tel: 0345 222 0579      email: mail@helpinhearing.co.uk

  • Selecting an audiologist

    What should you look for when selecting an audiologist?

    It is estimated that one in six people in the UK have hearing loss and fail to address the issue for up to ten years. That’s 10 million people who are not addressing their health! And it’s not an age related situation as 3.6 million people with hearing loss are of working age. Staggeringly just 20% (2 million people) wear hearing aids and less than 15% (1.4 million) use them regularly. Leaving 6.7 million people that are not addressing the issue, and trying to manage day to day with one of their senses underperforming. If hearing issues are left unattended they will just become progressively worse. Like any other health situation such as sight, addressing hearing loss early ensures you can remedy the problem and continue to enjoy an active and full lifestyle. Research shows that ongoing stimulation of the cognitive functions allows the brain to keep engaged and maintain good memory and communication skills.

    If you are one of the majority that has sidestepped hearing issues and you’re ready to bring your hearing back in line, then you need to know what you should look for when selecting an audiologist? Below we highlight the key factors and choices you need to make. 

    Audiology experience

    The Help in Hearing team - independent, family run hearing care practice
    The Help in Hearing team: (Left to Right) Gilly, Kevin, Selma, Jan

    Your hearing is so complex that it is vital for a hearing assessment to be comprehensive and thorough. A consultation with an experienced audiologist is the first step on your journey.

    Hearing technology is advancing at great speed, but your hearing needs more than just technology. It also needs experience.

    At Help in Hearing we are a local, independent, family owned, hearing healthcare practice with a combined 50 years’ experience. We are proud to offer our clients unrivalled standards of professional hearing health care.

    Our friendly but highly professional approach has earned us life-long client relationships built on trust, reliability and continuity of care. Many have become friends and are self-proclaimed members of our Help in Hearing family. Our hearing care specialists have exceptional audiological knowledge and their experience in all aspects of hearing care is unrivalled. They are committed to ongoing and continuing education, frequently attending seminars, courses and trade shows to keep up with newest ideas and developments in the industry.

    Independent audiologist

    When you decide to seek services from independent audiologists, such as ourselves, you are looked after by professionals who are committed to best service, attention and solutions with access to products from a range of manufacturers. Our business exists entirely from recommendations and referrals from clients who have experienced our bespoke, personal but highly professional approach. The latest Which? report confirmed that the highest satisfactory score for hearing care providers was achieved by the smaller, independent local businesses, because to us “it’s personal.”

    Hearing health

    Hearing health is important to us
    Kevin with one of our clients

    Our hearing health should be equally as important as eye checks, dental checks and hearing checks and should become the norm from a very early age. We at Help in Hearing advise that hearing tests should be carried out regularly from early childhood through to our senior years.

    At Help in Hearing we understand that caring for your hearing health is just as important as caring for the rest of your overall health and wellbeing. By looking after all aspects of your hearing, ear care and hearing protection, we make sure you remain socially active, stay confident in your working environment and ascertain your continuing enjoyment of your hearing health.

    Listening

    An audiologist should listen to your story, establish your family history, find out any related medical information and understand your particular requirements.

    Evaluating

    Evaluating your hearing requirements will include a number of tests using state of the art diagnostic testing systems. You can’t know this on your own. You may think you are losing your hearing, but maybe you only need to have excess ear wax removed. An inexperienced audiologist might not spot this and may recommend expensive hearing aids when all you need is a simple ear wax removal treatment.

    Recommending

    Your hearing requirements are unique, so it’s important that a personal treatment plan is created for you that exactly matches your lifestyle, technology requirements and budget.

    After care

    Aftercare is very important
    Aftercare is very important to us

    Your audiologist should see you for as many follow-ups as necessary, to ensure that your new device is comfortable and as effective as possible. It is also helpful if the costs of your care can be spread across a hearing plan membership programme.

    Client Testimonials

    Client testimonials
    Make sure you get some recommendations from other clients

    Does your audiologist have good recommendations from other clients? Check out their website and ask to talk to other clients to find out what they think. Or look at online sites such as GroHawk where you can look at reviews. Some of the testimonials we’ve received from our clients:

    “Selma gave me the most intensive hearing test, much more sophisticated than at the chemist”

    “Selma went above and beyond the call of duty. It’s the personal touch that you just wouldn’t find in the high street.”

    “I got sick of seeing so called audiologists who sold me expensive hearing aids without explaining how to use them.”

    “I made a lot of mistakes in seeking help and wasting many thousands of dollars and pounds on people who were merely hearing aid salesman posing as audiologists.”

    “I recommend Selma to everybody, because not only is she brilliant but she knows how to break through that most insidious aspect of loss of hearing which I see all around me, denial that it is happening, born out of fear.”

    “No effort has been spared to ensure that my hearing aids have been adjusted to give me the maximum possible benefit.”

    Commitment to quality of hearing care

    Commitment to quality of hearing care

    At Help in Hearing, our commitment to quality of care is unfaltering. We give you as much time as you need and never give up on anyone. Our aim is to help you maintain your hearing health and enjoy life to the full. We ask our clients to rate our service and are very proud to receive an overall score of 94% from our client feedback surveys to date.

    For us, it’s personal.

    If you’re based in the Buckinghamshire, UK area, and would like to talk to our experienced audiologists or come in for a thorough hearing assessment, please get in touch either by email or via our website form. You can also give us a ring on 0345 222 0579.

     

  • Free hearing care week

    Free Hearing Care Week

    April 1st – 5th, 2019

    9:00am – 5:00pm by appointment only

    Call freephone 0345 222 0579 to book an appointment.

    For the first week in April we are offering free hearing tests and ear health checks for any friends and family who book in with our new Audiologist, Wendy Davies. Wendy will also be at hand to discuss the new technology and accessories that are now available for anyone who would like to come in for an update.

    Existing clients are encouraged to meet Wendy and book in for hearing aid servicing and cleaning, or for a check-up.

    • Meet our new Audiologist, Wendy Davies
    • Hearing aid cleaning and servicing
    • Free ear checks and hearing test
    • Technology updates
    • Accessory demonstrations to further enhance your hearing, including Bluetooth connectivity

    Call freephone 0345 222 0579 to book an appointment.

     

  • March hearing technology trial

    March Technology Trial

    Make the month of March memorable and trial the latest hearing technology

    Throughout March we are offering you the opportunity to personally trial the latest hearing aid technology.

    Try the new hearing technology throughout March

    At our Technology Days in November we unveiled a host of new hearing aid advances. In case you were unable to attend our events, or have not been able to visit us again since, we thought we would turn March into a memorable month when you can test out the options and, with our help, see what would suit you best.

    Trial the latest hearing technologyAdvice on the right hearing solution for you

    The wealth of choice is almost overwhelming, so our role as independent hearing consultants is to help guide you to the most appropriate solution. Even the best technology needs the support and experience of a healthcare professional, to ensure the most successful outcome for your individual hearing needs. With our dedicated ongoing aftercare, we guarantee that whatever choice is made, it is the right one for you.

    New hearing products available to try

    Book now and you can choose from the new generation Marvel by Phonak which offers true hands-free calls, or the new-look slimline Styletto hearwear by Sivantos. Then there’s the new custom Oticon OPN aid that uses an app to monitor your health and the Starkey Livio device which has a foreign language translation facility, plus motion sensors to monitor falls.

    Book your dedicated free trial appointment now

    Book any time in March to trial this new aid technology in our Farnham Common or Marlow hearing clinics. Call our Freephone number to make an appointment: 0345 222 0579

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Enhance your hearing, life is worth listening to

  • Hearing loss in young people

    Why hearing loss is becoming more common in young people

    We accept that hearing loss is something we may have to deal with as we get older. However, a growing number of young people are now reporting hearing loss to some degree. The World Health Organisation estimates that 1.1 billion people aged between 12 and 35 are at risk of losing their hearing. Below are a few of the problems causing hearing loss in young people, and how we can prevent it.

    Modern technology

    With the rise of modern technology, including personal listening devices, stereo systems, and surround-sound cinema, young people today are being constantly exposed to loud noises. Prolonged exposure to loud music is known to cause tinnitus and even permanent hearing loss. To prevent damage, turn down the volume on your musical devices and consider wearing earplugs to live music events.

    Alcohol

    Studies have shown that alcohol may inhibit your middle ear’s acoustic reflex, which tells your muscles to contract in response to loud noise. The less sensitive your acoustic reflex, the more at risk you are of damaging your hearing. To prevent this, consider reducing your alcohol consumption when you know you will be exposed to loud noise, such as at a live music event.

    Noise pollution

    Young people are reigniting city centre living. Whilst this is having positive consequences for the vibrancy of our cities, noise pollution is also on the increase. From traffic and construction work to community events, city centre living is a hazard for young residents’ hearing. Even living next door to a noisy dog can put you at risk. To prevent hearing loss, plant bushes and trees around your home to block out noise. Wear earplugs at night to give your ears a reprieve. Alternatively, invest in soundproof insulation to keep the city noise outside.

    Going forward

    There are many things you can do to prevent hearing loss in young people in our noisy, modern world. Going forward, ensure you get regular hearing check-ups. Identifying a problem early on is vital to avoid permanent hearing loss.

    If you do notice a decline in your hearing, consider seeking advice about hearing aids. Studies suggest that attitudes toward hearing aids are becoming more positive. Hearing aids are no longer associated with seniors or being slow. In fact, 60% of young people now say they “would not hesitate to use them, if needed” to solve their hearing problems for good.

    Hearing loss in young people – where to find out more

    If you’d like to find out more about how to protect your hearing, visit our Hearing Protection page. 

    At Help in Hearing we can advise on the most appropriate hearing protection from custom made solutions, in the ear monitors, electronic noise suppressors for those that shoot or a non-customised product, should you need something urgent for a one off event. We also supply customised swim moulds. If you’d like to book an appointment to discuss your hearing or have your hearing tested, please fill in our online form.

  • Tinnitus and craniosacral therapy

    Look after yourself properly and your tinnitus will take care of itself

    Craniosacral therapy for tinnitus – a positive tinnitus story

    Julian Cowan Hill on craniosacral therapy for tinnitus

    In November we invited Julian Cowan Hill to our Tinnitus Support Group to give a talk on his tinnitus experience. He is a Craniosacral Therapist, Psychotherapist, Tinnitus Counsellor and author of A Positive Tinnitus Story, Tinnitus, From Tyrant to Friend and The Long Tide to Silence. Julian was affected by the condition for many years and eventually found his personal solution in craniosacral therapy. His talk was very inspiring and a number of support group members are now seeking his advice further. Essentially his message is: “Look after yourself properly and your tinnitus will take care of itself.” He has kindly written a very interesting article on craniosacral therapy for tinnitus and also general tinnitus advice for us which we have published below. 

    Look after yourself properly and your tinnitus will take care of itself

    By Julian Cowan Hill MA UKCP RCST

    When you work with hundreds of people with tinnitus, certain patterns become clear. The core issue seems to be learning how to let go at a deep level, and once a person becomes able to do this, symptoms get better. In this article I want to show that if you receive the right kind of support, then the process of letting go takes place all by itself. I have had a lot of experience easing people with tinnitus out of a locked up state, and have witnessed great improvement not only with the noises in their head, but in their ability to be comfortable, positive, relaxed and healthy.

    A person with tinnitus typically holds tension at the base of the head and along the length of the spine. Often the body feels like it is standing to attention or bracing itself. One man lay on the couch and claimed he was relaxed, and yet his head wasn’t even touching the pillow! He wasn’t aware of this, and when I told him, he needed to put his hand behind his head to check what I said was true. I have met literally hundreds of people with tinnitus who have not much body awareness because they are too locked up and numb to be able to feel what is going on inside.

    Tinnitus people live in their heads spending most of their time living in hectic thought processes, planning, analysing, worrying, imagining, sorting out problems. There is always something to be achieved and there is rarely a prolonged period of just being happy with the way things are. Give a person with tinnitus a day off, and they will fill it with frantic activity, rather than sitting somewhere quietly and noticing the surroundings, without a care in the world.

    How people with tinnitus relax

    How people with tinnitus relax

    It is always very revealing talking to people with tinnitus about how they relax. They might say they enjoy gardening for example. But when you look into it, rather than being aware of the positions of the body, what they can smell, or how the plants looks, that is, simply being aware of the present moment, it seems that they spend most of their time in their thoughts, only vaguely in touch with their body and sometimes miles away from what they are doing. People with tinnitus on a walk, for example, will be much less aware of the simple sensation of their feet on the ground than what is going on in their head.

    As a Craniosacral therapist you can literally feel how people hold themselves and how open or closed their system is. Treating tinnitus I often find a moment when intense energy at the base of the head releases, and suddenly the spine relaxes and people reconnect with the body. When they get up at the end of the session they are much more aware of how their body feels inside, and they feel really connected to the ground. When this happens their head feels lighter, calmer and clearer.

    Hiding in frantic activity

    If tinnitus could talk, as a symptom, it would cry out, “Listen to your body and learn to let go.” Although this condition actually forces you to listen to your body, most run away and hide in frantic activity, desperately trying to divert their focus away from themselves and their inner world. Sometimes tinnitus makes people run away from themselves even more. They cannot accept the way they are inside. The only place for them to go is into their thoughts and activities.

    In my experience it only becomes possible for the central nervous system to let go and switch off when genuine support is offered. When this sense of support is felt through direct contact, and the nervous system experiences a calm, clear and manageable contact, this brings in a very real possibility of transformation.

    We can only let go when we feel safe, and someone is there to hold us. As a practitioner you become very used to meeting people who are carrying too much and do not let themselves be supported. Consequently they spend most of their life in a permanent state of overwhelm.

    Help network

    When this support strengthens into a help network reaching out over several weeks or months at a time, this can have a profound effect on a person’s sense of well being, and what they are able to manage. This can provide the platform for them to let go much more deeply than they are used to, on a mental and emotional and physical level.

    Craniosacral therapy also brings sensitivity and energetic awareness into contact with your body. This gradually helps you develop your own awareness of how you really are inside at a deep level. In my mind it is one of the best therapies for bringing the nervous system back into a state of manageable calm. This is a very real, palpable experience that you gradually develop over the course of a few months, and years, depending on how far people want to go.Tinnitus treatment

    My tinnitus story

    People with tinnitus have a deep need to be heard and understood. Because I had tinnitus myself for 16 years, of which 4 years was so severe I couldn’t hear the phone ring, I am in the fortunate position of being able to understand what people are going through. People find great solace in knowing that I have healed my own tinnitus, and this gives them not only a positive sense of hope, but also motivation and inspiration to start looking after themselves appropriately.

    In a society where people are often told devastating news that there is nothing they can do about their tinnitus, and need to learn to live with it, I find providing hope, guidance and a means of being able to let go has proved to be a powerful antidote to this negative “spell.” When a person is in need of support and feels they are losing control, it has very serious consequences when a practitioner they go to for help leaves them feeling hopeless and with no way out. This shows very little understanding of this condition and how to meet people’s needs appropriately.

    In circles where there is a lot of awareness and experience with the relationship between practitioner and client, it becomes clear that practitioners needs to care about their clients and be open to be affected by their suffering. Deep down we all know that if the person we go to for help doesn’t really care, then there is only a limited amount of value in what they are offering and their ability to resolve deeply held issues.

    How tinnitus happens

    It is commonly accepted that tinnitus appears when someone’s nervous system becomes stuck between “fight or flight” mode (sympathetic hyper arousal) and the freezing response (parasympathetic overwhelm).

    When we move into a state of red-alert the way we hear changes radically. Normally we happily monitor background noises just below the level of consciousness and can focus sharply on important information when needed, e.g. hear one person’s voice in a noisy pub. In red-alert mode, which includes most people with tinnitus, you listen out for any sign of danger most of the time and as a result you notice background noise.

    In fact your hearing becomes so sensitive that you hear the noises inside as well as outside the body. Nervous impulses along the auditory nerve can sound like a buzz or hiss. Movements inside the head such as changes in pressure can sound like crackles and pops. For some, the sound of the heart beat becomes noticeable, and for many it can becomes hard work trying to distinguish what’s important from all the cacophony going on in the background.

    The cerebral cortex also becomes highly activated and so the part of the brain that remembers sound, recognises it and can conjure up any imagined sound becomes over-amped and too switched on. This means that our sound imagination can take over. I can remember, when my tinnitus was bad, listening out for the doorbell and often swearing that I heard it, when in fact it was just my auditory cortex being very active. It was very confusing.

    How tinnitus clients improve

    When I take on a client with tinnitus, my aim is to help bring them back into a switched off, not-a-care-in-the-world mode. As they move more and more into that state, people commonly improve in the following way:

    The first sign of relief comes as you stop being bugged by symptoms so much. This often happens fairly quickly, after 4 to 6 sessions or so. The tinnitus is there but it is not nearly such a big deal. I find that knowing others have got better really helps at this stage, as well as understanding that tinnitus is just a central nervous system reaction to having too much undigested life experience going on behind the scenes. This helps the whole condition feel less and less threatening.

    Then, as you genuinely start learning how to let go, you start paying less attention to it and forget about it. You can spend a few days without bothering to notice how it is. This can be a milestone of progress, as it gives you proof that you are going in the right direction. This in turn can help you let go even more, creating a positive circle of progress. To get to this stage may take anything from a few months to a year or two depending on how much people need to process and release.

    Tinnitus as a warning system

    Gradually symptoms become harder and harder to notice, and although people can readily find the noise again if they look for it, tinnitus has really started to play a minor role in that person’s awareness.

    It is at this stage, that something vital happens. Tinnitus will often come back if there is acute stress, tiredness, anger, illness etc, but people start to learn that how they are has a huge effect on symptoms. As a result they start to take more responsibility for their own health and really start to look after themselves. They notice that their usual habit of getting twitched up about things doesn’t help, and may well take this into therapy.

    For these people tinnitus now has become a healthometre acting as a happy warning system telling you to calm down, get help or have a few early nights. People know that if they have a bad week, that it will soon balance itself out again. They also start to becoming much more self-sufficient in their own management and are motivated to look after themselves. They know what they need, and have ready access to that help.

    Eventually, as the nervous system strengthens more and more, it takes more and more resistance, stress, illness, trauma etc to bring the symptoms back. For example, just a couple of years ago, I found coffee and wine made my tinnitus come back, but these days I can get away with coffee and wine every day (not something I encourage!) and still be free of it.

    Craniosacral therapy can help tinnitus symptoms

    I believe craniosacral therapy is particularly good for tinnitus as it works very specifically on the parts of the central nervous system that switches off the stress response. It helps people come out of the freezing response, pass through fight or flight, back towards the ideal and calm state of homeostasis. It is important to note that some people may never have experienced this ideal state of calm and well being and it can come as a real surprise and new experience, as it was for me!

    I have tried to capture some of the main qualities of these states in the chart below:

    The different states of tinnitus
    The various states of tinnitus

    The longer you stay in homeostasis the harder it is for tinnitus to carry on.

    Sometimes people move from one state to another in just a couple of treatments, but usually their life pattern is so strong that they soon move back into a similar situation, albeit with some improvement. This is why I insist in seeing people for a minimum of six sessions.

    More significant and long-lasting changes happen gradually over an extended period of time. This long-term approach takes root much more deeply and feels so manageable and right that people very often don’t notice how much they have improved until you ask them about their symptoms. I often have to refer back to my notes to remember what they came with at the beginning of the process.

    Tinnitus treatment schedule

    Most people work well with a treatment once a week or every two weeks. I would say that over 90% of those I treat at least six times notice that they are not bugged by their tinnitus as much, and feel more comfortable with it.

    As people slow down, let go of their baggage and relax, they usually make big changes to their life-style. People naturally find themselves working less, spending more time looking after themselves, eating better, taking more exercise, sleeping more, and most significantly being able to stop and watch the world go by without filling their free time with frantic activity.

    At the beginning of the process I usually teach people relaxation techniques, and provide plenty of counselling regarding specific issues of life with tinnitus. I help people develop a better relationship with their own symptoms, and eventually to treat it as a positive health indicator.

    Sometimes it is clear that people need more support above and beyond what I can offer. I often suggest people have psychotherapy to help deal with core issues in their lives, and will refer them to other practitioners if I feel that is more appropriate for their specific issues.

    Candida or thrush can lead to tinnitus

    Psychotherapy for tinnitus

    A common condition that is hugely unsupported and misunderstood is Candida or thrush. Frequent courses of antibiotics have meant many people have this chronic condition, which usually leads to tinnitus, a feeling of low energy and a clogged up head and hearing system. I often suggest they see a nutritionist or find out more about this condition for themselves on the Internet or in a bookshop.

    Finally a new area I am starting to work with is the ability to work with our imagined sound in our “mind’s ear.” Most people are able to imagine the sound of a waterfall, for example. If you play around with this imagination, you discover that you can increase, change, manipulate and control this sound, so that it can take the focus away from the tinnitus.

    This is a huge untapped resource in our hearing world. Learning how to increase the imagined sound of something you really love listening to, like the sound of the sea, your mother/wife singing a lullaby, the wind in the trees, your favourite piece of music, is very calming for the nervous system. With practice, I believe this could have the same effect as a sound-masker, with the added bonus of being much easier to use, and far more tailor-made. This area of work was inspired by training in Neuro Linguistic Programming.

    How to look after yourself to help tinnitus

    How to look after yourself to help tinnitus

    1 It is essential to develop body awareness and learn how to relax if you want to help your tinnitus. Go to a yoga, tai chi, or Pilates class on a weekly basis so you will have correct tuition and learn to get out of your head and get in touch with your body. This will prove invaluable in the long-term and will teach you techniques for those bad days when you feel overwhelmed.

    2 Find a body therapist you like and feel comfortable with, and who cares about your well being! Visit them once a week until things feel more manageable and then renegotiate how often is appropriate. You will need direct support in learning how to let go. It is much easier with someone else helping you.

    3 If you are suffering from severe tinnitus, find a tinnitus counsellor or someone who has worked through tinnitus themselves and understands what you are going through. Please avoid practitioners or other tinnitus people promoting negative views on tinnitus. It is important to maintain a clear and positive focus with this condition with caring support.

    4 Reduce stimulants like coffee, chocolate, tea & alcohol. These all raise you adrenaline levels and therefore make you more sensitive to tinnitus! Bring about any change very gradually so it is not stressful for your body. Too much salt and sugar can also make tinnitus worse.

    5 Put aside one part of the day which is for you, where you are not to be disturbed. This means switching off the phone and telling others that you are having some down time. Ideally spend some time relaxing, noticing how you are feeling, and do something which calms the mind. If this is difficult for you because you are too accelerated, unhappy or agitated, then consider visiting a psychotherapist or counsellor who can help you feel more comfortable with yourself. If you cannot fit this in because of your lifestyle, then seriously consider changing your lifestyle!

    6 Learn specific relaxation techniques for when you have a bad day. When things get bad learn to recognise that you have gone into orbit and take positive action. Contact your therapist and go and get support. Do something calming rather than allow your thoughts to run away with themselves. Practice a body calming technique that you have learnt from your classes.

    7 Take regular low-impact exercise that is calming and puts you in touch with your body. e.g. when you walk, feel yourself walking and notice what is going on around you rather than planning, analysing, and thinking furiously in your head.

    8 If you have had thrush/Candida seek the help of a nutritionist or read about this syndrome, which can lead to tinnitus. You may need to avoid sugar, yeast, cheese, bread, wine and beer etc to help your system settle and let go of tinnitus. There is plenty of information in bookshops and on the Internet. This condition can arise after antibiotics, and you might need to take pro-biotics to help balance your gut.

    9 Avoid silence, which can make you more aware of your tinnitus. Learn to choose sounds which are comforting and play/have them in the background. This might include your favourite music, or the sound of a river or the sea. Spend time specifically listening to something you love hearing on a regular basis.

    10 When you find yourself worrying or feeling negative, take positive action. Do something that focuses you, calms you down, and makes you feel better. Don’t stew in your mind.

    11 Start using your tinnitus as a “healthometre”. It will soon tell you if you are doing the right thing because it will calm down. If it has got worse, try and consider what made it worse.

    12 Take a long-term view. Expect things to improve gradually the more you look after yourself, give yourself time out and get support. Your tinnitus will get better the more you feel comfortable in yourself.

    13 Yawning, humming, laughing and sighing are very helpful, especially yawning. This opens up and releases tension in the structures in and around the ears and can release feelings of blockage and discomfort.

    14 Cold showers / baths or oscillating between warm and cold can be very helpful for grounding and bringing down the ringing.

    Julian has written 3 books on tinnitus available on Amazon:

    • Tinnitus, From Tyrant to Friend: How to Let Go of the Ringing in Your Ears
    • A Positive Tinnitus Story
    • The Long Tide to Silence

    Julian runs a psychotherapy and craniosacral therapy practice at Flat 15, 27 Sheldon Square, Paddington, London W2 6DW. Visit his website here.

    Or contact Julian on: 07910 315167

    Cransiosacral therapy for tinnitus – where to find out more

    Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss how we can help manage your tinnitus symptoms. 

    Find out more about tinnitus, it’s causes and  possible treatment therapies on our page: Tinnitus Explained

    Help in Hearing holds regular Tinnitus Support Group events for the Marlow and Farnham Common areas. Visit our page to find out about upcoming events.

     

  • Hearing fitness - the future of hearing aids, an article by Oticon

    The future of hearing aids – HearingFitness by Oticon

    In November we held two Help in Hearing organised Technology Days at the Harleyford Golf Club in Marlow and the South Bucks Golf Club in Stoke Poges. They were very well attended with a total of nearly 70 delegates in all. It was a rare opportunity to ask questions and have discussions directly with each of the leading hearing aid manufacturers. The main venue area was the focus for companies to exhibit all their ranges and accessories. In a separate room a representative from each of our hearing aid partners gave a talk on different aspects of the market and a glimpse into the future. Today we are showing an extract of the Oticon talk on the future of hearing aids and their app HearingFitness, which you can find below, along with a video Oticon showed on the day.

    The future of hearing aids – by Oticon

    We know that smartphones, computers and tablets connect to the internet, but did you know that some ordinary everyday devices – such as fridges, washing machines and doorbells connect to the internet too? This is an area of technology called “The internet of things (IoT)”. It’s one of the fastest growing areas of technology and it has been made more popular recently by systems like Hive and Nest that connect your home heating and lights to the internet.

    Internet of Things (IoT)

    Opn hearing aids are IoT devices too
    Opn hearing aids are IoT devices too!

    Opn hearing aids are IoT devices too! They work with a cloud-based service called “If This Then That” (IFTTT for short). IFTTT connects processes and services of all kinds of brands that wouldn’t normally work together. For example, IF you’re tagged in a photo on Facebook, THEN automatically save that photo to your DropBox account. How might that work with hearing aids, you ask.

    In this example, a visitor presses your internet-connected doorbell. It sends a message to IFTTT, which sends the notification to the ON app on your iPhone. The ON app in turn sends a spoken message to the Opn hearing aids. “Someone is at the door” (or whatever message you like!).

    Right now this service appeals most to people that love their technology. But people of all ages can benefit. For example, a young child or an adult with limited dexterity needs help changing their batteries. IFTTT can send a notification (text, email etc) to a parent, relative or neighbour when the batteries run low.

    HearingFitness

    HearingFitness builds on the general major change in the nature of health care – which is transforming from being reactive to preventive. New technologies can be expected to allow our current, largely reactive mode of medicine (where we wait until the patient is sick before responding) to be replaced over the next 10-20 years by a personalised, predictive, preventive, and participatory (P4) medicine. This P4 approach is the inspiration and vision behind HearingFitness.

    Participatory:

    Participation is key to HearingFitness – the foundation of the other Ps. Clients are given information so that they can better manage and are prepared to make their own decisions. We want to engage and encourage the users to be active partners and involved in their own healthcare.

    Personalised:

    We want to tailor hearing solutions/services to the client and their environment. Create hearing aids that could potentially adjust themselves not only to the user, but also to changes during the day (e.g. more tired in the afternoon), during the week (such as different needs during the week when at work versus during the weekend), and also over time (for example, if hearing deteriorates). We want to provide personalised support based on the specific user’s hearing aid, preferences, etc. This personalisation reaches its full potential when combined with user participation (which is the foundation). We can then use the information from HearingFitness to better understand behavioural patterns, the contexts in which the hearing aids are most used and how/where do people struggle – all these things are important in order to be able to personalise.

    Prediction:

    Oticon HearingFitness app collects data to predict future needs
    Oticon HearingFitness app collects data to predict future needs of hearing aid users

    We will know in advance, through big data, what is best for every hearing aid user. 360 million people worldwide with a hearing loss – imagine the potential data sets. Users are profiled into subgroups that share common features. For example, we will know through monitoring when a user is having trouble hearing and the hearing aids provide extra help.

    Prevention:

    As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We take a life course approach, with early detection and monitoring over time of hearing and health status. Through combining multiple datasets and applying advanced analytics, it is possible to build profile-specific prevention strategies. For example, the hearing aid user could receive an alert if they are exposed to loud noises that could result in further hearing loss. Thereby the HearingFitness technology can help people to remain healthy late in life.

    References:

    Hood, L. & Galas, D. (2008). P4 Medicine: Personalized, Predictive, Preventive, Participatory: A Change of View that Changes Everything: A white paper prepared for the Computing
    Community Consortium committee of the Computing Research Association.

    How HearingFitness works

    HearingFitness is a feature in the ON app for smartphones. When a pair of Oticon hearing aids is connected to the app, it gathers data about how the hearing aids are being used and the type of sound environments the person is spending time in.

    HearingFitness will combine this information with data from the Health App on the smartphone. The specific data taken will depend on the user’s permission during installation.

    Generally, the Health App stores data from apps on the iPhone and Apple Watch. It also works directly with some health and fitness devices. Other devices and data sources (such as HearingFitness) must have a companion app that can access the data and save it to Health App for them.

    Initial release of HearingFitness

    In the initial release, which came out about 2 months ago, the functionality will appear somewhat simple. But as we gather more data we will introduce more and more useful functions, such as making adjustments to the hearing aids according to the user’s preferences, and notifications with suggestions for taking better control of your health.

    When the installation is done, you will be presented with a welcome screen introducing HearingFitness. After pressing ‘Continue’, HearingFitness will open. The first version of HearingFitness will look approximately as shown here. You will be able to see how much the hearing aids are used overall (in hours) as well as how much individual programs are used.

    Oticon Hearing Fitness ON app example
    An example of how the first version of the Oticon Hearing Fitness ON app will look

    In the upper right corner of the screen, you will be able to set a goal for the hearing aid usage. This goal could potentially be set together with your audiologist at the fitting appointment. In the left corner, you will see if the goal is reached – measured in percent. You will then be able to track usage for the specific day, week or month.

    Hearing care is health care

    We know from research that ”hearing care is health care.” It is well-documented that hearing well highly influences how healthy we are. With HearingFitness, Oticon aims to involve people in their own hearing care. We want to help them to make smart decisions about their hearing health and get the most out of their hearing potential with the ultimate goal of improving their overall health.*

    Watch video: Hearing care is health care

     

    HearingFitness – where to find out more

    At Help in Hearing we understand that caring for your hearing health is just as important as caring for the rest of your overall health and wellbeing. By looking after all aspects of your hearing, ear care and hearing protection, we make sure you remain socially active, stay confident in your working environment and ascertain your continuing enjoyment of your hearing health. With our personal and friendly approach we provide personalised hearing care plans offering a continuity of service which is second to none.

    Please get in touch to make an appointment for a hearing check-up or to discuss your hearing concerns.

    Or you can read more about the services we provide and testimonials from our clients here. 

    ** Extract thanks to Oticon from their talk presented by Alison Stone, Audiologist & Head of Training and Mo Butt, Reg Business Development Manager.

  • Technology days video footage

    Technology Days Video Footage

    In November 2018 we held events at South Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Stoke Poges and the Harleyford Golf Club in Marlow. At the events, seven hearing aid manufacturers presented the latest innovations in hearing aid technology. This short video shows footage from the two days.

    We’d like to thank everyone who attended the days and also all the manufacturers who attended and presented.

     

     

    Thank you to our hearing technology manufacturers for their talks:

    Widex
    Unitron
    Oticon
    Signia
    Starkey
    Resound
    Phonak

  • What are the different styles of hearing aids available?

    If you’re considering hearing aids, you may find the different types confusing. In this blog post, you can discover more about the different styles of hearing aids available today.

    Totally Invisible Hearing Aid LyricTotally invisible

    The Phonak Lyric is the world’s first 100% invisible hearing aid. It is placed entirely inside your ear canal by a trained audiologist, remaining completely invisible from view. The Lyric requires no daily changing/insertion, no batteries, no filters and is sweat-proof, shower-proof and remains in place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months at a time.

    IIC Hearing Aid Phonak Virto B TitaniumInvisible in the canal

    The Invisible In Canal hearing aid (IIC) fits deep in the ear, completely out of view past the second bend of the ear canal, providing an invisible fit. The cosmetic advantages of this hearing aid can appeal to a wide variety of people and cater for mild to moderately severe hearing losses.

    BTE Hearing Aid Starkey Muse wireless miniBTEBehind the ear

    This hearing aid is the most versatile and suits all types of hearing difficulties. It can amplify sounds more than any other kind of digital hearing aid. However, it is the most visible as it hooks over the top of your ear.

    Styletto colour rangeOpen fit

    This is a scaled-down version of the previous hearing aid and thus is a lot smaller in size. Therefore, they tend to be of help to those who have mild to moderate hearing difficulty.

    CIC Hearing Aid Primax Deep RedCompletely in the canal (CIC) hearing aid

    This hearing aid style is one that is actually moulded so that it fits completely inside the individual’s ear canal. A lot of people go for this option as it is the least visible and thus people don’t tend to notice it. A completely in the canal hearing aid tends to be best suited for those who have mild to moderate hearing loss. Because it’s inside the ear it is also easy to use with devices, such as mobile phones. And it is unlikely that you will pick up a lot of environmental noise, such as wind.

    In the canal hearing aids - ITCIn the canal (ITC) hearing aid

    The difference between this hearing aid and the one mentioned previously is the fact that an in the canal hearing aid only fits partially into the ear canal. Nonetheless, it still treats mild to moderate hearing loss, as does a completely in the canal device. The benefit this type of hearing aid has over the one just mentioned is the fact that you can typically benefit from added features, such as volume control.

    In the ear hearing aids - ITEFull shell in the ear (ITE) hearing aid

    This type of device treats a wider range of people as it can help those who have severe hearing loss. Nonetheless, the downside is that the full shell device is a lot more visible than other digital hearing aids. This is because it covers the majority of the ear’s bowl-shaped part. However, you benefit from longer battery life and ease of use. After all, this hearing aid is a lot easier to insert in comparison to the ITC options.

    Half shell hearing aid

    And finally, the difference between this hearing aid and the one previously mentioned is the fact that it only covers the lower part of your ear. Because of this, it only has the scope to treat up to moderate loss of hearing. This is a great option for those who are looking for something in between a full shell and an in the canal device.

    Different styles of hearing aids – where to find out more

    If you think you or a loved one may need hearing assistance, read more on our Hearing Consultation page, where we describe the process involved in having a full audiology assessment at one of our hearing clinics, either in Farnham Common or Marlow, in Buckinghamshire. 

    Or please get in touch to discuss your hearing requirements.

  • How to drive safely with hearing loss

    How to drive safely with hearing loss – top tips revealed

    While the sense of sight is the most important aspect when driving, the sense of hearing is equally helpful. It helps you hear the raucous horn of an irritated driver, detect approaching emergency vehicles, or even remind you that your indicators are on. People with hearing loss do not drive any more dangerously than other drivers. However, it never hurts to take extra safety precautions when on the road. Keep these tips on how to drive safely with hearing loss in mind anytime you’re behind the wheel:

    Eliminate distractions

    Due to technological advancements, today’s hearing aids are marvels. They feature sensitive microphones tailored to differentiate between background noises and speech. Even with hearing aids, it’s very important to avoid any form of distractions.

    Here’s what you need to do:

    • Reduce your car’s audio volume
    • If you have passengers, ask them to keep their conversation to a minimum
    • Always close your car window
    • Avoid using your phone, drinking, eating

    Use your vision (rely on visual clues)

    Your sight should compensate for your reduced hearing ability. While good sight is essential for all drivers, it’s a must-have if you’re suffering from hearing loss.

    Some of the things you can do to amplify your vision include:

    • Always ensure your windows and windscreen are clean
    • Buy an extended rear view mirror
    • Keep your attention focused and eyes on the road
    • Be on the lookout for flashing lights at railway crossings and on approaching vehicles

    Have a set of hearing aids to improve your hearing performance

    Another way of becoming a safer driver is by purchasing and using hearing aids. They make it effortless to focus on sounds (warning signals, sirens, and horns) which matter on the road.

    Do you already own hearing aids? If yes, take these extra precautions when you’re driving:

    • Have your hearing assessed frequently
    • Always wear your hearing aids when driving
    • Always have an additional set of batteries

    Your car must be in top condition at all times

    For drivers with hearing loss, keeping a car in optimum working condition is an absolute necessity. Strange car noises might occur unheard, which can turn out to be a safety hazard not only to you and your passengers, but to other drivers as well. Consequently, you must stay up to date when it comes to routine maintenance to ensure the vehicle is in top condition. 

    Whether you have hearing challenges or hear well, there’s no doubt that driving demands a lot of responsibility. Part of the responsibility is to take care of your safety and that of others on the road. The above are just some of the tips to help you drive safely with hearing loss.

    How to drive safely with hearing loss – where to find out more

    If you think your hearing needs to be assessed, do get in touch with us and we can arrange a thorough hearing check-up. We also now provide several brands of hearing aids that are rechargeable so if you’re travelling away from home you can take your charger with you and not have to rely on batteries. 

    Image: Driving a car by Erik Starck licensed under Creative commons 4

  • Innovations in hearing aid technology

    Innovations in hearing aid technology

    For many people, innovations and hearing aid technology are not phrases that fit naturally together. However, for anyone who uses a hearing aid, it’s comforting to know that the industry is advancing and evolving just as much as any technology sector, bringing about increases in efficiency and offering users additional features. Here are some of the biggest innovations in hearing aid technology that 2018 has brought us so far.

    1. OVP (own voice processing)

    A revolutionary new feature of hearing aids is OVP, which allows the user to hear their own voice differently from everything else. By using a completely separate computer system which is dedicated to adapting and modulating the user’s own voice, it reduces the sound and quality problems that often come with users hearing their own speech. In addition, it means that those hearing aid users who would have traditionally been fitted with open dome aids can now be fitted with closed domes instead, without any auditory occlusion being caused.

    2. Real-time care

    As with everything, hearing aids are moving into the digital world, and a great new innovation is remote assistance and real-time care. For users who are experiencing a problem with their digital hearing aid, some companies provide real-time care through the use of an app, which can be downloaded straight onto a tablet or smartphone. This means that you or your remote audiologist can make changes to the features and settings of your hearing aid via the app, solving the problem quickly and easily, without the need to visit your audiology clinic for a minor adjustment.

    3. Rechargeable hearing aids

    While rechargeable hearing aids have existed previously, their capabilities were limited, with a short battery life. They were also usually only available with certain types of hearing devices, usually a receiver in canal hearing aids. However, this year has brought about a huge increase in the amount of lithium ion rechargeable hearing aids so that most aids now have the rechargeable option. A further development soon scheduled for release is Fuel Cell technology which means that aids will only need to be charged for minutes and yet will last for hours.

    Innovations in hearing aid technology – where to find out more

    Please see our “Hearing Aid Types” page for an idea of how we can help you. For a full hearing assessment or just some advice on solutions that would suit your hearing and your lifestyle, please contact us.

    Attend our technology days – November 2018

    We are holding two technology days to showcase the latest launches by all the leading hearing aid manufacturers. There will be a mini exhibition open to the public to show just how far innovations in hearing aid technology have progressed. See and feel the latest models and find out how they can enhance your hearing better than ever. Combined with this, there will be a series of talks on each day which will give you an insight into future technology that is almost hard to believe, from aids that will translate from a foreign language to devices that will link with apps to monitor your health. To find out more, see our Technology Days announcement.

     

    Image: nicely dressed woman using her phone in a car by perzonseo licensed under Creative commons 4