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
New type of hearing aid for Buckinghamshire
We are always on the look out for new hearing tech at the Chalfont hearing centre. Today we are posting a review on the newly available Sivantos hearing aids that buck the trend of how hearing aids should look like.
Chalfont hearing news:
Sivantos Launches New Form Factor with Signia Styletto SLIM RIC
Why should a hearing aid looklike a hearing aid? That’s the question Sivantos engineers asked themselves when designing the new Signia Styletto receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid which is being launched today. Styletto is a rechargeable SLIM RIC that features a contemporary design and breaks the mold of traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids by taking advantage of how its lithium-ion battery technology doesn’t need to conform to the traditional size and shape of a button cell. The new RIC, which uses the Signia Nx platform with Own Voice Processing (OVP), also comes with an extremely small charger which offers fast charging solutions as well as three full charges on the go.
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“There are people who look at a hearing aid and really don’t see it matching their style,” says Eric Branda, AuD, director of product management at Sivantos Inc, Piscataway, NJ. “We see all these people wearing large Bluetooth headsets flashing on their ears—huge devices on their ears—and yet [the hearing industry has] struggled to get them to adopt hearing aids, and I think it really comes down to the fact that we keep asking them to wear what looks like a hearing aid.”
Stylistic freedom by thinking outside the button cell. In terms of the history of hearing aids, Branda points out that, going all the back to the original body-worn devices and moving into today’s CIC and RIC devices, hearing aid sizes and styles have been dictated by the size and shape of button cell batteries. Although lithium-ion rechargeable batteries have also been built in this coin design, they’re not restricted to it—as demonstrated by the new Styletto SLIM RIC. Instead, it departs from the traditional coin cell look by using a slim pin design to create a new form factor.
“With today’s battery technology, we can take a new approach,” says Branda. “Rather than being discreet by being invisible, we can be discreet and drive acceptance withvisibility, which is a novel approach for people with hearing loss.”
Differentiating a hearing aid practice by appealing to different wearers. With its slim, elegant design that harkens to other high-tech product categories, Styletto provides a new option for those who might be put off by the traditional look of a hearing aid. In a US study of 500 mostly new users (92%) with moderate hearing loss, Sivantos found that when participants were given a choice between traditional BTE (Motion) or RIC (Pure) designs, or given the option of no hearing aid at all, more than half (57%) opted for the RIC, 19% selected the BTE, while almost one-quarter (24%) chose to go without a hearing aid. However, when the new Styletto was inserted into the study as an option, 90% of the participants selected a hearing aid: 65% of the study participants selected the SLIM RIC design, while about equal percentages opted for either the BTE and RIC (13% and 12% respectively), and only 10% chose no hearing aid at all.
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Similarly, when consumers looked at a simulated practice storefront window with a standard portfolio, only about 16% of the participants chose an offering without Styletto, while 84% of people chose an offering with the new aid.
Branda says that this indicates Styletto provides dispensing professionals with a new product that aligns more closely with patients’ style and view of themselves. “It may come down to the fact that people know what a hearing aid looks like,” he says. “But, when they see Styletto, they think ‘I can see myself wearing that and it doesn’t make me look like a hearing aid wearer.’”
Portable rechargeability for the wearer. The Styletto’s recharging case is very small, and reportedly offers 19 hours of full-day use with a 3-hour charge. If the wearer forgets to charge the device, they can drop it into the charger for 30 minutes and be able to use the device for 5 hours, says the company. The charger also carries three additional full charges. Thus, if the user starts out in the morning with a full charge and the charger is fully charged, they actually have four days of portable battery capacity available to them, according to Sivantos. The charger also contains an LED indicator to view the status of the charging, as well as an automatic on/off feature which means that the charger can serve as the primary carrying case.
Nx technology. The Styletto hearing aid uses Signia Nxsignal processing which is designed to emphasize a natural experience using Sivantos’ Own Voice Processing (OVP) technology. Signia’s ear-to-ear wireless (Ultra HD e2e®) is used in OVP as well as the hearing aid’s Narrow Directionality for a more natural sound quality and better speech intelligibility in noise. The wireless technology also enables the device’s Twin Phone capabilities, which allows the wearer to place the phone up to the ear, obtain the acoustic signal, and then the hearing aid wirelessly sends the signal to the opposite ear for binaural advantage during the phone call.
The sleek instrument does not have push-buttons or a volume control. For those who want more control, the touchControl®App is a downloadable cell phone application that allows for the changing of volume, programs, and directionality. Similarly, miniPocket™, which resembles a keychain type remote control, allows for volume and program changes.
Styletto is available in all three of the Nx performance levels (7/5/3) and uses a Size M (60/119) receiver in lengths 2 and 3. The device is applicable for people with mild to moderately severe losses (60 dB gain).
For more information, visit pro.signiausa.com
Hearing aids, Bucks
New hearing aids are being launched al the time. Here at the Chalfont hearing centre, We keep an eye on what is new and what is exciting to report back. Today we are telling you of a very exciting new addition to the Starkey hearing aid line up for 2018.
Starkey has announced a very large update to there premier hearing aid line up:
Starkey Launches Livio AI Hearing Aid with Integrated Sensors and Artificial Intelligence
Starkey® Hearing Technologies is said to have “reinvented both the hearing experience and the hearing aid” with Livio AI. Livio AI is reportedly “the world’s first” Healthable™ hearing aid to utilize integrated sensors and artificial intelligence and the first device to track physical activity and cognitive health as measured by hearing aid use in social situations, Starkey announced.
The launch also includes a brand-new mobile app—Thrive™ Hearing—and three new wireless accessories, the Starkey Hearing Technologies TV, the Remote, and the Remote Microphone +. With the Remote Micorophone+, Livio AI is also the first hearing aid to feature Amazon® Alexa connectivity.
“First and foremost, Livio AI is the best performing and best sounding hearing aid we have ever made,” said Starkey Hearing Technologies President Brandon Sawalich. “What makes today a pivotal moment in the hearing industry, is that with Livio AI, we have transformed a single-use device into the world’s first multi-purpose hearing aid, a Healthable with integrated sensors and artificial intelligence. Livio AI is so much more than just a hearing aid, it is a gateway to better health and wellness.”
According to Starkey, the new Hearing Reality™ technology is said to provide an average 50% reduction in noisy environments, significant reduced listening effort, and newly enhanced clarity of speech, while the use of artificial intelligence and integrated sensors enables it to help optimize the hearing experience.
Artificial intelligence and advancements in hearing technology enabled Livio AI to provide the following unique features and benefits, according to Starkey’s announcement:
- Understand and see the real-time health benefits of using hearing aids
- Overall health and wellness tracking through the app’s combined brain and body health score (Thrive Wellness Score)
- Integration of the physical activity data measured by inertial sensors of the hearing aids with Apple Health and Google Fit apps
- Personalized Control for customizable adjustments to sound and programs
- Remote programming by users’ hearing professionals to put hearing healthcare in the hands of the users
- Natural user interface with tap control
- Unprecedented, natural listening, and speech clarity in the noisiest environments with the new Hearing Reality technology
- Integrated language translation
- Dual-radio wireless platform: 2.4GHz radio for streaming of phone calls, music, media, apps, and connecting with various devices including TVs and Amazon Alexa; near-field magnetic induction technology for true ear-to-ear communication and binaural noise reduction
- Fall detection with inertial sensors integrated within the hearing aids (App support coming soon)
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Designed to help users live their healthiest life, Livio AI is available as a RIC 312 and BTE 13 in a variety of colors. In addition to the above features, Livio AI also includes Starkey’s feedback cancellation, high-definition music prescription, Multiflex Tinnitus Technology, and Surface™ NanoShield pioneering water, wax, and moisture repellant system to help protect and ensure durability and dependability.
How integrated sensors and AI helped Starkey transform the hearing aid
“Artificial intelligence, coupled with advanced sensing devices, is rapidly changing the world around us,” Starkey Hearing Technologies Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Engineering Achin Bhowmik said. “We are proud to introduce these transformational technologies into the world of hearing aids to both optimize the users’ hearing experiences and enable them to continuously monitor and improve their overall health besides treating hearing loss, reducing the associated risks of dementia, anxiety, and social isolation.”
The integrated 3D motion sensors inside Livio AI enable the hearing aids to detect movement, track activities, and recognize gestures. The hearing aids communicate with each other and compatible mobile accessories to deliver meaningful, real-time feedback about users’ overall body and cognitive health and fitness.
This technology may allow people to take a proactive and personal approach to treating hearing loss, which has been linked to various health issues including dementia, cognitive decline, anxiety, stress, social isolation, and an increased risk of falling.
Livio AI is reportedly the first device utilizing the ears to help users better understand not only how to improve their overall health and wellness, but also the deep connection between treating hearing loss and reducing health risks. This helps to improve key areas of wellbeing by reconnecting users to the people, places, and activities they love.
Livio AI is available in the United States and Canada at this time, with a global rollout to more than 20 countries in 2019. For more information about Livio AI hearing aids, the Thrive mobile app, and new Starkey Hearing Technologies accessories, visit www.starkey.com.
Also see Hearing Review’s follow-up article detailing Starkey’s launch of Livio AI.