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  • Highs and Lows – Understanding Frequency and Pitch

    For many people with hearing loss, hearing protection is a big deal. It’s important to protect whatever level of hearing ability you still have. In this article we discuss the effects of frequency and pitch.

    What are Frequency and Pitch?

    “Frequency” and “pitch” are common terms in any discussion about hearing, but what exactly are they?

    You probably already understand the basics. For example, “I eat biscuits frequently” means that your biscuit-eating occurrences come close together. With sound, “frequency” refers to how close together the sound waves are.

    Sound is created by vibration. Tap a tuning fork against the table and its tines vibrate, causing a sound wave to move away from it. Sound waves can come close together (high frequency) or further apart (low frequency). Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz), where 1 Hz = 1 vibration / second. (Learn more about the science here.)

    High Pitch and Low Pitch

    The sensation of a sound wave’s frequency is called pitch. A high-frequency sound, such as a dog whistle, is called “high-pitched,” and a low-frequency sound, like a bass drum, is “low-pitched.” Some pitches, or frequencies, are easier for humans to hear than others. Human hearing in the normal range can detect sounds of frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hz; dogs, between 50 and 45,000 Hz. Dolphins can detect frequencies as high as 200,000 Hz!

    Speech includes a mix of low- and high-pitched sounds:

    • Vowel sounds like a short O, as in the word “hot,” have low frequencies (250 to 1,000 Hz)
    • Consonants like S, H, and F have higher frequencies (1,500 to 6,000 Hz)

    Looking at an audiogram, you can see how a person’s ability to hear these sounds will affect the ability to understand language. We will look at this topic in a later blog so you can see how human perception of frequency matters in rating hearing protective devices.

  • Love, Marriage and Mishearing

    Mishearing can lead to frustration and misunderstanding for one or both partners in a relationship, but how do you prevent mishearing in the first place?

    Patience is very important. Communicating openly can help you and your partner maintain a lasting, loving relationship.

    Here are some of the basic steps, which any couple can employ, to build and maintain strong marital relationships.

    Set Expectations – Educate Your Partner

    Understanding the logistics of your partner’s hearing can mean taking a big step forward in your communication. A hard-of-hearing person may take up to five seconds to process the answer to a simple yes or no question. And frequently, a hard-of-hearing person only catches a percentage of the words spoken, and has to guess the rest of the meaning. If you’re a hearing person, that can seem like a very long time, because you’re expecting an instant answer. Sometimes the hearing person might say things like “Never mind, it wasn’t important,” which sends out the message that the hard-of-hearing person is not important, although that is probably not the intent.

    Instead of allowing this to happen, the couple can ensure that the hearing partner knows what to expect in their communication. If you can both accept the reality that there is a cognitive delay in offering a response to a simple question, it will help.

    Partners should make sure each one understands the other’s capabilities. It’s important for the hard-of-hearing partner to understand how much the hearing partner can hear. It’s often the case that hard-of-hearing people think that hearing people could hear everything. But that might not be the case if the hearing partner is in one room running water in the sink or vacuuming, they might not be able to hear the other person. Ironically, the hard-of-hearing person can become frustrated if their hearing partner can’t hear them. Talking about this issue can help both partners understand each other’s perspective a little better.

    Make a Plan

    Planning ahead and discussing contingencies is an important part of setting expectations. Acknowledging any concerns can highlight the need to anticipate how hearing loss can alter or prevent communication in different situations.

    Communicate About Communicating

    Make sure your partner understands how you feel. Explain to your family the best way for you to be able to “hear” them, for example, ask them to talk to you if they’re facing you, so you can see their lips move and their facial expression and better understand what is being said.

    Communicating effectively with each other is the first step preventing mishearing. Educating others is the next. If you have new acquaintances, make it clear with them that you or your partner is hearing impaired. Openness is paramount to getting support from others.

    Take Joy

    All relationships have bumps in the road, but the partners who can work through these issues together—and take something positive from them—are the most successful. You may get frustrated, and you may bark at each other, but hopefully you can end up laughing about it.

    Preventing mishearing

    In most cases, mishearing is preventable with routine hearing checks throughout life.

    Our hearing clinics in Farnham Common and Marlow are fully equipped with the latest cutting edge testing facilities, thus enabling us to carry out entirely accurate hearing assessments, and consequently advise on the best possible solution, should a client wish to proceed with our recommendation.

    Unlike widely advertised high street/national outlets who are basically affiliated with one major hearing aid manufacturer, we are proudly independent. This means we can give entirely unbiased advice about the most appropriate hearing aids that we feel best suit each individual. We deal with all the major hearing aid manufacturers, Phonak hearing aids, Oticon, Widex and GN ReSound to name but a few and supply all types of hearing aids, including the latest digital hearing aids and invisible hearing aids, such as Lyric hearing aids also known as hidden hearing aids.

    If you’d like to discuss hearing loss or mishearing, either your own or a friend or loved one, please contact us.

  • National Lipreading Awareness Week 2016

    Free 1-hour tasters in lipreading skills Sept 12 – 16

    • Are you one of the 1 in 6 people in the UK with a hearing loss?
    • Do you struggle to hear in noisy situations?
    • Have you thought about joining a lipreading class?

    Free one-hour tasters are being offered in Buckinghamshire during Lipreading Awareness Week (September 12-16) by tutors Judy Perry and Molly Berry from the Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults.

    Lipreading can be a good support in conjunction with hearing aids and learning to lipread is a skill which can improve how much you understand when people speak to you. Classes are small and friendly and also provide information on coping strategies and assistive equipment.

    Free lipreading taster sessions in Buckinghamshire:

    Mon 12 Sept – 10:30am:  Amersham

    Mon 12 Sept – 2:30pm: Beaconsfield Old Town

    Tue 13 Sept – 2:00pm: Gerrards Cross

    Thu 15 Sept – 11:00am: Haddenham

    Fri 16 Sept – 10:30am: High Wycombe*

    Fri 16 Sept – 2:30pm: Wendover

    *This session will be at Wycombe General Hospital and will include useful communication strategies and care of your hearing aids.

    For further details please email Judy Perry or call her on 07837 993 923.

    Lipreading Community Tutors, Classes throughout Bucks, Herts & Beds or for classes nationwide visit the Association’s website.

  • Oticon Opn – a remarkable new hearing instrument

    We’re pleased to announce we are now able to supply the new Oticon Opn hearing aid.

    Introducing a better choice for the best all-round hearing experience

    It’s not every day that a major change comes along in hearing aid technology. But today is that day! Today there’s a revolutionary new device from Oticon that will improve how you hear – and how you participate in life.

    Oticon Opn hearing aid – A remarkable new hearing instrument

    I’m pleased to be one of the first independent hearing care clinics to introduce you to the Oticon Opn™! This remarkable hearing instrument utilises state-of-the-art technology that offers you more advantages than any other current hearing aid.

    With Oticon Opn, you’ll enjoy 30% better speech understanding*, a reduction in your listening effort by 20%* and remember 20% more of your conversations**!

    50 times faster sound processing

    How is that possible? The microchip inside Oticon Opn processes sound exceptionally fast – 50 times faster than any other Oticon product. Oticon’s exclusive BrainHearing™ technology helps your brain make sense of sound so you don’t have to work so hard to hear. You will feel less stress and be more likely to join in conversations.

    But there’s something else, too. Thanks to Oticon’s Opn Sound Experience, this hearing device actually adjusts and balances all the sounds around you, not just the ones directly in front of you. Oticon Opn separates speech from noise, letting you shift focus from one speaker to another, even in complex listening environments.

    As the world’s first internet-connected hearing device, Oticon Opn offers a full array of wireless possibilities. It connects directly to your iPhone®, allowing you to hear your phone as well as stream music. A TV Adapter turns your hearing aids into wireless headphones, and the Oticon ON App – available on the App Store® and on Google Play™ – makes it easy for Oticon Opn hearing aid users to have additional control of their hearing aids with just a touch of their fingertips.

    Call us now on 01753 642687 or 01628 482101

    Book your exclusive appointment to see the Oticon Opn by calling Marguerite on the above numbers or email us at

    *, **Compared to Alta 2 Pro

  • Tips for Travelling with Hearing Loss

    You may travel for work, you may travel for pleasure – either way the chances are you will be planning a trip over the summer this year. But travelling with hearing loss presents its very own challenges, which can make for an interesting adventure! Here are some tips for travelling with hearing loss from our friends at Phonak.

    Tips for Travelling by Plane

    • When booking a flight, always sign up for flight change alerts via text or email. If someone else books the flight for you, follow up with the airline to ensure you receive updated information by phone or email.Try to book a seat up front where the flight crew can find you and communicate with you if needed.
    • Notify the flight staff and flight crew of your communication needs and ask them to let you know if there are any travel changes.
    • Leave your hearing technology in place. Hearing aids and cochlear implants do not have to be removed before going through airport scanners.
    • Airlines prohibit deaf and hard of hearing persons from sitting in exit row seats for safety reasons.

    Tips for Travelling by Car

    • If you’re the driver and you lip-read or sign/cue, teach your passengers to insert pauses in their conversation when your eyes are on the road.
    • Ask passengers to use an FM system in order to deliver the conversation right to your ears. This allows you to keep your eyes on the road at all times.
    • Use a Bluetooth phone system to provide hands-free access to calls.

    Tips for Travelling by Bus or Train

    • If there are no visible names for each stop, enlist the help of a nearby passenger to let you know when a certain stop comes up. Another trick is to count the number of stops until yours. Buses and trains that have visual displays of stops and information are most helpful.
    • Tell a fellow traveller or an attendant that you have hearing loss so that you don’t miss any safety announcements.

    Tips for staying in a hotel or resort

    • Some hotels have a visual signal alert for the doors and alarm clock. Ask for details of these at the front desk or when you make your reservations.
    • Many hotels use universal remotes with the one-click “CC” closed-captioning button. No more having to go through five menu screens to turn on the captioning!
    • If you’re travelling without an alarm clock and the hotel doesn’t have a visual alarm kit, one trick you can use to make sure you wake up early: Drink a couple of glasses of water before heading to bed. This will wake you up on time!
    • If you’re travelling internationally, you may need an outlet converter to charge your rechargeable batteries for your implant or hearing aids, or to plug in your electronic devices.

    If you have any other tips for travelling with hearing loss, we’d love to hear them, just add a comment below.

    If you’d like to discuss hearing loss, either your own or a friend or loved one, please contact us.

  • Join us at our information days on 13th & 14th June

    We are holding two special hearing aid information days that will particularly appeal to the “cosmetically conscious,” demonstrating the uniqueness of the Lyric hearing aid and showcasing the Virto V hearing aid, the smallest and most powerful custom-made hearing aid from leading Swiss manufacturer, Phonak.

    We will have experts from Phonak on hand on the two days to answer all your questions relevant to these remarkable new products.

    They say “seeing is believing,” but so is hearing!

    If you want to know more and find out what cosmetic hearing solutions are suitable for you, reserve your space at one of the open day events by calling our secretary Marguerite, who will be pleased to book a convenient time slot for you.

    To book:  0845 222 0579

    Special Offers


  • What to do if your hearing aids get wet

    I’m often asked what to do if hearing aids get wet. Usually this is accidental – one lady recently saw to her horror that her hearing aids had accidentally fallen off her sunlonger and into a hotel swimming pool!

    Most hearing aids can survive up to about 30 minutes in water, so if you are able to rescue them within that time, the first thing to do is to dry them out as quickly as possible.

    How to dry your hearing aids

    • Remove any surface water with a soft, dry cloth
    • Take out the battery and check for surface water inside the battery door
    • Leave your hearing aids in a warm dry place, an airing cupboard or a shelf above a radiator. Don’t place them directly on a heat source though. Leave them to try for about an hour. Never put your hearing aid in a microwave as this will cause irreversible damage!
    • Put a new battery into the hearing aids

    Doing all the above should mean that your hearing aids are just fine. If there is still a problem you may need to take your hearing aid in to your audiologist or hearing aid professional for repair due to water damage.

    Unless you’re wearing the new Lyric hearing aids that can be kept in continuously, it’s best to remove your hearing aid before showering, bathing or swimming. It’s also a good idea to remove the battery from the hearing aid at night and leave the battery compartment open, to keep it aired and free from moisture and condensation.

    If you have any questions about maintenance or repair of your hearing aids, please get in touch.

  • Causes of Hearing Loss

    In the last few decades, researchers have made tremendous advancements in hearing technology, even for the most profoundly deaf. In most cases, hearing loss is now a treatable condition, providing new opportunities for people, and their families, touched by a hearing loss diagnosis. In this article we look at the main causes of hearing loss.

    The condition is probably more common than you might think. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the most prevalent disabilities for newborn babies, as well as aging baby boomers. Approximately one of every 1000 infants and one in three people over 60 have hearing loss. It can occur before birth or over a lifetime, and affect only one ear, or both.

    To understand what makes hearing loss such a common condition, let’s look at how the ear works and see what causes hearing loss.

    The ear is a pretty amazing bit of Mother Nature’s engineering. It’s made up of three parts: The outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. All three parts work together to turn sound into something the brain can translate.

    Sound is made up of vibrations in the air. The ear captures these sound vibrations, and then converts them into electrical signals that are received, interpreted, and understood by the brain. Hearing loss occurs when any of the three parts of the ear is damaged, or prevented from functioning properly. Hearing loss is grouped into two categories: congenital (hearing loss that’s present at birth) or acquired (hearing loss that happens after birth).

    Causes of Hearing Loss

    Congenital Hearing Loss Causes Acquired Hearing Loss Causes
    Drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy Aging process
    Genetic factors Chickenpox
    Gestational diabetes Ear infections
    Preeclampsia Encephalitis
    Prematurity Flu
    Rh incompatibility complication Head injury
      Noise exposure
      Ototoxicity (damage caused by medications)


    Hearing Clinics Covering Slough, Farnham Common, Marlow and Maidenhead

    If you live in the Slough, Farnham Common, Marlow or Maidenhead areas, please talk to us if you think you may have a hearing loss. We will arrange a confidential appointment where we will test your hearing and advise the most suitable course of action.

    At Help in Hearing we carry out hearing tests in a friendly and comfortable environment using the latest testing equipment. Hearing tests require concentration but are not painful. We will discuss your lifestyle and medical history related to your ears and hearing in depth.

    Contact us if you would like to arrange an appointment.

  • Coloured Hearing Aids have got the Cool Factor!

    An article we read recently about a little girl who wanted pink hearing aids so she could have “fairy ears,” got us thinking about what people want from their hearing aids. In this article we talk about coloured hearing aids.

    Many people like to decorate their hearing aids or experiment with colours and prints. The choice of a bold colour hearing aid gives them uniqueness and, for younger adults, a cool factor that acts as a fashion statement. Showing that hearing aids can be fun and can attract attention can help in situations when the person does not want to wear them or perceives them as old fashioned and boring. Manufacturers around the world have started the trend of offering a wide choice of colours, personal prints, cartoon characters or any other design the wearer demands.

    Hearing aid designs to match the taste of the wearer

    Often children’s hearing aids are adorned with flowers, butterflies, tiger prints or a smiling SpongeBob. The choice is unlimited and every design may be modified to match the taste of the wearer. Regardless of the type – in the ear or behind the ear, the device can be bright pink or turquoise green. Some companies, such as Phonak, even provide different stickers that can be attached to the hearing device to give it a personal touch. After wearing it for a while, you can easily replace with a new one.

    For those who like extravagance, though, there are even braver and more fashionable options such as Swarovski crystals or having a corresponding design of the hearing aid and mobile phone.

    Hearing aids with excitement and personality

    Regardless of the choice of colour, however, discreet or brighter, the important thing is to feel comfortable with your device and have the functions and features that you need. Choosing a colour could add a note of excitement and personality and can transform the hearing aid from an unwanted inconvenience into a cool and attractive accessory.

    You can read the original article that prompted this blog here: “The Secret Deafie: The girl who wanted coloured hearing aids (and wasn’t allowed to have them)

    If you need hearing aids and want to choose something that gives you the cool factor, talk to us about coloured hearing aids. We have a range of aids from leading edge hearing aid manufacturers such as Widex and Phonak and can discuss the options most suitable for you.

  • Study Shows That Hearing Aids Improve Brain Function

    A news item in The Hearing Review caught our attention this week: A recent study at the University of Texas has found that hearing aids improve brain function in people with hearing loss.

    We’ve long known that untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation and diminished quality of life, but Jamie Desjardins, who has conducted this new study, goes further in explaining why this happens.

    “If you have some hearing impairment and you’re not using hearing aids, maybe you can figure out what the person has said, but that comes at a cost,” Ms Desjardins said. “You may actually be using the majority of your cognitive resources – your brain power – in order to figure out that message.” In other words the untreated hearing loss interferes with your cognitive abilities because so much mental effort is diverted towards understanding speech.

    Significant improvement after wearing hearing aids

    The study by the University of Texas looked at groups of individuals in their 50s and 60s with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss who had previously never used hearing aids. After two weeks of hearing aid use, there was an increase in percent scores for recalling words and selective attention tests, plus the processing speed at which participants selected the correct response was faster. By the end of the study, participants had exhibited significant improvement in their cognitive function.

    Ms DesJardins went on to paint a scenario of someone who has hearing loss and is still of working age, but they’re not wearing their hearing aids. They are spending so much of their brain power just focusing on listening they may not be able to perform their job as well. Or if they can, they’re exhausted because they are working so much harder and are more tired at the end of the day.

    Ongoing care and expertise of audiologist ensures best outcome for hearing impaired

    We see many clients who have resisted going to have their hearing checked because they don’t want to admit they have a problem. Or, they’ve received a hearing aid from another source but have not been given the aftercare support to help ensure their hearing aid is performing well for them. Here at Help in Hearing, we focus a little more on the expertise and experience of the audiologist and it is a combination of the commitment and professional relationship with the client that makes the hearing aids achieve the best outcome for the hearing impaired. We spend a great deal of time making sure we propose the right type of hearing aid for your specific type of hearing loss and we offer ongoing care throughout the lifespan of the devices, so the success rate is much higher, meaning you can get on with your job, your family life and your social life without having to spend so much effort on trying to hear what people are saying.

    Read the full article about the University of Texas study.