Starkey hearing aids, Little Chalfont
We sell and dispense all types of hearing aids at the Chalfont hearing centre. One of the big guns is Starkey. Recently they announced a new innovation for their Live Ai hearing aids. It now comes with fall detection, meaning it will detect if you have a fall and if you are paired with your phone it will message up to 3 contacts that you have specified before hand.
Read the full press statement bellow for more info, or if you are interested in knowing more please pop in or make an appointment so we can walk you through the new hearing aid and it’s features.
Chalfont hearing news:
Starkey Releases World’s First Hearing Aid with Fall Detection and Alerts to Livio AI Users
Starkey Hearing Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn, has released its new Fall Detection and Alert feature in Livio AI hearing aids to a limited number of hearing professionals, and plans to offer the feature to all dispensing professionals and their clients in late February, according to CTO Achin Bhowmik, PhD, in an interview with Hearing Review on Tuesday, December 18. Using integrated sensors, the Fall Detection and Alert feature is designed to automatically detect falls and send messages to as many as three contacts.
Fall detection sensors are currently implemented in all Livio AI devices as part of its standard hardware platform, and Starkey has been working on the Fall Alert feature to maximize its utility for end users prior to the system’s widespread implementation.
Falls are a massive public health problem, particularly for older adults. It’s estimated that injuries due to falls will account for $67.7 billion in public health spending by 2020, and according to the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) falls are currently responsible for an older adult being admitted to a US emergency room every 11 seconds. Additionally, people with hearing loss are particularly susceptible to falls. A Johns Hopkins study suggests that having hearing loss triples the risk of falls for people age 40 and older—and the findings hold up regardless of whether their hearing loss is moderate or severe.
How Starkey Fall Detection and Alerts work. Starkey’s new Fall Detection system is said to have several benefits over existing stand-alone medical alert systems, which are typically attached to a lanyard around the neck. “The first key advantage is that a hearing aid is almost always in your ear during your active hours, making for one less thing to carry or remember. One of the major problems with medical alert systems is getting people to wear them,” says Bhowmik. “Second, we have two fall detection sensors [in binaural fittings] for the right side and the left side, whereas most fall detection systems have only one. And the way the two sensors are spaced apart and the way in which you hold your head, we can get better and more accurate results than neck-worn sensors designed to detect falls.”
According to Bhowmik, part of Starkey’s recent research has revolved around what constitutes an actual fall as opposed false-positives such as quick downward movements or even accidentally dropping the hearing aid. “If you take the hearing aid off your ear and drop it on the ground, you will not get a false-positive for falling with Livio AI,” says Bhowmik. “We have been working on [eliminating false-positives] for over a year. A good AI system is only as good as the data you train the system with. In this particular case, if the left hearing aid detects a fall, it immediately checks with the right hearing aid to see if the data matches what would indicate a fall for the system. Unless it detects a fall from the hearing aids in tandem for both the right and left sides of the head, the device will eliminate those non-fall events and false-positives.”
The hearing care professional will be able to activate Fall Detection and Alerts through an easy-to-use interface within the fitting software for Starkey’s Livio AI hearing aids. The user can then enter the Auto Alert contacts—up to three people who are to be alerted in the event of a fall within the Thrive Hearing App. When a fall is detected by the system, an audio prompt asks the user if they have fallen. He or she then has 60 seconds to provide an Event Cancellation and stop the outgoing Fall Alert messages from being sent to their designated contacts. If the hearing aid user has fallen and elects to send the Fall Alert message to his/her contacts, they receive confirmation when each contact has been successfully reached.
The system also allows for a Manual Alert which can be activated by simply pressing the hearing aid button, sending an alert for a fall or non-fall related event. “Maybe you didn’t fall, but instead just felt dizzy or were otherwise forced to sit down on the floor,” explains Bhowmik. “Obviously, this is not a fall. But you can still use the Manual Alert to get help when you need it. By tapping a button, you can send an automatic alert to your contacts, telling them you need assistance.”
This is just another step in the direction of making the hearing aid a multi-purpose, multi-functional device, according to Starkey.
To learn more about Starkey’s Livio AI you can visit: https://www.starkey.com/hearing-aids/technologies/livio-artificial-intelligence-hearing-aids
Best place to buy your hearing aids, Bucks
Chalfont Hearing Centre is based at Little Chalfont Bucks and is run by Leon Cox the lead audiologist. Offering a full hearing service including hearing tests, ear wax removal (using Micros-Suction) and the fitting of the latest digital hearing aids for the Bucks area including Amersham and Beaconsfield. The Chalfont Hearing Centre can sometimes fit in early appointments through cancellations, so always ask to see if there are any early appointments needed for Ear Wax removal. Please mention this when you book an ear wax removal appointment.
Chalfont Hearing Centre, News:
Widex Announces TV PLAY and RedDot Award Honor
Widex A/S, Lynge, Denmark, the privately-owned Danish hearing aid company, has announced the launch of WIDEX TV PLAY™, a high-end TV accessory and streaming solution for WIDEX EVOKE™ hearing aids. The sleek and versatile TV PLAY received the Red Dot Design Concept Award last Friday, September 28, for its pleasing design.
Bucks hearing aids
Widex has also been honored as a leader in innovation in the RedDot Design Ranking for Design Concepts. The company placed number 4 out of 15 companies in the Americas and Europe region in recognition of its pursuit of design excellence over the past 5 years, reports the company.
Shipments of TV PLAY will start in November.
A valuable accessory for hearing aid users. A 2017 Nielsen survey1 reported that the US 65+ population consumes a daily average of 6 hours and 57 minutes of TV. Despite the growing number of mobile and web-based streaming services, watching TV is more popular than ever. But for some, it’s a struggle to hear the TV. Hearing aid users can find it hard to hear the TV over the other sounds in the room. In fact, some studies suggest that 78% of hearing aid users have trouble understanding things on the TV.
Hearing aids Chalfont Bucks
Designed for ease of use. According to Widex, TV PLAY lets hearing aid users enjoy great TV sound effortlessly through their hearing aids by providing direct streaming to both ears. TV PLAY is designed for fast and easy to set up, intuitive to control, and delivers outstanding and stable sound.
TV PLAY drops the “boxy” look of many TV streamers and instead has a futuristic design that blends in with modern homes. And if you prefer to have TV PLAY out of sight, the slim and discrete design fits behind flat screen TVs with no trouble, according to the company.
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“At Widex we work to ensure that hearing aid users get the most of all aspects of life,” said Widex President and CEO Jørgen Jensen in a press statement. “We know that TV is an important part of staying in touch with the world around them through news and entertainment programs. TV PLAY gives them a better and more stable experience that also looks great in their living rooms.”
Maximum streaming stability. With Widex’s patent-pending dual-antenna technology, TV PLAY is said to offer maximum streaming stability. An easy-to-use app lets users balance the volume of the TV sound with ambient sounds and conversations—or choose just to hear the sound from the TV.
1. Nielsen. Total Audience Report Q2 2017. November 16, 2017. Available at: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2017/the-nielsen-total-audience-q2-2017.html
Source: Widex A/S
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.
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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
Ear wax removal Chalfont, Bucks
Ear wax removal, Bucks
Do you live in Bucks? In need of a hearing test or your hearing aid repaired? Or maybe you need your ear wax removed by a leading ear wax removal centre? Here at the Hearing clinic Henley, Leon Cox can help with all your hearing needs.
Ear wax removal Buckinghamshire
We are experts in ear wax removal and use various techniques. Micro-suction is just one way we can get out your hard impacted ear wax and the traditional water irrigation is another. You can watch our video on Micro-suction here.
Tinnitus therapy in Bucks
DID YOU KNOW?
1 in 10 adults in the UK suffer with tinnitus.
Many of those suffering are not offered any help, and are simply told to live with it.
Tinnitus can almost always be improved for the client.
How can we help with Tinnitus?
We firstly meet with you and sit and discuss your full hearing history, work out what triggered the problem, we then talk to you about evaluating the degree of tinnitus and how it is impacting on your life, where your issues are. We normally examine the ears with our video otoscope and show you the results on our flat screen. We then carry out a puretone audiogram to assess how good your hearing is, or if there are any areas of damage (such as those caused by noise for example).
We then sit down and consult with you, armed with all the information, and work out a care plan for you, using the tools available to us as explained above.
Please call our clinic for an appointment and we will fit you in as soon as possible. We are based in Little Chalfont.
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
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
Earwax removal specialists in Bucks
The Chalfont hearing centre based in Chalfont is rated as one of the best places in Bucks to get your ears removed of wax.
If you have the older analogue hearing aid and are looking to open up your hearing to the very latest digital hearing aid. Leon Cox the lead audiologist based at the Henley and Chalfont hearing Centre & Clinics is the man to talk to.
The Chalfont hearing centre is a leading centre that has the latest technology to test your hearing, clean your ears (wax removal) and dispense the latest digital hearing aids. Along with hearing aid batteries and accessories.
Chalfont Hearing Centre News:
GN Hearing Launches Rechargeable Battery Option for ReSound Linx 3D
GN Hearing—the medical device division of the GN Group—has introduced a rechargeable battery option for the ReSound LiNX 3D hearing aids, the company announced. The rechargeable battery solution, available in North America and other major markets from September 1, gives ReSound users more options to choose from. The rechargeable option is also available for Beltone Trust in North America, and from September 1, this will be extended to other major markets.
The rechargeable battery option is made available based on an understanding of user expectations as well as a commitment to empower users to choose the solution best suited for their needs and preferences. The announcement follows GN Hearing’s release of the innovative 5thgeneration 2.4 GHz wireless technology ReSound LiNX 3D hearing aids, which offer unmatched sound quality, an enhanced fitting experience, and comprehensive remote fine-turning, giving users a new hearing care experience, GN Hearing said.
According to the company, ReSound LiNX 3D rechargeable has all of the benefits of ReSound LiNX 3D, now combined with the all-day power of a rechargeable battery. With overnight charging, users will experience the advantage of all-day power, without the need to change batteries.
“GN Hearing is pleased to provide yet another option for hearing aid users, built on our commitment to providing unmatched sound quality and user experience,” said Anders Hedegaard, president & CEO, GN Hearing. “This new rechargeable battery solution allows hearing care professionals to offer an additional option to their clients, and gives hearing aids users even more choices to tailor their hearing experience to their unique preferences,” he added.
Source: GN Hearing
Image: GN Hearing