of the head, the device will eliminate those non-fall events and false-positives.”
The hearing care professional will be able to activate Fall Detection and Alerts through an easy-to-use interface within the fitting software for Starkey’s Livio AI hearing aids. The user can then enter the Auto Alert contacts—up to three people who are to be alerted in the event of a fall within the Thrive Hearing App. When a fall is detected by the system, an audio prompt asks the user if they have fallen. He or she then has 60 seconds to provide an Event Cancellation and stop the outgoing Fall Alert messages from being sent to their designated contacts. If the hearing aid user has fallen and elects to send the Fall Alert message to his/her contacts, they receive confirmation when each contact has been successfully reached.
The system also allows for a Manual Alert which can be activated by simply pressing the hearing aid button, sending an alert for a fall or non-fall related event. “Maybe you didn’t fall, but instead just felt dizzy or were otherwise forced to sit down on the floor,” explains Bhowmik. “Obviously, this is not a fall. But you can still use the Manual Alert to get help when you need it. By tapping a button, you can send an automatic alert to your contacts, telling them you need assistance.”
This is just another step in the direction of making the hearing aid a multi-purpose, multi-functional device, according to Starkey.
To learn more about Starkey’s Livio AI you can visit: https://www.starkey.com/hearing-aids/technologies/livio-artificial-intelligence-hearing-aids
Hearing aids Bucks
The Chalfont hearing centre is located in Little Chalfont Bucks. Little sister the the Henley hearing centre but does all the same procedures such as dispensing the latest Digital hearing aids and ear wax removal using Microsuction or the traditional syringing of the ears called water irrigation. Microsuction is the better way to remove wax in most cases.
Ear wax removal is available by appointment and a limited amount of out of hours appointments are available but please call 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 reception that you will need ear wax clearing first.
Earwax removal at Chalfont hearing centre Buckinghamshire
Earwax removal at The Chalfont hearing centre. Chalfont hearing centre is a premier private family run business with Leon Cox at the helm. Hearing tests and hearing aids are to be found at Chalfont hearing centre alongside ear wax removal using Micro-suction or the traditional water irrigation technique (ear syringing).
The very latest digital hearing aids by all the main manufacturers are available. Trail hearing aids are also available but please as Leon for a more comprehensive idea how this works in the Chalfont area.
Book now for your ear wax removal or for a hearing test.
Chalfont hearing centre, News:
GN Hearing Launches AI Personalized Hearing Solutions
GN Hearing announced that it has launched “the world’s first” hearing solutions that intuitively adapt to a hearing aid user’s personal preferences in any given sound environment. This breakthrough technology employs GN’s artificial intelligence (AI) solution in tandem with Apple’s Siri virtual assistant. The announcement was made at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas.
It follows GN’s longstanding commitment to progressing hearing aid technologies through extensive research and development programs. This new offering follows years of investment in GN’s dedicated in-house AI research center, investments in AudEERING, and extensive collaboration with other partners and academic research institutes. The launch helps to extend GN’s innovation footprint and partnership philosophy in the hearing care industry by what GN calls an “intuitive and personalized hearing solution.”
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“At GN, we believe that technology is at its best when it helps address people’s everyday needs and challenges,” said Marcus Desimoni, CFO of GN and Interim CEO of GN Hearing. “Employing AI technology in GN’s products brings this specific technology and innovation to the hearing aid space and is the first step in the journey to create a seamless hearing experience that will allow hearing aid users to ‘forget’ that they are wearing one. This is core to GN’s purpose of making life sound better.”
The new offering is an added benefit to the company’s latest 2.4 GHz product portfolio from ReSound and Beltone, and it will be reaching users in February 2019. Through the use of AI, GN expects to deliver a continuous stream of new user benefits through future software releases. This will enable users to always be at the forefront of innovation by updating existing GN Hearing instruments with new features.
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When GN was established 150 years ago, the company introduced the world’s first telegraph line from Europe to Asia, creating the Internet of its time. It is this same pioneering spirit that is being applied today to transform lives, helping people hear more, do more, and be more than they ever thought possible.
Source: GN Hearing
Hearing tests Chalfont, Bucks
Hearing tests in Bucks are available at the Chalfont Hearing Centre. Covering the the whole of Buckinghamshire and offers the very latest in hearing tests and other hearing related services such as ear wax removal using Microsuction and the traditional water irrigation technique (sometimes referred as ear syringing).
Chalfont hearing centre ear wax removal
The latest digital hearing aids would be offered after a comprehensive hearing test. These can be discussed after the test depending what your hearing loss (if any) are needed. Small in the ear digital hearing aids to the more powerful over the ear hearing aids are all available.
Chalfont hearing News:
Hearing aids have been getting a lot better over the years thanks to the tiny electronic hardware that can be packed inside and smart algorithms that produce great sound.
Henley hearing tests
Eargois a company that’s trying to introduce new features to hearing aids to make them more comfortable, easier to use, and cheaper to afford, an important issue in this field.
Henley hearing aids
The new Eargo Neo hearing aids are almost invisible when inside the ears. They have tiny “Flexi Palms” soft tips that keep the hearing aids inside the ear comfortably while optimizing the sound quality. They have a 16 hour battery life per charge, but a recharge case can be used to refresh the Neos on the go. Something useful when taking a plane ride.
Beaconsfield hearing aids
The Chalfont hearing aid centre covers the whole of Buck including Beaconsfield and Amersham. Suppliers of high end digital hearing aids including hearing accessories, hearing aid batteries and ear wax removal. Leon Cox the lead audiologist at The Chalfont hearing centre is a highly experienced expert on hearing and hearing tests. Please book an appointment if you need Micro-suction ear wax removal.
Chalfont Hearing Centre News:
Original story by: The Hearing Review
Researchers Identify Gene Associated with Age-related 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.
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“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.
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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.
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