Oticon ConnectClip Wins 2018 Red Dot Award for Product Design
Commenting on the award win, Gary Rosenblum, president, Oticon, Inc said, “Oticon is honored to receive another prestigious Red Dot Award, this year for our new ConnectClip. This internationally recognized symbol of excellence is a testament not only to ConnectClip’s convenient, lifestyle-enhancing features, but also to the work that goes into the design and continued evolution of our Oticon Opn hearing aid, a 2017 Red Dot Award winner.”
The multi-functional ConnectClip is designed to turn Oticon Opn hearing aids into a high-quality wireless headset for clear, hands-free calls from mobile phones, including iPhone® and Android™ smartphones. Sound from the mobile phones is streamed directly to the hearing aids and ConnectClip’s directional microphones pick up the wearer’s voice. ConnectClip serves double duty as a remote/partner microphone, helping to provide improved intelligibility of the speaker wearing it, either at a distance (up to 65 feet), in very noisy environments or in a combination of the two. Opn wearers can also use ConnectClip as a remote control for their hearing aids.
Wearable Technology Award Win
Oticon also celebrates a win at the UK’s Wearable Technology and Digital Health Show Awards. Oticon Opn received the Innovation Award for wearable originality and advancement. The win reflects votes by a combined method of professional jury and public website vote.
Organizers at the Wearable Technology and Digital Health Show Awards commented on the win: ”The judges felt that the Oticon solution presented a revolutionary approach to hearing loss, and that its technology presented a real opportunity for users to interact with the growing number of smart devices in the home. A worthy winner.”
Learn more about the expanded Oticon Opn family, ConnectClip and entire range of wireless connectivity accessories at www.Oticon.com/Connectivity.
* Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple Watch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android, Google Play, and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.
Images: Oticon, Red Dot
New Hearing Devices in Development May Expand Range of Human Hearing
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are developing atomically thin ‘drumheads’ able to receive and transmit signals across a radio frequency range far greater than what we can hear with the human ear, the University announced in a press release.
But the drumhead is tens of trillions times (10 followed by 13 zeros) smaller in volume and 100,000 times thinner than the human eardrum.
It’s been said that the advances will likely contribute to making the next generation of ultralow-power communications and sensory devices smaller and with greater detection and tuning ranges.
“Sensing and communication are key to a connected world,” said Philip Feng, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and corresponding author on a paper about the work published March 30 in the journal Science Advances. “In recent decades, we have been connected with highly miniaturized devices and systems, and we have been pursuing ever-shrinking sizes for those devices.”
The challenge with miniaturization: Also achieving a broader dynamic range of detection, for small signals, such as sound, vibration, and radio waves.
“In the end, we need transducers that can handle signals without losing or compromising information at both the ‘signal ceiling’ (the highest level of an undistorted signal) and the ‘noise floor’ (the lowest detectable level),” Feng said.
While this work was not geared toward specific devices currently on the market, researchers said, it was focused on measurements, limits, and scaling which would be important for essentially all transducers.
Those transducers may be developed over the next decade, but for now, Feng and his team have already demonstrated the capability of their key components—the atomic layer drumheads or resonators—at the smallest scale yet.
The work represents the highest reported dynamic range for vibrating transducers of their type. To date, that range had only been attained by much larger transducers operating at much lower frequencies—like the human eardrum, for example.
“What we’ve done here is to show that some ultimately miniaturized, atomically thin electromechanical drumhead resonators can offer remarkably broad dynamic range, up to ~110dB, at radio frequencies (RF) up to over 120MHz,” Feng said. “These dynamic ranges at RF are comparable to the broad dynamic range of human hearing capability in the audio bands.”
New dynamic standard
Feng said the key to all sensory systems, from naturally occurring sensory functions in animals to sophisticated devices in engineering, is that desired dynamic range.
Dynamic range is the ratio between the signal ceiling over the noise floor and is usually measured in decibels (dB).
Human eardrums normally have dynamic range of about 60 to 100dB in the range of 10Hz to 10kHz, and our hearing quickly decreases outside this frequency range. Other animals, such as the common house cat or beluga whale, can have comparable or even wider dynamic ranges in higher frequency bands.
The vibrating nanoscale drumheads developed by Feng and his team are made of atomic layers of semiconductor crystals (single-, bi-, tri-, and four-layer MoS2 flakes, with thickness of 0.7, 1.4, 2.1, and 2.8 nanometers), with diameters only about 1 micron.
They construct them by exfoliating individual atomic layers from the bulk semiconductor crystal and using a combination of nanofabrication and micromanipulation techniques to suspend the atomic layers over microcavities predefined on a silicon wafer, and then making electrical contacts to the devices.
Further, these atomically thin RF resonators being tested at Case Western Reserve show excellent frequency ‘tunability,’ meaning their tones can be manipulated by stretching the drumhead membranes using electrostatic forces, similar to the sound tuning in much larger musical instruments in an orchestra, Feng said.
The study also reveals that these incredibly small drumheads only need picoWatt (pW, 10^-12 Watt) up to nanoWatt (nW, 10^-9 Watt) level of RF power to sustain their high frequency oscillations.
“Not only having surprisingly large dynamic range with such tiny volume and mass, they are also energy-efficient and very ‘quiet’ devices,” Feng said. “We ‘listen’ to them very carefully and ‘talk’ to them very gently.”
The paper’s co-authors were: Jaesung Lee, a Case Western Reserve post-doctoral research associate; Max Zenghui Wang, a former research associate now at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), Chengdu, China; Keliang He, a former graduate student in physics, now a senior engineer at Nvidia; Rui Yang, a former graduate student and now a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford University; and Jie Shan, a former physics professor at Case Western Reserve now at Cornell University.
The work has been financially supported by the National Academy of Engineering Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Award (Grant: FOE 2013-005) and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (Grant: ECCS-1454570).
Original Paper: Lee J, Wang Z, He K, Yang R, Shan J, Feng PX-L. Electrically tunable single- and few-layer MoS2nanoelectromechanical systems with broad dynamic range. Science Advances. 2018;4(3):eaao6653.
Source: Case Western Reserve University, Science Advances
Neurofeedback May Reduce Severity of Tinnitus, Study Shows
Researchers using functional MRI (fMRI) have found that neurofeedback training has the potential to reduce the severity of tinnitus or even eliminate it, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the international society of radiologists, medical physicists, and other medical professionals announced on its website.
For the study, researchers looked at a novel potential way to treat tinnitus by having people use neurofeedback training to turn their focus away from the sounds in their ears. Neurofeedback is a way of training the brain by allowing an individual to view some type of external indicator of brain activity and attempt to exert control over it.
“The idea is that in people with tinnitus there is an over-attention drawn to the auditory cortex, making it more active than in a healthy person,” said Matthew S. Sherwood, PhD, research engineer and adjunct faculty in the Department of Biomedical, Industrial, and Human Factors Engineering at Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio. “Our hope is that tinnitus sufferers could use neurofeedback to divert attention away from their tinnitus and possibly make it go away.”
To determine the potential efficacy of this approach, the researchers had 18 healthy volunteers with normal hearing undergo five fMRI-neurofeedback training sessions. Study participants were given earplugs through which white noise could be introduced for periods of time. The earplugs also served to block out the scanner noise.
To obtain fMRI results, the researchers used single-shot echo planar imaging, an MRI technique that is sensitive to blood oxygen levels, providing an indirect measure of brain activity.
“We started with alternating periods of sound and no sound in order to create a map of the brain and find areas that produced the highest activity during the sound phase,” Sherwood said. “Then we selected the voxels that were heavily activated when sound was being played.”
The volunteers then participated in the fMRI-neurofeedback training phase while inside the MRI scanner. They received white noise through their earplugs and were able to view the activity in their primary auditory cortex as a bar on a screen. Each fMRI-neurofeedback training run contained eight blocks separated into a 30-second “relax” period followed by a 30-second “lower” period. Participants were instructed to watch the bar during the relax period and actively attempt to lower it by decreasing primary auditory cortex activity during the lower phase.
The researchers gave the participants techniques to help them do this, such as trying to divert attention from sound to other sensations like touch and sight.
“Many focused on breathing because it gave them a feeling of control,” Sherwood said. “By diverting their attention away from sound, the participants’ auditory cortex activity went down, and the signal we were measuring also went down.”
A control group of nine individuals were provided sham neurofeedback—they performed the same tasks as the other group, but the feedback came not from them but from a random participant. By performing the exact same procedures with both groups using either real or sham neurofeedback, the researchers were able to distinguish the effect of real neurofeedback on control of the primary auditory cortex.
The study reportedly represents the first time fMRI-neurofeedback training has been applied to demonstrate that there is a significant relationship between control of the primary auditory cortex and attentional processes. This is important to therapeutic development, Sherwood said, as the neural mechanisms of tinnitus are unknown but likely related to attention.
The results represent a promising avenue of research that could lead to improvements in other areas of health like pain management, according to Sherwood.
“Ultimately, we’d like take what we learned from MRI and develop a neurofeedback program that doesn’t require MRI to use, such as an app or home-based therapy that could apply to tinnitus and other conditions,” he said.
Co-authors are Emily E. Diller, MS; Subhashini Ganapathy, PhD; Jeremy Nelson, PhD; and Jason G. Parker, PhD. This material is based on research sponsored by the US Air Force under agreement number FA8650-16-2-6702. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official views or policy of the Department of Defense and its Components. The US Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. The voluntary, fully informed consent of the subjects used in this research was obtained as required by 32 CFR 219 and DODI 3216.02_AFI 40-402.
Researchers Find Increased Risk of Hearing Loss Among Smokers
The study—which included 50,000 participants over an 8-year period—looked at data from annual health checkups, which included factors such as smoking status, number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the duration of smoking cessation on hearing loss, according to the release. Researchers calculated a 1.2 to 1.6 increased risk of hearing loss among smokers as compared to those who had never smoked before.
The risk of hearing loss decreased five years after smoking cessation.
For additional information, please click here to view the release on Science Daily’s website.
Original Paper: Hu H, Sasaki N, Ogasawara T, et al. Smoking, smoking cessation, and the risk of hearing loss: Japan epidemiology collaboration on occupational health study. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. March 14, 2018.
Source: Science Daily, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Oxford Press
Sonic Enchant Line Adds SoundClip-A to Stream Sounds in Stereo from Numerous Devices
Now, the small, ergonomically designed clip-on device delivers added benefit as a wireless remote/partner microphone for easier listening when the speaker is at a distance or in noisy environments where listening is difficult. SoundClip-A also enables remote volume control, program changes and call pick-up with just the press of a button.
“SoundClip-A’s wireless transmission of stereo sound from all Bluetooth 2.1 smartphones and devices adds the ‘wow’ of even more wireless convenience to the many ways Enchant makes everyday sounds better,” said Sonic President & COO Joseph A. Lugara in a press statement. “With Enchant, wireless connectivity is simple and stress-free thanks to Enchant’s Dual-Radio System that delivers fast ear-to-ear connection and employs 2.4 GHz technology.”
Simply Streaming. SoundClip-A allows patients to use Enchant hearing aids as a headset for mobile calls. Users stream stereo quality sound to both ears through their Enchant hearing aids from any Bluetooth 2.1 compatible device—including mobile phones, tablets, MP3 players, and more. The built-in microphones pick up the wearer’s voice and sound from the call which is streamed wirelessly to both ears for convenient, hands-free conversations.
When SoundClip-A is used as a wireless remote/partner microphone, the speaker simply clips on the lightweight device or keeps it nearby. The speaker’s voice can be heard more easily through the user’s Enchant hearing aids at a distance of up to 65 feet, according to the company. SoundClip-A also helps users enjoy video calls, webinars, and other audio sources for easy wireless listening in both ears.
For more information on SoundClip-A and the entire Enchant family, including Enchant100, Enchant80 and Enchant60 and popular styles including the miniRITE with ZPower, miniRITE T (with telecoil) and BTE 105, visit www.sonici.com.
Unitron Launches Moxi ALL Hearing Instrument
Unitron announced the release of its latest hearing instrument, Moxi ALL.
Like all hearing instruments driven by the Tempus™ platform, Moxi ALL was designed around the company’s core philosophy of putting consumer needs at the forefront. The new hearing solution is designed to deliver “amazing sound quality,” according to Unitron, and advanced binaural performance features that help consumers hear their best in all of life’s conversations, including those on mobile phones.
After powering up overnight, a rechargeable battery is designed to help “keep them in the conversation” for up to 16 hours, including two hours of mobile phone use and five hours of TV streaming. Plus, consumers never have to worry if they forget to charge because they have the flexibility to swap in traditional batteries at any time.
A new way to deliver their most personalized solution
Consumers can take home Moxi ALL hearing instruments to try before they buy with FLEX:TRIAL™.
“Today’s consumers are not interested in one-size-fits-all. They want to know that the hearing instrument they select is personalized to their individual listening needs and preferences,” said Lilika Beck, vice president, Global Marketing, for Unitron. “This simple truth is driving our FLEX™ ecosystem—a collection of technologies, services, and programs designed to make the experience of buying and using a hearing instrument feel easy and empowering.”
As the latest addition to the FLEX ecosystem, Moxi ALL is proof of Unitron’s ongoing commitment to putting consumers at the center of its mission to provide the most personalized experience on the market when it comes to choosing hearing instruments.
The global roll-out of Moxi ALL begins February 23, 2018.
ADM Tronics Unlimited, Inc (OTCQB: ADMT), a technology-based developer and manufacturer of innovative technologies, has authorized its subsidiary, Aurex International Corporation (“AIC”) to begin advertising its new hearing protection product, Tinnitus Shield™ in Tinnitus Today, the official publication of the American Tinnitus Association, ADM announced.
Tinnitus Shield™ has been designed to protect against damaging sounds shown to cause tinnitus for individuals at risk of acquiring this condition, according to the company’s announcement. These include military, police, musicians, construction workers, and many other occupations subject to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).
The US Veterans Health Administration (VA) reports that tinnitus is the most prevalent combat-related disability affecting veterans, making it a high-priority healthcare issue facing the military and the VA.
While Tinnitus Shield™ has been specifically engineered to protect against the sounds which may cause tinnitus, AIC also plans to bring to market Aurex-3®, a patented, non-invasive therapy technology for the treatment and control of tinnitus.
Heading up AIC is CEO Mark Brenner, BSc, PhD, who draws upon years of experience serving the tinnitus market in the United Kingdom. Brenner brings with him the vision and resources necessary to set in motion the launching and distribution of Aurex-3 throughout the US and Europe. For these reasons, the company believes that under Brenner’s leadership and guidance, both AIC technologies can effectively penetrate this burgeoning market.
“The potential market for effective technologies that addresses the tinnitus marketplace is significant, considering the millions and millions of sufferers in the US and worldwide,” said Andre’ DiMino, president of ADMT.
Brenner commented, “AIC is now able to offer the full spectrum of support to the worldwide tinnitus community with its Tinnitus Shield, providing protection from noise-induced tinnitus, and the Aurex-3, as an active treatment and management system for those who have developed tinnitus. This is receiving great interest in the UK where we are actively working with The Tinnitus Clinic, a group of specialist tinnitus clinics. In the US we have active discussions with the American Tinnitus Association.”
Source: ADM Tronics Limited
In may 2013, 50 dispensers and audiologists took part in the UKs first Widex Zen Therapy Educational workshop for tinnitus. Chalfont Hearing Centre were one of those select hearing professionals. The material that day was very useful and has furthered significant development of our tinnitus management program. The course gave an overview of how Zen and Widex hearing aids could be utilised in the treatment, reduction and management of tinnitus (ringing and buzzing sounds in the ears). The event was attended by a very prominent figure in audiology from the US Dr Robert Sweetow who gave some really useful lectures and advice on tinintus management.
Widex Zen Therapy is an integrated package for tinnitus management. It is incorporated throughout the widex dream range and and can provide customised fractal tones, noise or both for patients who struggle with tinnitus. We have now utilised this treatment in the rehabilitation of a number of patients. The outcomes have been useful for a majority of patients, however proved less useful for 1 or 2. The main reasons the treatment was reported successful by patients was that it provided distraction, relief and reduced focus of the tinnitus. We feel that as part of a tailored tinnitus management program WZT can provide certain patients with relief from their tinnitus symptoms. But that in isolation the benefits will be less effective.
To find out more about how Widex Zen Therapy and our tailored tinnitus management program could improve your tinnitus symptoms call 01494 765144.
Tinnitus affects 1 in 10 people in the UK and can be caused by a host of conditions and can occur in people with normal hearing thresholds and people with hearing loss. Our Subject Patients’ tinnitus was a high frequency sound which was louder some days than others, and was often worse in a quiet environment. After struggling for a long period of time with his tinnitus, he decided to take action. He was referred for treatment, where he was fitted with a device which uses Acoustic Neuromodulation. The treatment is delivered using a small palm size device which delivers low-level sounds to the ear via headphones. The device works by forcing auditory nerve cells sensitive to different frequencies to fire at a different rate and so disrupt the abnormal neuron firing that is associated with tinnitus. This particular type of sound therapy is extremely new in tinnitus treatment and management circles. At the Chalfont Hearing Centre, Bucks, we are also utilising this form of tinnitus management using our preferred device, the Soundcure Serenade. This device also uses amplitude modulated and pitch matched tones. The generated sounds are referred to as S-tones and are customised specifically for your unique tinnitus, which research suggests can reduce your perception of tinnitus. Such devices are not a tinintus cure or a tinnitus miracle but they have had significant results. Serenade is designed for short term relief of tinnitus symptoms and long term relief as part of a tinnitus management program here at Chalfont Hearing Centre near High Wycombe.
Advanced treatments like those provided at the Chalfont Hearing Centre are not available via the NHS, Currently this device costs £1750 and is only available through approved hearing and audiology centres. To book a tinnitus assessment or for more information on our tinnitus sound therapies please contact us on 01494 765144.
Tinnitus relief and help has taken big leap forward this autumn at the Chalfont Hearing Centre. Amongst our range of tinnitus sound therapies we can now add the Serenade from Soundcure. Sound therapy is an effective tool in the treatment of tinnitus associated with auditory nerve and hair cell damage, but until now has not allowed for customisation to each patient. Soundcure is changing that with Serenade, a simple, flexible sound therapy system that is customised specifically to your tinnitus.
The novel, cutting edge Serenade system consists of a handheld patient device to generate sound therapy, earphones and proprietary acoustic treatment that research has suggested may address the underlying neurological cause of tinnitus. After we evaluate your tinnitus, your serenade device is programmed to play the sounds most likely to be effective for you. The approach was developed by a team with deep scientific understanding of the neurophysiology of tinnitus and how the brain processes sound.
Soundcure’s advanced technology was originally developed at the University of California, Irvine by leading hearing researchers. S-Tones are customised sounds designed specifically for your unique tinnitus and produce brain activity which research suggests can reduce your perception of tinnitus. S-Tones do not need to be loud to be effective. They are designed to be quieter than your tinnitus. Serenade is designed for short-term relief from your tinnitus and provide long term relief when used as part of a tinnitus management program.
Being one of a few uk tinnitus centres able to fit the device, we are seeing a positive effect on patients treated with the device. Combined with our tinnitus assessment and management program, we are finding significant tinnitus reduction. To book a tinnitus consultation or to trial the serenade tinnitus device call 01494 765144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.