Benefits of hearing aids
The Chalfont hearing Centre is a premier independent hearing company based in Little Chalfont Bucks. Leon Cox, the lead audiologist is here to help you diagnose your hearing symptoms along with other hearing issues such as possible ear wax blocking the ear canal. Ear wax can be easily dealt with by Micro-suction that gently hoovers out the ear wax cleanly and quickly.
If you need hearing aids
Hearing aids won’t make your hearing perfect, but they make sounds louder and clearer, reducing the impact hearing loss has on your life.
Hearing aids can:
- help you hear everyday sounds such as the doorbell and phone
- improve your ability to hear speech
- make you feel more confident when talking to people and make it easier for you to follow conversations in different environments
- help you to enjoy listening to music and the TV, at a volume that’s comfortable for those around you
But hearing aids only help if you still have some hearing left, so don’t put off getting help if your hearing is getting worse.
To book your appointment at the Chalfont hearing centre please call reception and speak with our receptionist.
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 tests and hearing aids in Bucks
Chalfont hearing centre is the premier hearing clinic in Little Chalfont Buckinghamshire. Leon Cox the lead audiologist is fully qualified to conduct hearing tests, dispense hearing aids and remove ear wax using Micro-Suction. If you are suffering with Tinnitus Leon can discuss Tinnitus therapy to reduce the Tinnitus. Please ask reception or ask Leon at your next appointment. Tinnitus can be managed.
Hearing tests are always available at the Chalfont Hearing Centre, please call for an appointment.
Chalfont hearing centre news:
GN ReSound Showcases New Partnership with Google and LiNX Quattro at EUHA 2018
With today’s start of the European Union of Hearing Aid Acousticians(EUHA) Congress in Hannover, Germany, GN ReSound has announced a new partnership with Google that will provide a full spectrum of direct streaming to hearing aids from Android devices, and the company is showcasing what the company is calling a “premium-plus” hearing aid, ReSound LiNX Quattro,™ which was previously launched in August.
Ear wax removal Chalfont, Bucks
According to ReSound, the LiNX Quattro offers “a brilliant sound experience with unprecedented Layers of Sound.” In a direct comparison, where hearing aid users were asked to listen to music and rate the sound, the company states that 95% of respondents preferred ReSound LiNX Quattro compared to other premium hearing aids.
A new high-performing chip platform drives the extensive sound quality improvements, providing 100% faster processing, twice the memory capacity, and 35% increase in frequency bandwidth compared to ReSound LiNX 3D™. With a bandwidth of up to 9.5 kHz, a greater range of high-frequency sounds is accessible to people with hearing loss. An input dynamic range of 116 dB SPL—reportedly the highest in the industry—is designed to ensure that softer sounds are clearer and louder sounds are distortion free.
Hearing test Chalfont, Bucks
GN Hearing’s recently-announced partnership with Google allows it to offer a full spectrum of direct streaming from Android devices to hearing aids. It continues GN Hearing’s record of industry breakthroughs, including 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity, Binaural Directionality, direct full streaming compatibility with Apple devices, and cloud based remote fine-tuning.
Chalfont hearing aids Bucks
“With the launch of ReSound LiNX Quattro, as well as other major technology launches and partnerships, GN Hearing is continuing to shape the future of hearing care,” said GN Hearing CEO and President Anders Hedegaard. “We want to help people hear more, do more, and be more than they ever thought possible. We are striving to support people living with hearing loss and hearing care professionals alike access the latest technology and support the provision of high-quality care.”
Tinnitus therapy, Chalfont, Bucks
GN Hearing has also recently launched Beltone Amaze™, which GN characterizes as the world’s most complete hearing solution that combines great sound quality, connectivity, rechargeability and remote fine-tuning. The company also recently introduced Interton Ready™, which is designed to offer great sound, ease-of-use, and connectivity at an affordable price.
Source: GN ReSound
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
GN Hearing and Google Partner to Enable Direct Streaming from Android Devices to Hearing Aids
GN Hearing and Google have announced a new technology partnership that will reportedly make GN Hearing the first manufacturer to enable a full spectrum of direct audio streaming from Android devices to hearing aids. In a future Android release, direct streaming may also become available for ReSound LiNX Quattro™ and Beltone Amaze™ hearing aid users.
“According to the World Health Organization, around 466 million peopleworldwide have disabling hearing loss,” said Seang Chau, vice president of engineering at Google. “This number is expected to increase to 900 million people by the year 2050. Google is working with GN Hearing to create a new open specification for hearing aid streaming support on future versions of Android devices.”
According to the joint announcement, users will be able to connect and monitor their hearing aids without using an intermediate device for streaming from Android phones and tablets to their hearing aids.
“We are honored to partner with Google for this important development, which will enable direct streaming for even more hearing aid users through their Android devices,” said Anders Hedegaard, CEO, GN Hearing. “This is another example of how GN Hearing relentlessly strives to drive innovation forward by developing new products and solutions with unique benefits for hearing aid users and audiologists around the world.”
Google has published the new hearing aid specification for Android smartphones available here: Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on Bluetooth Low Energy Connection-Oriented Channels.
The Chalfont hearing centre is the place where you will find the very latest in digital hearing tech. If you need hearing aids, streaming devices or ear wax removal we do it all. Hearing loss in no longer a condition that is not treatable.
Source: GN Hearing, Google
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.
Samsung Announces Hearing Loss Detection App and New Initiative
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 5% of the world’s population—or 466 million people—have disabling hearing loss. In Argentina, hearing impairment constitutes 18% of the existing disabilities according to Info LEG—86.6% of which experience hearing difficulties; 13.4% are deaf.
While those diagnosed with hearing loss can take necessary actions for their individual cases—taking preventive measures to avoid total deafness, getting hearing aids, learning sign language, etc—those who do not know what’s happening to them are subject to a more frustrating experience. This is especially true for children who may lose the chance to develop their cognitive skills and pursue higher education.
Using Technology to Bridge the Gap
uSound for Samsung is an initiative designed to bring technology to people with hearing loss—to help detect the risk of hearing loss and thus improve their quality of life in such essential aspects as communication and education, the South Korea-based company announced.
uSound Test is a free application that is designed to allow users to detect their hearing loss risk. According to the company’s press release, the app reproduces pre-calibrated sounds that users give feedback to. It then compares these results with its database, with the app reportedly detecting specific frequencies the user may have difficulty hearing. uSound Test is designed to analyze the auditory curve that results from the whole test to help determine the degree of hearing loss risk.
uSound for Samsung reportedly issues a report with the results, designed as “a risk indicator,” according to Samsung. Since the test is not designed to be a medical diagnosis, the app recommends users contact hearing health specialists when necessary.
Cynthia Giolito, senior manager, corporate citizenship, Samsung Electronics Argentina, said: “uSound for Samsung reinforces our mission to offer technology with a purpose that improves quality of life. We are very proud to embark on this path and we hope to have solid results that will promote hearing accessibility in more places.”
Through uSound for Samsung, the company hopes to use its technology and resources to:
- Raise awareness about hearing loss and improve public policies;
- Avoid irreversible damage to hearing organs;
- Encourage learning and cognitive development for children;
- Develop speech and facilitate social inclusion;
- Contribute to a more egalitarian society.
Working with the Community
The Government of Jujuy will provide resources and workspaces for the hearing loss-detection campaign, according to Samsung. uSound will continue to help improve hearing experiences with its products, including the aforementioned test and an app that turns the cell phone into an auditory assistant**, according to the company’s announcement. Samsung Electronics will provide the necessary technology to carry out a first pilot test of uSound Test in health centers across Jujuy and will financially support the project.
Governor Gerardo Rubén Morales, Jujuy Province, said: “It is a pleasure to accompany uSound, a company from Jujuy, take on its challenges. With the support of Samsung, this project will impact thousands of people with hearing problems. It is great that this project started in Jujuy. We hope it can be replicated throughout Argentina and in other countries—technological innovation knows no boundaries.”
As a team, the Government of Jujuy, uSound, and Samsung Electronics Argentina will help give a larger part of the Argentine community access to tools to potentially change lives through the use of technology.
Ezequiel Escobar, CEO and co-founder of uSound, said: “We witnessed a truly historic opportunity for our company and for Jujuy. This plan, using our technologies, will benefit many people from Jujuy and has the potential to expand to help many more people around the world. We are talking about a huge impact that grows even more with the support from Samsung and the Ministry of Health of Jujuy.”
Samsung has been preparing for entry into the hearing care market for several years; Hearing Review reported that the company filed an April 2013 patent for a “small hearing aid.” In 2015, Samsung placed a $13.9 million order for hearing aid amplifiers driven, according to a BusinessKorea article, by Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong’s interest in what it called “mobile health care.” More recently, SamMobile reported in 2016 that Samsung applied for trademark registration of the term Earcle in South Korea, and that its application referenced hearing aids. Additionally, a Samsung device described as a “Samsung Bluetooth Hearing Aid” with the model number SM-R790, reportedly surfaced at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group’s (SIG) database.
* Not a medical diagnosis
** Not a hearing aid
*** Translated from Spanish and edited for clarity
Heading a Football May Be Linked to Increase in Balance Problems
“Soccer headers are repetitive subconcussive head impacts that may be associated with problems with thinking and memory skills and structural changes in the white matter of the brain,” said study author John Jeka, PhD, of the University of Delaware in Newark, Del. “But the effect of headers on balance control has not been studied.”
For the study, 20 soccer players recruited from the community in Newark took a balance test where they walked along a foam walkway with their eyes closed under two conditions: with galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) and without GVS. For GVS, electrodes placed behind each ear stimulate the nerves that send messages from the balance system in the inner ear to the brain. So the stimulator can make you feel like you are moving when you are not. In this case, it made participants feel like they were falling sideways.
The soccer players, who had an average age of 22, also completed questionnaires about how many times they had headed the ball during the past year. The number of headers over a year for each participant ranged from 16 to 2,100, with an average of 451 headers. Those numbers were calculated by asking participants for the average number of headers during a practice and game, the average number of practices and games per week, and the average number of months per year that the player participated.
The study found that the players with the largest number of headers had the largest balance responses to GVS in both foot placement and hip adduction during the walking test, which indicated that they had vestibular processing and balance recovery problems. Researchers found for every 500 headers, foot placement response increased about 9 millimeters and hip adduction response increased about 0.2 degrees.
“Soccer players must have good balance to play the game well, yet our research suggests that headers may be undermining balance, which is key to all movement, and yet another problem now linked to headers,” said study author Fernando V. Santos, PT, of the University of Delaware. “It is important that additional research be done to look more closely at this possible link with balance and to confirm our findings in larger groups of people.”
A limitation of the study was that participants relied on memory when reporting how many times they headed the ball. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Learn more about concussion 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.
To learn more about the AAN’s Sports Concussion Guideline and access resources, visit https://www.aan.com/concussion.
Original Paper: Santos FV, Caccese JB, Gongora M, et al. Greater exposure to repetitive subconcussive head impacts is associated with vestibular dysfunction and balance impairments during walking. Paper presented at: 2018 AAN Sports Concussion Conference; Indianapolis, IN. https://www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/GetDigitalAsset/12757
Image: | Dreamstime.com
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.
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