Best hearing test in Bucks
Hearing aids and ear wax at the Chalfont hearing centre
Ear wax can be a debilitating condition if not treated. Your hearing will suffer and you maybe become less involved in your surroundings. Not being able to hear properly really can be a pain in the ear in more ways than one. At the Chalfont hearing centre we can asses your ears, if there is ear wax to be removed then we can do this painlessly and very quickly using Micro-Suction. You don’t feel anything at all and it can be done very very quickly by Leon Cox the lead audiologist at the Chalfont hearing centre.
Ear wax removal
Book an appointment and we can soon sort out any hearing issues or ear wax issues. Todays hearing aids/instruments really are breathtaking on how they have evolved in the last 5 years. These digital hearing aids are something else when it comes to connectivity. They will connect to your iPhone, Android phone and wearable digital watches. Ask us to give you more information.
Ear wax removal for the Buckinghamshire area and beyond.
Chalfont hearing centre News:
Phonak Launches Marvel with Universal Binaural Streaming and New Level of Sound Quality
New levels of binaural sound quality and universality. One key feature that immediately jumps out in Audéo M is its sound quality. For real audiophiles and others accustomed to hi-fi systems, the sound quality in today’s hearing aids is very good, but can still prompt them to ask why the devices can’t sound like stereo headphones. Of course, the problem—which has been around even before made-for-iPhone (MFi) systems became available—stems primarily from the venting of the aid for real-life environmental speech and sounds. This provides the important natural sound benefits associated with open-fit aids, but has required a trade-off in streamed sound quality. With the Audéo M, Phonak has reinserted a clear richer sound into streamed music, TV, or other devices via hearing aids—and demonstrated fairly dramatic differences in a paired comparison test. The system features AutoSense OS 3.0 which reportedly classifies streamed media for optimized listening.
“We have the first classifier that also operates on the streamed signal,” said Christine Jones, AuD, Phonak US vice-president of Audiology and director of the Phonak Audiology Research Center (PARC) in Warrenville during a presentation at the media event. “Some of the early work we did highlighted that there was an opportunity with streaming—as with the unique listening environments that can also be encountered by patients—where someone’s preferences may be very different than when listening to streamed speech, or dialog in media, movies, etc. Listening goals can be different, and sound quality preferences can be different. So, now we are not only classifying the environmental sounds, but we can also classify those streamed sounds to deliver the best possible experience under all listening conditions.”
Although the advanced design of the previous Audéo B-Direct model is award-winning, it does not feature binaural streaming. With the new Audéo M, wearers can now binaurally stream audio content, including smartphone calls, music, eBooks, and more, to both ears from any Bluetooth device.
Phonak points out that iPhones account for only 13% of smartphone use worldwide compared to 86% for the Android OS, and wearers’ choices have been limited primarily to hearing aids that utilize the MFi protocol. Additionally, even with IOS-compatible devices, some forms of MFi hearing aid streaming (eg, streaming from MacBooks and iMacs) were unavailable until now. SWORD 3.0 is capable of running Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth LE, AirStream Technology (for TV), and Binaural VoiceStream Technology for high-speed data transmission between the two hearing aids in a binaural fitting. The new system even works with Siri and LiveListen. (Phonak’s proprietary Roger 2.4 GHz signal will also have direct streaming capabilities to the hearing aid next fall.)
“This means we now have universal binaural wireless connectivity,” said Dr Jones. “In order to have the best access to speech on the phone, it’s best to hear well with both ears. And, beyond that, we are the only product that now connects to not just Apple and Android, but any Bluetooth device. This opens up a new world of connectivity for people because of its universal nature…What this means is, that in those cases where something is not accessible through the Apple iPhone or device, it should be accessible through the hearing aid.”
Jones explained that Phonak has also created a sophisticated system called “Environmental Balance” that controls how users hear the streaming in addition to how they hear the surrounding environment, both of which can still be adjusted via the basic volume control. All of this has the potential to open up even more of the popular streaming applications.
Better processing and noise reduction, reducing cognitive load.Additionally, the enhanced SWORD OS incorporates Binaural VoiceStream Technology™ into Marvel hearing aids, a technology most recently employedin Advanced Bionics’ Naida CI sound processor. This four-microphone technology is reportedly capable of improving speech understanding by up to 60% in noisy places like restaurants, while simultaneously reducing the amount of effort by 19% required to listen and understand.1,2
“Audiology is at the heart of everything we do at Phonak,” said Sonova Group VP Martin Grieder in a press statement. “That’s why Marvel is such a game-changer for our industry. Marvel technology empowers people and provides a true ‘love at first sound’ experience. We believe the sound quality is second to none, and it begins the moment the person puts the hearing aids on.”
Lithium-ion rechargeable technology for “a full day of streaming.” While no reliable statistics exist on the market penetration of rechargeable hearing aids, most experts estimate that about 17-20% of all hearing aids now feature rechargeability. Phonak has been a pioneer in rechargeable hearing aid technology, creating in 2016 the first lithium-ion hearing aids—a technology that appears to be gaining ground with hearing aid manufacturers.
According to Phonak, Marvel hearing aid wearers can enjoy a full day of hearing aid use—including streaming— on a single charge. The Audéo M rechargeable hearing aid also offers new features, automatically turning on or off when taken out or being placed into the charger. The system includes new LED lights and a new mini charger.
Remote fine-tuning and live voice-to-text transcription apps. With Marvel hearing aids comes the introduction of a suite of convenient smart apps. The myPhonak app allows wearers to have their hearing aids adjusted in real-time, in any situation, anywhere via videocall by the hearing care professional. It also gives consumers the ability to rate their hearing aid satisfaction in various environments and directly send this feedback to their hearing care professional.
The myCall-to-Text app reportedly provides live transcription of phone calls from the other party in more than 80 languages. This provides an extremely useful option for hearing aid users in noisy environments, or for people who prefer additional visual captions when using the phone.
New marketing campaign and rollout. A suite of marketing materials has been developed to promote the Marvel launch. Phonak US Vice-president of Marketing Barb VanSomeren explained that the marketing surrounding Marvel emphasizes its multifunctionality, providing consumers with access to the world of sound that we all want via enhanced sound quality, a constellation of devices and streaming options, and phone calls. The new marketing assets highlight Phonak technology, audiology leadership, and Marvel’s diverse capabilities, and includes a video series that features two women exploring all the different ways Marvel can be used in a contemporary format (eg, the women’s dialog resembles the TV show Grace and Frankie) .
The rechargeable Audéo M-R will be available in November along with the zinc air Audéo M-312, and Phonak will add the Audéo M-312T and Audéo M-13T in February 2019. A rechargeable version of Marvel with T-Coil (Audéo M-RT) and RogerDirect functionality will be available as a firmware upgrade in Fall 2019.
Hearing loss in Bucks
The Chalfont hearing centre for hearing issues, is a private hearing company based in Chalfont, Buckinghamshire. Leon Cox, the lead audiologist can help with all matters relating to hearing issues & ear wax removal, also the latest hearing instruments (Hearing aids) and conducts hearing tests. Book ahead for a comprehensive hearing test and discussion on your hearing heath after the hearing test result.
If you are suffering with hearing loss and suspect that ear wax maybe the issue, Leon Cox will conduct either Micro-suction or use the traditional water ear irrigation technique. Microsuction is painless and is the latest way to remove stubborn ear wax from your ear canal.
News originaly taken from the Hearing Review
Hearing Technology Manufacturers Call for EU Response to Hearing Loss
The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) works closely with its European counterpart the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA), and has supported their recent efforts to raise awareness of hearing loss with EU policymakers, the trade association announced. EHIMA submitted a parliamentary question to the European Commission in July, which has recently received a response from ministers.
The question, which was signed by the Austrian MEP Heinz K. Becker, can be read in full here. The question points to a widening gap between people that self-report hearing loss and the smaller proportion that receive treatment and/or wear devices; this “suboptimal use” of devices is estimated to cost the EU over EUR 500 billion (about USD $583.73 billion) annually. Citing the European Pillar of Social Rights—principles 16 and 17 which cover health care and the inclusion of people with disabilities—the question asks how the Commission can support best practices like early screenings, community education about the benefits of hearing devices, and research related to prevention and treatment strategies for hearing loss.
The European Commission published its answer on August 24, pointing to its efforts to develop the Best Practice Portal, a website described as a “one-stop shop” for best practices in a number of public health initiatives related to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations. In particular, the website aims to meet goal 3.4, “to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being, by one-third.” Additionally, the Commission’s 7th Framework Program for Research (FP7) as well as Horizon 2020—an EU research and innovation program—have funded research on the auditory system, screening standards, hearing devices, diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss-related diseases, and sign language. Further, the Commission states they have proposed a EUR 7.7 billion (USD about $9 billion) health budget for Horizon Europe 2020, focusing on initiatives related to lifelong health, rare diseases, and health care technologies, among other things. To further facilitate hearing-related funding, the Commission said, “Horizon Europe will be open to research proposals on hearing loss, including prevention and rehabilitation and innovative treatments.”
According to BIHIMA’s announcement, the Commission’s response is considered a positive exchange of information. Further, they state, BIHIMA’s European hearing manufacturing partners are encouraged that a greater understanding of hearing loss is being fostered among European policymakers.
“BIHIMA stand fully behind our European partners, EHIMA, in their effort to draw much-needed attention to hearing loss and we applaud this initiative to influence EU decision-making,” said Chairman Paul Surridge.
BIHIMA and EHIMA are together committed to the work of improving the lives of people with hearing loss through promoting greater access to hearing technology.
Source: BIHIMA, EHIMA, European Commission
Best Bucks ear wax removal (Henley)
If you are looking to get your ears back into shape you could do no better than visit the Henley Hearing Clinic, Bucks. Hearing aid batteries and ear wax removal are just a small list of what is on offer at the premier hearing clinic in Buckinghamshire.
Chalfont Hearing Centre News:
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 – NEW
- Overall health and wellness tracking through the app’s combined brain and body health score (Thrive Wellness Score) – NEW
- Integration of the physical activity data measured by inertial sensors of the hearing aids with Apple Health and Google Fit apps – NEW
- 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 – NEW
- Natural user interface with tap control – NEW
- Unprecedented, natural listening, and speech clarity in the noisiest environments with the new Hearing Reality technology – NEW
- Integrated language translation – NEW
- 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) – NEW
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 Dr 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, please visit www.starkey.com
Stay tuned to Hearing Review for a follow-up article detailing Starkey’s launch of Livio AI.
Chalfont hearing ear wax information: Click here to see our ear wax removal video
New Study Examines Inequality in Treatment for Hearing Loss
Hearing loss seems like one of the great equalizers of old age, striking people of all kinds as their ears gradually lose the ability to pick out sounds or hear certain pitches.
But a new national study reveals major gaps in whether Americans over age 55 get help for their hearing loss—gaps that vary greatly by age, race, education, and income, according to an article published on the Michigan Medicine website.
In all, just over a third of older adults who say they have hearing loss are using a hearing aid to correct it, the study finds. But those who are non-Hispanic white, college educated, or have incomes in the top 25% were about twice as likely as those of other races, education levels, or income ranges to have a hearing aid.
The cost of hearing aids is most to blame, say the researchers from the University of Michigan who published the study in The Gerontologist. They presented it this week at the annual research meeting of the AcademyHealth professional society for health care researchers.
Hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars out of a patient’s pocket because most health insurance programs, including Medicare, don’t cover them.
In fact, the study finds that the only factor that leveled the playing field for hearing aid use was having insurance through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which covers hearing aids in many cases. Hearing-impaired veterans ages 55 to 64 were more than twice as likely as their nonveteran peers to use a hearing aid, even after the researchers corrected for other differences. The gap between veterans and nonveterans was also significant for those over 65.
But the detailed interviews conducted for the study also show that personal concerns about hearing aid use, and lack of engagement with health providers, play a role.
“Hearing aids are not easy for many to obtain due to their costs,” says Michael McKee, MD, MPH, the U-M family medicine physician and assistant professor who led the analysis.
“However, there are a number of additional issues that place at-risk groups at an even larger disadvantage to achieving good hearing health. Many of these issues are beyond the financial aspects, including racial/ethnicity and sociocultural elements, for instance stigma and vanity.”
National survey and local interviews
McKee, who uses a cochlear implant to overcome his own hearing loss, worked on the study with Helen Levy, PhD, a health economist and professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research, and other colleagues. The authors are members of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
They used survey data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study, which is based on interviews conducted by the Institute for Social Research with funding from the National Institutes of Health.
The analysis included data from more than 35,500 people nationwide over age 55 who said they had hearing loss. In addition, McKee and colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with 21 other older adults with hearing loss in the communities surrounding the university.
The authors conclude that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Servicesshould consider covering hearing aids for Medicare participants and those in Medicaid plans for lower-income adults of any age. Some state Medicaid plans do cover hearing aids, but it is not required.
“Many people may not realize that Medicare does not cover hearing aids,” says Levy. “But it doesn’t, so cost can be a significant obstacle preventing older adults with hearing loss from getting the help that they need.”
More findings from the study:
- The percentage of older adults with hearing loss who used a hearing aid rose with age, from about 15% of those in their late 50’s to more than 57% of those in their late 80s.
- Forty percent of non-Hispanic white adults with hearing loss used a hearing aid, compared with 18.4% of non-Hispanic black and 21.1% of Hispanic adults with hearing loss.
- Nearly 46% of hearing-impaired older adults who had gone to college reported that they used a hearing aid, compared with just under 29% of those who hadn’t graduated from high school.
- Nearly half of those with incomes in the top 25% wore a hearing aid, compared with about one-quarter of those in the bottom 25%.
- There were no significant differences in hearing aid use based on the size of the community where the person lived, nor their level of health literacy as measured on a standard test.
- Interviews showed that cost, lack of insurance coverage (or knowledge about insurance coverage), vanity, and stigma were common reasons for not using hearing aids. Participants also cited a lack of attention to hearing loss by their primary care provider and worries about finding an audiologist they could trust.
- Many interview participants who used a hearing aid mentioned efforts that hearing-related professionals made to connect them to discounts and insurance programs.
More about hearing loss
Estimates of hearing loss incidence place it at 29% of people in their 50s, 45% of those in their 60s, 68% of those in their 70s, and 89% of those in their 80s.
Previous studies have shown that untreated hearing loss reduces older adults’ ability to carry out everyday tasks, reduces their quality of life, and is linked to social isolation, lower income, reduced cognitive function, and poorer physical and psychological health.
A recent study led by McKee’s colleague Elham Mahmoudi, PhD, found that having a hearing aid was associated with a lower chance of being hospitalized or visiting an emergency room in the past year. That study focused on people over 65 who had severe hearing loss, and it used data from a federal database.
McKee leads the Health Info Lab, which is researching health information use and literacy among deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.
This article is copyrighted by the University of Michigan and used with permission.
Original Paper: McKee MM, Choi H, Wilson S, DeJonckheere MJ, Zazove P, Levy H. Determinants of hearing aid use among older Americans with hearing loss. The Gerontologist. 2018. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/geront/gny051/5000029?redirectedFrom=fulltext
Source: Michigan Medicine/University of Michigan, The Gerontologist
Image: University of Michigan
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
The best hearing centre in Bucks?
Here at The Chalfont hearing centre we don’t really go around saying we are the best hearing centre in Bucks all the time, but we do like to think we are one of the best.
We offer the most up to date tech for getting your hearing back to a liveable level that you will really notice. We also offer ear wax removal using the very gentle Microsuction Technique or the traditional water ear irrigation technique. As we are the leading audiology clinic in the area we do have the very latest in hearing tech and digital hearing aids.
Chalfont Hearing. News:
Brainwave Abnormality Could Be Common to Parkinson’s Disease, Tinnitus, Depression
Vanneste and his colleagues—Dr Jae-Jin Song of South Korea’s Seoul National University and Dr Dirk De Ridder of New Zealand’s University of Otago—analyzed electroencephalograph (EEG) and functional brain mapping data from more than 500 people to create what Vanneste believes is the largest experimental evaluation of TCD, which was first proposed in a paper published in 1996.
“We fed all the data into the computer model, which picked up the brain signals that TCD says would predict if someone has a particular disorder,” Vanneste said. “Not only did the program provide the results TCD predicted, we also added a spatial feature to it. Depending on the disease, different areas of the brain become involved.”
“The strength of our paper is that we have a large enough data sample to show that TCD could be an explanation for several neurological diseases.”
Brainwaves are the rapid-fire rhythmic fluctuations of electric voltage between parts of the brain. The defining characteristics of TCD begin with a drop in brainwave frequency—from alpha waves to theta waves when the subject is at rest—in the thalamus, one of two regions of the brain that relays sensory impulses to the cerebral cortex, which then processes those impulses as touch, pain, or temperature.
A key property of alpha waves is to induce thalamic lateral inhibition, which means that specific neurons can quiet the activity of adjacent neurons. Slower theta waves lack this muting effect, leaving neighboring cells able to be more active. This activity level creates the characteristic abnormal rhythm of TCD.
“Because you have less input, the area surrounding these neurons becomes a halo of gamma hyperactivity that projects to the cortex, which is what we pick up in the brain mapping,” Vanneste said.
While the signature alpha reduction to theta is present in each disorder examined in the study—Parkinson’s, pain, tinnitus, and depression—the location of the anomaly indicates which disorder is occurring.
“If it’s in the auditory cortex, it’s going to be tinnitus; if it’s in the somatosensory cortex, it will be pain,” Vanneste explained. “If it’s in the motor cortex, it could be Parkinson’s; if it’s in deeper layers, it could be depression. In each case, the data show the exact same wavelength variation—that’s what these pathologies have in common. You always see the same pattern.”
EEG data from 541 subjects was used. About half were healthy control subjects, while the remainder were patients with tinnitus, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, or major depression. The scale and diversity of this study’s data set are what set it apart from prior research efforts.
“Over the past 20 years, there have been pain researchers observing a pattern for pain, or tinnitus researchers doing the same for tinnitus,” Vanneste said. “But no one combined the different disorders to say, ‘What’s the difference between these diseases in terms of brainwaves, and what do they have in common?’ The strength of our paper is that we have a large enough data sample to show that TCD could be an explanation for several neurological diseases.”
With these results in hand, the next step could be a treatment study based on vagus nerve stimulation—a therapy being pioneered by Vanneste and his colleagues at the Texas Biomedical Device Center at UT Dallas. A different follow-up study will examine a new range of psychiatric diseases to see if they could also be tied to TCD.
For now, Vanneste is glad to see this decades-old idea coming into focus.
“More and more people agree that something like thalamocortical dysrhythmia exists,” he said. “From here, we hope to stimulate specific brain areas involved in these diseases at alpha frequencies to normalize the brainwaves again. We have a rationale that we believe will make this type of therapy work.”
Original Paper: Vanneste S, Song J-J, De Ridder D. Thalamocortical dysrhythmia detected by machine learning. Nature Communications. 2018;9(1103)
Source: Nature Communications, University of Texas at Dallas
Image: University of Texas at Dallas
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
Signia Launches Silk Nx Hearing Aids
Audiology technology company Signia announced its latest innovation, the new Silk Nx hearing aids. Re-engineered to be 20% smaller than its predecessor, these ready-to-wear, completely-in-canal (CIC) devices now include key features of Signia’s Nx hearing aid technology that are designed to deliver the most natural hearing experience.
With the new Silk Nx solutions, hearing aid wearers do not have to sacrifice size for performance in their hearing aids. Despite having designed the already small Silk hearing aids to be even tinier with this new release, they are also more powerful than ever. The result is what Signia calls a “discreet, instant-fit hearing solution with the highest level of sound quality.”
A practically invisible solution
Many hearing aid wearers, and especially those being fit for the first time, are insecure about others seeing their hearing aids. The Silk Nx were redesigned to be 20% smaller than previous models, according to Signia. As a result, they are designed for an improved fit rate and wearing comfort. They also feature darker faceplate colors that are designed to better blend into the ear canal and further decrease visibility.
Improved sound quality
Built upon Signia’s Nx technology platform, the new Silk is designed to provides wearers with the “most natural” hearing experience, according to the company. And Signia’s binaural beamforming technology is designed to allow clear speech understanding, even in noisy situations. Silk Nx hearing aids are also said to enable natural directionality and wireless streaming between both ears to make sure wearers hear what’s most important.
Silk hearing aids come ready-to-wear, with a secure fit for almost every ear. This is due to their super-soft and flexible silicone Click Sleeves, which are designed for a higher fit rate and are more durable than previous solutions.
More innovative features
The latest release also includes new features like TwinPhone, enabling wearers to put a phone up to one ear and hear the call through both hearing aids. They also represent what is said to be the “world’s first CIC solution” for single-sided deafness. With contralateral routing of signal (CROS) technology, Silk Nx hearing aids include wireless transmitters that transfer sound from the unaidable ear to the better ear, enabling the wearer to hear from both sides. Wearers also benefit from Signia’s apps, including the touchControl™ App and TeleCare™ 3.0, to provide greater control and convenience.
City, University of London to Pilot Language and Reading Intervention for Children
Researchers from City, University of London have been awarded £97k ($USD approximately $136,479) from the Nuffield Foundation to pilot a language and reading intervention with 120 children in their first year of formal education, the school announced on its website.
Involving Dr Ros Herman, Professor Penny Roy, and Dr Fiona Kyle from the School of Health Science’s Division of Language and Communication Science, in collaboration with Professor Charles Hulme from Oxford University, the study—which is reportedly the first reading intervention study to include both deaf and hearing children—will trial the new intervention in primary schools for a year and compare outcomes with other schools that offer the standard literacy teaching.
The research team have shown in previous research that many severely and profoundly deaf children have significant reading delays, yet are typically excluded from reading intervention research.
In this new study, teachers will be trained to deliver the intervention program, comprising systematic phonics teaching alongside a structured vocabulary program, during the school literacy hour. The study will investigate whether all children, or only specific groups of children, benefit from the integrated program and whether a full-scale evaluation is merited.
Dr Herman said, “Our previous research has revealed the scale of reading difficulties among deaf children. Our findings suggest that deaf children will benefit from specialist literacy interventions such as those currently offered to hearing children with dyslexia. In addition, deaf children and many hearing children require ongoing support to develop the language skills that underlie literacy.
“As a result we hope our new study, which will pilot a combined language and reading intervention, will address these issues so that teachers can provide the vital support needed to prevent both hearing and deaf children from unnecessarily falling behind their peers.”
Source: City, University of London