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.
Buckinghamshire hearing aids
Hearing aids at the Chalfont Hearing Centre covering Bucks and beyond
The Chalfont hearing centre are a truly independent small hearing company based in Little Chalfont. Leon Cox is a fully qualified audiologist and a member of the professional body of hearing experts. Fully comprehensive hearing test, ear wax removal using Micro-Suction and the traditional ear wax removal using water irrigation. For a full hearing test please call to book an appointment.
Our comprehensive hearing tests are conducted with the latest hearing and digital audiology equipment. Please go here to watch our hearing test video and other hearing related videos. If you feel you need a hearing test them please call Sam on reception to book an appointment.
Digital hearing aids
We pride ourselves on dispensing the very latest digital hearing aids supplied by the leading hearing aid manufacturers. The digital hearing aids of today are more advanced than you could imagine. They connect wirelessly with your mobile phone, iPad, and T.V. just ask Leon Cox our lead audiologist to advice you on hearing aid connectivity.
Chalfont hearing News:
Widex Announces New Insights into EVOKE Hearing Aid’s AI Function
Widex announced the first data gathered from the WIDEX EVOKE™ hearing aid, which is said to achieve “a new level of Artificial Intelligence (AI)” through machine learning, and is helping to bring new insights into how users are taking control of their sound environment to improve their hearing experience, according to the company.
Denmark-based Widex launched the WIDEX EVOKE hearing aid in April. The hearing aid is reportedly the first to give users the ability to employ real-time machine learning that can solve the tricky hearing problems that users face in their daily lives.
“We launched WIDEX EVOKE with SoundSense technology to put users back in control of the most difficult hearing situations,” said Jens Brehm Nielsen, data science & machine learning architect at Widex. “And we can see that EVOKE users have taken the opportunity to do that and, in the process, are helping us understand more about them. That information will help us to make the EVOKE and future hearing aids even better.”
Hearing aids in Bucks
SoundSense Learn is an AI system, because AI is said to refer to systems that solve tasks humans are inherently good at—such as driving a car, doing the dishes, etc. SoundSense Learn expands into entirely new applications by helping end users adjust their hearing aids in the moment, reportedly something that no humans can replicate to the same degree of accuracy, according to Widex.
The SoundSense Learn smartphone app is connected to the EVOKE hearing aids and uses machine learning to guide users in optimizing the settings to their exact needs. The app gathers a variety of anonymous data such as how often they turn the volume up or down, which sound presets they use, and how many custom settings they create—including those made with SoundSense Learn.
Ear wax removal Amersham
Tagging of custom settings has proved to be one of the interesting pieces of data generated by EVOKE.
“We found that many people have created a setting and tagged it with, for instance, ‘work’ which suggests that it is something that our end users need and want,” said Nielsen. “And from SoundSense Learn we already have an idea of how they like the settings.”
Some hearing aids give users the ability to customize their sound experience by adjusting frequency bands to boost or cut bass, middle or high tones. Adjusting frequencies works well in many situations once the initial settings have been set by a skilled audiologist. However, some situations are so complex that hitting the right combination of adjustments can be difficult.
“Widex hearing aids are well known for the quality of their sound,” said Nielsen. “But SoundSense Learn has added an extra layer of quality sound on top of that by using a machine learning algorithm together with reinforcement learning—the two key ingredients in state-of-the art AI algorithm, that enables the algorithm to learn in the moment.
“The algorithm learns an optimal setting every time a user finds the sound to be a little below expectations in a given sound environment. It learns these settings by simply asking the user to compare two settings that are carefully picked by the algorithm. This allows it to learn an optimal setting in a new environment very fast.”
By collating and analyzing the anonymous data WIDEX EVOKE will continue to become even smarter as time passes.
Ear wax removal Chalfont, Bucks
Ear wax removal, Bucks
Do you live in Bucks? In need of a hearing test or your hearing aid repaired? Or maybe you need your ear wax removed by a leading ear wax removal centre? Here at the Hearing clinic Henley, Leon Cox can help with all your hearing needs.
Ear wax removal Buckinghamshire
We are experts in ear wax removal and use various techniques. Micro-suction is just one way we can get out your hard impacted ear wax and the traditional water irrigation is another. You can watch our video on Micro-suction here.
Tinnitus therapy in Bucks
DID YOU KNOW?
1 in 10 adults in the UK suffer with tinnitus.
Many of those suffering are not offered any help, and are simply told to live with it.
Tinnitus can almost always be improved for the client.
How can we help with Tinnitus?
We firstly meet with you and sit and discuss your full hearing history, work out what triggered the problem, we then talk to you about evaluating the degree of tinnitus and how it is impacting on your life, where your issues are. We normally examine the ears with our video otoscope and show you the results on our flat screen. We then carry out a puretone audiogram to assess how good your hearing is, or if there are any areas of damage (such as those caused by noise for example).
We then sit down and consult with you, armed with all the information, and work out a care plan for you, using the tools available to us as explained above.
Please call our clinic for an appointment and we will fit you in as soon as possible. We are based in Little Chalfont.
How long will a fully charged hearing aid last
How long should the hearing aid battery last after a full charge, and how does Bluetooth affect this?
The Chalfont hearing centre is a premier independent hearing company based in Chalfont Buckinghamshire. We supply all manufacturers hearing aid batteries and conduct hearing tests. Microsuction ear wax removal is our speciality here and we also still use the traditional technique of water ear irrigation if you prefer. Hearing aid batteries can be bought over the counter or we can post them to you if this is easier.
This Weeks blog is about the hearing aid battery and how long these should last from a full charge.
Original story by the Hearing review
Chalfont hearing Blog:
How long should the hearing aid battery last after a full charge, and how does Bluetooth affect this
Q: How long should the battery last after a full charge? How much does Bluetooth activity affect this?
A: This is a great and very important question. Battery life is dependent on several factors including the amount of capacity of the battery, how fast the hearing aid drains the current, and the wear behaviors and habits of the user.
I like to use the example of an automobile. How many gallons of gas does the fuel tank hold or, for hearing aid batteries, how many mAh capacity is in the battery? How many miles per gallon does the car use or how many mA does the battery drain both when streaming and not streaming? And, finally, is the car driven on the highway or in the city and is the air conditioner on or off? Or, for hearing aids, how many hours per day does the hearing aid stream? Does the hearing aid use 2.4 GHz streaming or does it is use NFMI with an intermediate device that has its own battery? And, what features are turned on or off on the hearing aid?
The Chalfont Hearing Centre for ear wax removal in Bucks
Please note a factor we have learned in our electronics’ lab. Not all hearing aids are the same. Some 2.4 GHz products have current drains averaging 4.8-5.0 mA when streaming while other 2.4 GHz products using lower power Bluetooth will drain the battery at 3.0-3.4 mA while streaming. Some 2.4 GHz products when not streaming may have battery drains of 1.8-2.0 mA, while some of the newer products with bilateral beam-forming may drain the battery at 2.3-2.5 mA when not streaming.
The key is to know your products and know your patient’s listening habits. This is critical to good counseling.
Q: Is the life of the hearing aid circuit reduced as a result of using the rechargeable system? It did happen when [a previous model of hearing aid] were rechargeable.
A: The ZPower Rechargeable System has been thoroughly evaluated by the hearing aid manufacturers and there is no indication that the system will have a negative effect on the life of the hearing aid circuit. The ZPower silver-zinc battery is designed to mimic the performance of traditional zinc-air batteries and is transparent to the DSP of the hearing aids. Extensive studies of hearing aids using the ZPower System also show the system including the ZPower silver-zinc batteries have no impact on the electrophysiologic performance of the hearing aids. Therefore, the ZPower System will not have a negative impact on the hearing aid circuitry or performance.
Previous Q & A’s
Q: What’s a realistic time frame for a rechargeable hearing aid battery to last?
A: Rechargeable silver-zinc batteries last about a year. They are removeable and therefore easily replaced. It is recommended that rechargeable silver-zinc batteries are replaced once a year by a hearing care professional.
Li-ion batteries are sealed within the hearing aid, and are usually removable only by the hearing aid manufacturer. They last approximately 4 to 5 years.
Q: What would happen if my patient accidentally places their hearing aids in the charger while they have zinc air batteries in them?
A: When the hearing aids are put on the charger, the charger will check to see what type of battery is in the hearing aid. If the charger detects a disposable zinc air battery, the lights on the charger will turn red. If the charger detects a silver-zinc battery, the lights on the charger will start blinking green; once the battery is fully charged, the lights will turn solid green.
Ear wax removal Chalfont,Bucks
Q: Can my patients overcharge a ZPower battery if they leave it in the charger for too long?
A: The batteries will not overcharge if left in the charger. It is a best practice to put the hearing aids back on the charger when the hearing aids are not being worn during the day. This will keep the hearing aids turned off and the batteries charged. For long-term storage, if batteries will not be used for over 2 weeks, the rechargeable batteries should be removed from the hearing aids and stored in a location where they will not touch each other or other metal objects.
Q: What happens when the silver-zinc rechargeable battery is getting low on power?
A: The hearing aid wearer will hear the low battery warning. Once the low-battery warning occurs or once a hearing aid shuts off due to a low battery condition, the battery door should not be opened and closed to reboot the hearing aid. Rebooting after the low battery warning can override the smart circuitry in the battery door into believing it has a traditional disposable battery installed and, although the hearing aid will continue to work for a short period, it may over-discharge the battery. If a low-battery warning from the hearing aids is received, the hearing aids should be placed in the charging base for charging or the batteries should be replaced with non-rechargeable batteries. The rechargeable batteries should not be stored with metal objects such as keys or coins.
Q: How often should the batteries be charged?
A: The batteries should be fully charged every night. Once the hearing aids are finished charging, the indicator lights turn from blinking green to solid green. A full charge may take up to 7 hours—the charge time varies based on how much the battery was depleted during the day. Do not try to extend battery life by charging every other day, as this increases the chances of depleting the battery. A fully depleted battery will take longer to charge and may not fully charge in time for next use.
Q: What happens if the hearing aid wearer forgets to charge the battery at night?
A: They can use a disposable zinc-air battery until it is convenient to re-charge the batteries—ideally the rechargeable batteries should be charged the next night. The rechargeable silver-zinc batteries are a gold color, so they will not be mixed up with zinc-air disposable batteries. The rechargeable batteries should be stored in a safe place and should not be stored with metal objects such as keys or coins.
The best hearing tests in Bucks is at the Chalfont hearing centre.
The latest news from the Chalfont hearing centre, Bucks:
Original story by The Hearing Review
Phonak Wins Three Red Dot Product Design Awards
Phonak, a global provider of hearing aids and wireless communication solutions, has been honored with three international Red Dot Awards for excellence in product design, the company announced. The product award winners include: Virto B-Titanium, said to be “the world’s first” mainstream titanium custom hearing aid; Audéo B-Direct, a Bluetooth®* hearing aid that is designed to directly connect to both a cell phone** and TV; and EasyView Otoblock, a product for hearing care professionals that is designed to allow for deeper ear impressions. The winners were celebrated at the Red Dot Gala earlier this month in Essen, Germany.
“Three Red Dot Award winners in one year is proof of what happens when you combine Phonak’s dedication to superior product design with a neverending quest to push the limits of innovation,” said Thomas Lang, senior vice president at Phonak. “Receiving honors for the Virto B-Titanium and EasyView Otoblock is a tribute to the amount of research and development Phonak devotes to producing the most cosmetically appealing and highest quality custom products on the market. Meanwhile, the awards for the revolutionary Audéo B-Direct keep on adding up!”
According to Phonak, the Virto B-Titanium is “the world’s first mainstream” custom hearing aid made of premium medical-grade titanium. It was designed to combine the benefits of titanium including superior strength and an extra light weight with the latest in 3D printing technology.
With the Audéo B-Direct, hearing aid wearers can answer or reject a phone call and talk completely hands-free by pressing the push button on their hearing aid. Meanwhile, the optional TV Connector uses proprietary AirStream™ technology to help connect wearers to their favorite TV programming for an immersive audio experience.
The EasyView Otoblock is designed to give hearing care professionals the ability to take deeper ear impressions by allowing “full visualization” of the eardrum, according to the company. Made from the seal of a Phonak Lyric™, the EasyView Otoblock attaches to existing otoscopes and speculas and is designed to provide better vision and light during Otoblock placement. It’s compatible with standard impression-making materials and stays on the impression during the scanning process, according to the company’s announcement. This may result in an average of 6mm more canal length information.
“I want to congratulate the award winners sincerely on their wonderful success in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2018,” said Professor Dr Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award. “Success in the competition is proof of the good design quality of the products and once again shows that companies are on the right path. When I speak about good design, I am referring to more than just an attractive product. All of the products are characterized by outstanding functionality. This demonstrates that the designers have understood their clients and their needs.”
For an inside look into the people behind Phonak’s Red Dot Award-winning products, visit:
* Bluetooth is a registered trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc; Android™ is a trademark owned by Google, Inc
** with Bluetooth® 4.2 wireless technology and most older Bluetooth phones.
Tinnitus Relief app makes living with tinnitus easier
Chalfont Hearing, News:
An international study from 2012 found that 15% of the global population experience permanent tinnitus but many more are affected by temporary tinnitus. A Danish study, also from 2012, with 14,000 participants found that 27% of those in the study experienced either temporary or permanent tinnitus. In other words, more than one quarter of the Danish population are affected tinnitus.
But despite a lot of research on the topic, there is still a lot to learn about tinnitus. According to Chief Physician Ture Andersen at Odense University Hospital in Denmark, tinnitus is often a symptom of damage to the inner ear. Tinnitus is not a disease, but can be a symptom of a disease or an impaired auditory system. It is defined as the perception of noise or ringing in the ears when no external sound is actually present. The sounds are most commonly described as ringing, whistling, wheezing, buzzing or humming, but can be described in many other ways. A large Swedish study showed that excessive noise at work and in other environments results in fatigue, headaches and ultimately impaired hearing or tinnitus. Another study, from France, shows that only one in 123 people with tinnitus do not have a hearing impairment.
Eva Jensen, who lives in Greve, Denmark, fits in well to these statistics. With a moderate to severe hearing loss, Eva can’t hear much without her hearing aids and she experiences tinnitus.
“What does your tinnitus sound like?” I asked Eva. She explained that it is a constant buzzing sound, which lies somewhere in the middle of the pitch spectrum. “I think it developed at my work where there was a lot of noise,” says Eva. In 2006 she stopped working as an Educational Assistant in a nursery because of a back injury and since then she has suffered from constant back pain.
“It was only when I stopped working that I started thinking about my tinnitus. My husband was still working so I was at home alone where it was completely quiet and I became more aware of the ringing in my ears.” She experiences it all day, especially when she takes off her hearing aids in the evening. “Since my injury I have the TV on constantly – it helps me think of something other than my back pain,” says Eva.
Eva’s experience with Relief app
“It’s really great to be able to use the app when my tinnitus is driving me crazy. If you are strongly affected by tinnitus, I would definitely recommend this app. There are so many possibilities with creating your own soundscapes, you can always find a sound that’s comfortable. There is no doubt that I’m going to keep it on my phone, so I can get help when my tinnitus it really bothering me,” says Eva with a smile.
The idea of helping people focus on something other than the pain, or in this case tinnitus, is the basic concept of a new app made by the hearing aid manufacturer GN Hearing. The free app is called ReSound Relief and offers a combination of audio therapy and relaxation exercises. My editorial team and I tested the app, which offers some new and unique features compared to other apps we have tried. One very smart feature of the app is that it allows you to create your own soundscapes.
Relief allows you to combine a variety of familiar sounds such as birdsong or bubbling water with music and other therapeutic nature sounds. The ability to combine sounds, offers an almost endless amount of possibilities. This sound mixing feature allows you to mix five different sounds and you can individually adjust the volume of each sound.
After downloading the app, you can listen to music on your smartphone as usual, and if you use wireless hearing aids or headphones, you can stream directly through them. The ReSound Relief app also contains a feature called MyRelief that keeps a record of how you use the app and which sounds you have used the most. It creates a personalized plan and allows you to track your progress, much like an exercise app. “When we were developing the concept of this app, we analyzed the market for other tinnitus apps and found that mostof them just use sounds as a distraction. Very few actually guide the user through the tinnitus management process. Tinnitus management for many is more than just playing a sound.
The idea of MyRelief is that you can use it as part of the treatment provided by a Hearing Care Professional. Because MyRelief keeps a record of your use, it provides useful information that a Hearing Care professional can use as part of tinnitus counseling” says Michael Piskosz, Senior Audiologist at GN Hearing.
The app gives you some great tools to help you with your tinnitus.
Avoid a vicious spiral
Worldwide, around 700 million people experience tinnitus. Around two thirds of them have mild to moderate tinnitus. People in the last third with more severe tinnitus can even experience feelings of desperation and hopelessness. International studies show that only about 3-5% of people seek help, so many people just try to live with tinnitus without any support. “In the United States, 70-80% of the population have a smartphone, and because we know that many people are desperately searching for help, we made this app. In most cases, the app will be beneficial. In addition to the distracting sounds there is also therapeutic support,” says Michael Piskosz. “ReSound Relief includes relaxation exercises and techniques for dealing with the tension and stress that tinnitus can cause. If you are extremely affected by tinnitus, the app alone will not be enough but it is a very useful tool and a great first step for people seeking help with tinnitus.”
This strategy is supported by a study by Professor Ture Andersen from Odense University Hospital. “Unfortunately, the more emotionally you react to your tinnitus, the more the tinnitus signals will pass through the hearing center in your brain. If you respond by getting irritated or with stress or anxiety, it can actually make you more aware of the tinnitus sounds. You may end up getting into a “vicious cycle” where your tinnitus ends up controlling you. It’s important to learn how to avoid this. One way is by training yourself not to respond to the tinnitus sounds. This way, the brain will filter out the noise signals to a large extent before reaching the hearing center. Then you’ll only hear a weak sound in the background, a light soundscape that makes it less distracting.” The study also shows that music can help. The volume of the music should not be particularly high – it’s not about covering up the sound of tinnitus with a louder sound – but about focusing your attention on the music and away the tinnitus.
“In some cases, when you use audio therapy to get relief from your tinnitus, the focus on it can increase,” explains Michael Piskosz. “Many people believe that this is due to the introduction of the technology to help with the tinnitus. Often times, people monitor their tinnitus more, to see if the technology is helping. It’s similar to when someone gets a new pair of shoes. At first, they are very aware of the shoes, and getting used to the fit. But, with time, they adjust and acclimate. Typically, users will find that the focus on tinnitus will be reduced over-time by using an app like ReSound Relief.”
More information about ReSound apps, please click here.
Hearing aids in Chalfont, Bucks
For the very latest Digital hearing aids and earwax removal techniques visit the Chalfont hearing Centre
The Chalfont hearing centre can proudly boast of being one of the best independent hearing clinics in Bucks. Leon Cox the lead audiologist and owner know a thing or two when it comes to hearing aids and clearing earwax.
Henley hearing clinic News:
Researchers Identify New Type of Vertigo, According to Study Published in ‘Neurology’
With vertigo, people have episodes of dizziness that can last from minutes to days. Vertigo can be caused by serious conditions, such as tumors, or conditions that are fairly benign, such the inner ear disorder Meniere’s disease. But for some people, no cause can be found.
In this new study, neurologists have identified a new type of vertigo where treatment may be effective.
“These conditions can be difficult to diagnose and quite debilitating for people, so it’s exciting to be able to discover this new diagnosis of a condition that may respond to treatment,” said study author Ji-Soo Kim, MD, PhD, of Seoul National University in Seongnam, South Korea.
To diagnose this new condition, the person sits in a dark room and the examiner moves the patient’s head forward and then the head is shaken horizontally for about 15 seconds. Then the patient opens his or her eyes and a video recording is taken of eye movements. The neurologists discovered that after the test, people with this new condition had eye movements called nystagmus that lasted longer than for other people. The new condition is called recurrent spontaneous vertigo with head-shaking nystagmus.
Among 338 people with vertigo with no known cause, 35 had this new condition and were included in the study. The participants had attacks of vertigo ranging from two or three times a week to once a year. They also experienced nausea or vomiting, headaches, and intolerance of head motions during the attacks.
The participants were compared to 35 people with other conditions that can cause vertigo, such Meniere’s disease, vestibular migraine, and vestibular neuritis. The test measured the time constant, or the time that represents the speed with which the reflexive eye movements can respond to change. For those with the new condition, the time constant during the primary phase of the nystagmus was 12 seconds, while it was six seconds for those with Meniere’s disease and five seconds for those with vestibular neuritis and vestibular migraine.
The neurologists also found that people with the new type of vertigo were more likely to have severe motion sickness than those with other types of vertigo.
A total of 20 of the 35 people with the new type of vertigo who had frequent attacks and severe symptoms were given preventive medication. About one-third of those had partial or complete recovery with the new medication. During the long-term follow-up of an average of 12 years after the first symptoms for 31 participants, five reported no more attacks, 14 said their symptoms had improved, and only one said symptoms had gotten worse.
Kim said that people with this condition may have a hyperactive mechanism in their vestibular system that helps the brain respond to movement of the body and in the environment.
“It’s possible that the vertigo occurs when this unstable mechanism is disrupted by factors either within the person’s body or in their environment,” Kim said.
The study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea. Learn more about the brain at www.BrainandLife.org, the American Academy of Neurology’s free patient and caregiver magazine and website focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health. Follow Brain & Life on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The American Academy of Neurology is said to be the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 34,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy.
Original Paper: Lee S-U, Jeong-Yoon C, Hyo-Jung K, Ji-Soo, K. Recurrent spontaneous vertigo with interictal headshaking nystagmus. Neurology. 2018. Available at: http://n.neurology.org/content/early/2018/05/23/WNL.0000000000005689
Source: AAN, Neurology
Hearing loss centre in Bucks.
The Chalfont hearing centre in Buckinghamshire for all info on hearing aids and ear issues.
Salt- or Sugar-Based Solution May Diminish Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
It’s well known that exposure to extremely loud noises—whether it’s an explosion, a firecracker, or even a concert — can lead to permanent hearing loss. But knowing how to treat noise-induced hearing loss, which affects about 15% of Americans, has largely remained a mystery. That may eventually change, thanks to new research from the Keck School of Medicine of USC, which sheds light on how noise-induced hearing loss happens and shows how a simple injection of a salt- or sugar-based solution into the middle ear may preserve hearing, the school announced on its website. The results of the study were published in PNAS.
To develop a treatment for noise-induced hearing loss, the researchers first had to understand its mechanisms. They built a tool using novel miniature optics to image inside the cochlea, the hearing portion of the inner ear, and exposed mice to a loud noise similar to that of a roadside bomb.
They discovered that two things happen after exposure to a loud noise: sensory hair cells, which are the cells that detect sound and convert it to neural signals, die, and the inner ear fills with excess fluid, leading to the death of neurons.
“That buildup of fluid pressure in the inner ear is something you might notice if you go to a loud concert,” said the study’s corresponding author John Oghalai, MD, chair and professor of the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and holder of the Leon J. Tiber and David S. Alpert Chair in Medicine. “When you leave the concert, your ears might feel full and you might have ringing in your ears. We were able to see that this buildup of fluid correlates with neuron loss.”
Both neurons and sensory hair cells play critical roles in hearing.
“The death of sensory hair cells leads to hearing loss. But even if some sensory hair cells remain and still work, if they’re not connected to a neuron, then the brain won’t hear the sound,” Oghalai says.
The researchers found that sensory hair cell death occurred immediately after exposure to loud noise and was irreversible. Neuron damage, however, had a delayed onset, opening a window of opportunity for treatment.
A simple solution
The buildup of fluid in the inner ear occurred over a period of a few hours after loud noise exposure and contained high concentrations of potassium. To reverse the effects of the potassium and reduce the fluid buildup, salt- and sugar-based solutions were injected into the middle ear, just through the eardrum, three hours after noise exposure. The researchers found that treatment with these solutions prevented 45–64% of neuron loss, suggesting that the treatment may offer a way to preserve hearing function.
The treatment could have several potential applications, Oghalai explained.
“I can envision soldiers carrying a small bottle of this solution with them and using it to prevent hearing damage after exposure to blast pressure from a roadside bomb,” he said. “It might also have potential as a treatment for other diseases of the inner ear that are associated with fluid buildup, such as Meniere’s disease.”
Oghalai and his team plan to conduct further research on the exact sequence of steps between fluid buildup in the inner ear and neuron death, followed by clinical trials of their potential treatment for noise-induced hearing loss.
Original Paper: Kim J, Xia A, Grillet N, Applegate BE, Oghalai JS. Osmotic stabilization prevents cochlear synaptopathy after blast trauma. PNAS. 2018. Available at: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/05/01/1720121115.short?rss=1
Source: Keck School of Medicine of USC, PNAS
Image: Keck School of Medicine of USC
Oticon ConnectClip Wins 2018 Red Dot Award for Product Design
Commenting on the award win, Gary Rosenblum, president, Oticon, Inc said, “Oticon is honored to receive another prestigious Red Dot Award, this year for our new ConnectClip. This internationally recognized symbol of excellence is a testament not only to ConnectClip’s convenient, lifestyle-enhancing features, but also to the work that goes into the design and continued evolution of our Oticon Opn hearing aid, a 2017 Red Dot Award winner.”
The multi-functional ConnectClip is designed to turn Oticon Opn hearing aids into a high-quality wireless headset for clear, hands-free calls from mobile phones, including iPhone® and Android™ smartphones. Sound from the mobile phones is streamed directly to the hearing aids and ConnectClip’s directional microphones pick up the wearer’s voice. ConnectClip serves double duty as a remote/partner microphone, helping to provide improved intelligibility of the speaker wearing it, either at a distance (up to 65 feet), in very noisy environments or in a combination of the two. Opn wearers can also use ConnectClip as a remote control for their hearing aids.
Wearable Technology Award Win
Oticon also celebrates a win at the UK’s Wearable Technology and Digital Health Show Awards. Oticon Opn received the Innovation Award for wearable originality and advancement. The win reflects votes by a combined method of professional jury and public website vote.
Organizers at the Wearable Technology and Digital Health Show Awards commented on the win: ”The judges felt that the Oticon solution presented a revolutionary approach to hearing loss, and that its technology presented a real opportunity for users to interact with the growing number of smart devices in the home. A worthy winner.”
Learn more about the expanded Oticon Opn family, ConnectClip and entire range of wireless connectivity accessories at www.Oticon.com/Connectivity.
* Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple Watch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android, Google Play, and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.
Images: Oticon, Red Dot
New Hearing Devices in Development May Expand Range of Human Hearing
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are developing atomically thin ‘drumheads’ able to receive and transmit signals across a radio frequency range far greater than what we can hear with the human ear, the University announced in a press release.
But the drumhead is tens of trillions times (10 followed by 13 zeros) smaller in volume and 100,000 times thinner than the human eardrum.
It’s been said that the advances will likely contribute to making the next generation of ultralow-power communications and sensory devices smaller and with greater detection and tuning ranges.
“Sensing and communication are key to a connected world,” said Philip Feng, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and corresponding author on a paper about the work published March 30 in the journal Science Advances. “In recent decades, we have been connected with highly miniaturized devices and systems, and we have been pursuing ever-shrinking sizes for those devices.”
The challenge with miniaturization: Also achieving a broader dynamic range of detection, for small signals, such as sound, vibration, and radio waves.
“In the end, we need transducers that can handle signals without losing or compromising information at both the ‘signal ceiling’ (the highest level of an undistorted signal) and the ‘noise floor’ (the lowest detectable level),” Feng said.
While this work was not geared toward specific devices currently on the market, researchers said, it was focused on measurements, limits, and scaling which would be important for essentially all transducers.
Those transducers may be developed over the next decade, but for now, Feng and his team have already demonstrated the capability of their key components—the atomic layer drumheads or resonators—at the smallest scale yet.
The work represents the highest reported dynamic range for vibrating transducers of their type. To date, that range had only been attained by much larger transducers operating at much lower frequencies—like the human eardrum, for example.
“What we’ve done here is to show that some ultimately miniaturized, atomically thin electromechanical drumhead resonators can offer remarkably broad dynamic range, up to ~110dB, at radio frequencies (RF) up to over 120MHz,” Feng said. “These dynamic ranges at RF are comparable to the broad dynamic range of human hearing capability in the audio bands.”
New dynamic standard
Feng said the key to all sensory systems, from naturally occurring sensory functions in animals to sophisticated devices in engineering, is that desired dynamic range.
Dynamic range is the ratio between the signal ceiling over the noise floor and is usually measured in decibels (dB).
Human eardrums normally have dynamic range of about 60 to 100dB in the range of 10Hz to 10kHz, and our hearing quickly decreases outside this frequency range. Other animals, such as the common house cat or beluga whale, can have comparable or even wider dynamic ranges in higher frequency bands.
The vibrating nanoscale drumheads developed by Feng and his team are made of atomic layers of semiconductor crystals (single-, bi-, tri-, and four-layer MoS2 flakes, with thickness of 0.7, 1.4, 2.1, and 2.8 nanometers), with diameters only about 1 micron.
They construct them by exfoliating individual atomic layers from the bulk semiconductor crystal and using a combination of nanofabrication and micromanipulation techniques to suspend the atomic layers over microcavities predefined on a silicon wafer, and then making electrical contacts to the devices.
Further, these atomically thin RF resonators being tested at Case Western Reserve show excellent frequency ‘tunability,’ meaning their tones can be manipulated by stretching the drumhead membranes using electrostatic forces, similar to the sound tuning in much larger musical instruments in an orchestra, Feng said.
The study also reveals that these incredibly small drumheads only need picoWatt (pW, 10^-12 Watt) up to nanoWatt (nW, 10^-9 Watt) level of RF power to sustain their high frequency oscillations.
“Not only having surprisingly large dynamic range with such tiny volume and mass, they are also energy-efficient and very ‘quiet’ devices,” Feng said. “We ‘listen’ to them very carefully and ‘talk’ to them very gently.”
The paper’s co-authors were: Jaesung Lee, a Case Western Reserve post-doctoral research associate; Max Zenghui Wang, a former research associate now at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), Chengdu, China; Keliang He, a former graduate student in physics, now a senior engineer at Nvidia; Rui Yang, a former graduate student and now a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford University; and Jie Shan, a former physics professor at Case Western Reserve now at Cornell University.
The work has been financially supported by the National Academy of Engineering Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Award (Grant: FOE 2013-005) and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (Grant: ECCS-1454570).
Original Paper: Lee J, Wang Z, He K, Yang R, Shan J, Feng PX-L. Electrically tunable single- and few-layer MoS2nanoelectromechanical systems with broad dynamic range. Science Advances. 2018;4(3):eaao6653.
Source: Case Western Reserve University, Science Advances