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

  • What to expect at a hearing assessment

    What to expect at a hearing assessment

    With 11 million people in the UK having some level of hearing loss, getting a hearing assessment is essential to enjoying healthy hearing for as long as possible. An audiologist is specially trained to diagnose, monitor and treat conditions that affect your hearing and so is skilled in carrying our hearing assessments. So what should you expect from an experienced audiologist at your hearing assessment?

    Conversation and compassion

    In addition to taking a thorough medical history, your audiologist should take the time during your hearing assessment to listen to your needs, find out if you have any concerns about your hearing and learn about your hopes and expectations for your hearing health.

    Comprehensive testing

    Comprehensive hearing test
    Comprehensive hearing test

    Next comes your actual hearing assessment, which is neither invasive nor painful. It starts with a physical examination of your outer ear using a special device called an otoscope, followed by an examination of the health of your middle ear using tympanometry.

    Then the hearing tests begin. These are carried out in a comfortable, controlled sound environment, such as an audiology booth. Your audiologist will assess your ability to hear tones played at different volumes and pitches, as well as your ability to understand speech against different levels of background noise.

    As everyone’s hearing health is different, your audiologist may need to carry out some additional tests during your hearing assessment to get a clearer idea of any hearing problems you may have, all of which are also non-invasive and painless.

    Personalised treatment

    Personalised treatment from your audiologist
    Personalised treatment from your audiologist

    The results of your tests will be fully explained during your hearing assessment so that you have a clear understanding of your hearing health. If your results reveal that you require treatment to improve your hearing, your audiologist will put together a treatment plan that works for your hearing needs, as well as your lifestyle and budget.

    Ongoing support

    Ongoing support from our team
    The Help in Hearing team

    Your relationship with your audiologist doesn’t end once you’ve had your hearing assessment and received treatment. For those who have experienced hearing loss, adjusting to life with hearing aids takes time. Follow-up appointments with your audiologist can provide you with the support and advice you need to enjoy your newfound healthier hearing.

    Hearing assessment – where to find out more

    If you are concerned about your hearing health or simply want peace of mind with a routine check-up of your hearing, Help in Hearing is on hand. Our experienced audiologists in Buckinghamshire are ready and waiting to give you a full hearing assessment.

    To book your appointment at our Farnham Common or Marlow clinic, fill in our online form or call us today on 0345 222 0579.

  • 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.

  • What are cochlear implants?

    What are cochlear implants?

    About cochlear implants

    Cochlear implants can provide viable hearing alternatives to anybody who doesn’t benefit from typical hearing aids. They consist of a receiver which is implanted in the mastoid bone, behind the ear and electrodes which are implanted into the cochlea (inner ear). The microphone and speech processor are located externally and they convert sounds into electrical impulses which are transmitted to the electrodes implanted in the inner ear. The electrodes use the auditory nerve to communicate these signals to the brain, which perceives the impulses as sound.

    Who uses cochlear implants?

    Around 7,500 people in the UK are considered audiologically suitable for a cochlear implant and there are currently around 11,000 people already utilising cochlear implants. Children or adults with severe or profound deafness could well benefit from cochlear implants. Additionally, cochlear implants can make a real difference to anybody who struggles with the use of traditional hearing aids. Bone conducting hearing implants are another form of implanted hearing treatment, which can benefit anyone with conductive or mixed hearing loss. Around 10,000 people in the UK currently use bone conducting hearing implants.

    About bone conducting hearing implants

    A bone conducting hearing implant is suitable for people with single-sided deafness and will transmit sound to the good ear. People with conductive hearing loss experience a problem with sound travelling freely to the cochlea, which could be caused by abnormalities in the structure of the ear or blockages, due to excess ear wax or middle ear fluids. A mixed hearing loss is a result of the loss of hair cells within the cochlea or the hearing nerve.

    Bone conducting hearing implants work via direct bone conduction and are independent of the ear and the ear canal. They consist of a small titanium screw which is implanted into the skull to provide an anchor for the sound processor and an abutment which is attached to the screw and provides a base for the sound processor. The sound processor acts in a way that’s similar to the middle ear and converts sound waves into vibrations which can be passed to the inner ears.

    Cochlear implants – where to get more information

    We are pleased to have been appointed as a reseller of the Advanced Bionics (AB) range of cochlear implant accessories and components, including AquaCase – the world’s first waterproof case for cochlear implant recipients. These accessories set the standard in quality and innovation, while allowing recipients to customise their AB sound processors to fit their needs—all weather, all sports, all terrain, all ages and all lifestyles. Please get in touch if you’d like to talk to us about cochlear implant accessories.

    You can read about the accessories we provide in our Cochlear Implant Accessories section.

  • Hearing Aid Myths

    Common hearing aid myths

    Technology is changing at a very fast pace, and it’s hard to keep up—with computers, with cell phones, and with hearing aids. If you’ve had experience with hearing aids in the past, or even if you’ve just heard about previous generations of hearing technology, it’s very likely that you have some misconceptions. Read our common hearing aid myths below to find out the truth.

    Hearing Aid Myths

    Let’s say you want to buy a phone, but your concept of a telephone includes a rotary dial: you’d be operating under some outdated ideas, wouldn’t you? The same holds true with hearing aids. Technology has changed a lot—even in just the last five years. If you are considering hearing aids, the best thing you can do is to dismiss any pre-existing ideas you have about hearing technology and then do your research with a clean slate. Here’s a bit of myth-busting to get you started.

    Hearing Aid Myth 1. Hearing aids are only for old people – or they’ll make me feel old

    People think having hearing aids means that you’re old, but that’s just not the case anymore. In fact, about two-thirds of those with hearing loss are younger than 64 years old. Hearing loss has many causes and affects people of all ages.

    Wearable assistive technology is becoming more and more prevalent across age groups, as well. From wrist-bands that track your movement to in-ear Bluetooth devices to Google Glass, people are wearing technology for all kinds of reasons, making hearing aids a bit more status quo.

    Hearing Aid Myth 2. Hearing aids are big, bulky, and unsightly

    Today’s hearing aids are considerably smaller and more discreet than ever before, and they come in a wide range of colours, just like watches, handbags, and mobile phones. There are even hearing aids that can be placed completely within the ear canal so as to be totally invisible.

    Selma Becker, owner and senior audiologist at Help in Hearing, agrees that the big, bulky hearing aid is a thing of the past. “Definitely people have this misconception: they think of the brown banana-shaped hearing aid, the huge BTE [behind-the-ear] hearing aid,” she says. “Things have changed so much: hearing aids are stylish; they’re discreet; they’re easy to use.”

    Hearing Aid Myth 3. Hearing aids are only for people with severe hearing loss

    Anyone who’s seen fuzzy newsprint spring into focus when they put on a pair of reading glasses can tell you that vision correction isn’t just for people with severe myopia. In the same way, hearing aids can greatly assist people with mild to moderate hearing loss, and many models are intended for just that. Even with mild hearing loss, you may be missing out on conversations with grandchildren, the sounds of birds singing, elements of your favorite music, and more.

    It’s also important to correct hearing loss when it first begins, for a variety of reasons. Treating hearing loss isn’t just cosmetic. We hear with our brains, we don’t really hear with our ears. The ears just turn the sound into a signal that the brain can interpret. Controlling our hearing pathways also seems to help with memory, helps people connect socially, and all of those factors contribute to ageing in a more graceful way. It lets you live your life on your own terms. Also the longer a person has gone with hearing loss, the more rehabilitation and “re-forging of neural pathways” they need in order to accurately translate sound into meaning again.

    Hearing Loss Myths 

    Hearing Aid Myth 4. Hearing aids make everything sound too loud

    This is another thing that has changed. Thirty years ago, people were always fiddling with their hearing aids, turning them up, turning them down. A lot of times it was an all-or-nothing thing. But nowadays, hearing aids can be adjusted in extremely minute increments. Many have a variety of programs you can use for various situations: some will adjust automatically, and some have remote controls for discrete adjustment. It’s important to continue working with your audiologist until you’ve got the right fit.

    Hearing Aid Myth 5. Hearing aids can’t help with my tinnitus

    Nowadays, some hearing aids come with a special tinnitus program that provides background noise or other features to help minimise the effects of tinnitus. By reducing the effect of the tinnitus while simultaneously increasing hearing, especially through digital streaming to both ears, this technology can make an enormous difference.

    Tinnitus

    Hearing Aid Myth 6. I only need one hearing aid because I only have hearing loss in one ear

    Sound comes from every direction. Certainly, wearing a hearing aid in one ear will help in a one to one and quiet situation. However, most people lose their hearing in both ears and in order to maintain the balance of sound, which allows the brain to recognise where sound is originating from, we need to wear hearing aids in both ears. These advanced digital hearing systems stream constant messages between each other, measuring and calculating sound in real time, making it much easier to understand speech in really challenging and noisy background situations.

    Hearing Aid Myth 7. Hearing aid representatives are untrustworthy

    As with any professional you choose, from solicitor to dentist, you should always make sure you feel completely comfortable with your hearing care professional. Some things to ask about include:

    • Professional accreditations: Read more about buying hearing aids privately in this Which? report
    • Philosophy and approach to treating hearing loss
    • Professional experience
    • Commitment to your community
    • Particular experience with the kind of hearing loss you have
    • References

    Hearing Aid Myth 8. Follow ups aren’t necessary; they’re just a way for audiologists to charge me more money.

    On the contrary, follow-up visits are the only way to make sure your hearing aids are adjusted properly and working optimally. Using state-of-the-art equipment for example, we can tell how well the hearing aid is performing and measure what is coming out of the hearing aid and make adjustments as necessary. Ongoing aftercare is vital to ensure you are getting the best possible hearing quality from your hearing aids. I can’t tell you the number of clients who have come to us from some of the national chains where there was no after-care and the client abandoned their hearing aids after a few weeks because there wasn’t an opportunity to go back and have them adjusted. Our ongoing aftercare is part of the price of the hearing aids, and includes follow up visits from the initial supply and fitting of the hearing aids to six monthly check ups, annual reviews and a walk in cleaning/repair service at our Farnham Common practice.

    Hearing Aid Myth 9. Hearing aids will work perfectly right away, like putting on a pair of glasses

    Treating loss of hearing is quite a bit different than treating loss of vision, and it almost always takes a couple of sessions to get things just right. This is partly a matter of making sure the hearing aids are adjusted correctly, but also of re-training the brain to interpret and prioritise sounds. We’ve noticed that the biggest surprise for new hearing aid users is how noisy the world is!

    Audiologists use specific techniques to help minimise the surprise of hearing again. Usually, with a first fitting, we don’t set the hearing aids to the full prescription, instead allowing patients to adjust incrementally. It can take about three visits to get the hearing aids completely dialed in. People have to retrain their brains to filter out some of those loud sounds and also re-learn what sounds require their attention. The ticking of the clock and the hum of the fridge are sounds they may not have heard for a while, and it takes time to train the brain to ignore them again.

    After a while, though, the important sounds stand out. People can hear their grandchildren, not just pretend that they did, they can hear the impact sound when they hit their golf ball, but it all takes time to adjust to these sounds.

    Hearing Aids

    Hearing Aid Myth 10. If I don’t like my hearing aids, I’m stuck with them. It’s a big decision and I won’t know if I’m making the right one until it’s too late

    Through a process of detailed testing and examination, we make sure that the right hearing product is chosen for you. We then work with you to make sure that the chosen product is right, by having regular reviews. At Help in Hearing, we’re there to provide whatever suport you need after the initial purchase of your hearing aids. On many occasions we find that a client’s hearing aid needs adjusting or reprogramming to suit different circumstances and environments, and this is all part of the service we offer, for the life of your hearing aids. This type of ongoing service and support is not always available from the national chains, even though they may seem cheaper at first glance.

    Hearing aids – How to find out more

    If you’d like to discuss whether you need hearing aids, please contact us (see links below) to discuss your needs. We can carry out a full hearing test at a time to suit you. 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 you wish to proceed with our recommendation.

    To get in touch, please email us or call us on 0345 222 0579. Alternatively please fill our our contact form.

  • 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
      Measles
      Meningitis
      Mumps
      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.

  • Independent audiologists provide better care

    Hear Better This Year – Your New Year’s Resolution

    Another new year is here and you may have decided this year to eat more healthily, exercise more and take care of yourself better. If that’s the case, make sure you include looking after your hearing as a priority. We explain why your new year’s resolution should be to hear better this year.

    58% of people have never had their hearing checked

    The hearing aid manufacturer Phonak has found that that while most people get their eyesight, blood pressure and teeth checked on a regular basis, 58% of people have never had their hearing checked – that’s despite 30% of those surveyed thinking it should be checked up to once a year.

    Not knowing hearing tests are available, where to find them or thinking they can’t afford them are the reasons 42% cite for not having their hearing checked more regularly. Over a quarter (27%), meanwhile, just ‘get by ok’.

    Why you should have your hearing checked regularly

    It’s a good idea to have a hearing check-up regularly so you can be sure any changes in your hearing are picked up earlier than you might notice yourself, and so that any preventable problems can be avoided.

    Hearing tests are free at Help in Hearing

    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.

    A professional audiologist will examine your ears with a Video-Otoscope, giving you the opportunity to have a look into your own ears on a screen.

    After the completion of various tests, including speech comprehension, loudness tolerance and middle ear pressure tests, the results will be explained and solutions recommended appropriate for your personal requirements.

    We always recommend you bring either your spouse, a friend or relative to the initial consultation as it will take approximately one and a half hours when a lot of information will be passed on.

    Book your hearing test now

    Give yourself peace of mind this New Year and come down to our specialist hearing clinics situated near Gerrards Cross and Marlow to have an extensive hearing test. You can see more information about what is covered in one of our hearing tests here.

  • Lyric hearing aids

    Lyric Hearing Aids are Extended Wear – What Does That Mean?

    Only Lyric hearing aids can be worn day and night for up to 4 months at a time.  Lots of people avoid wearing a hearing aid because they are apprehensive about people knowing they have a hearing loss, or because they do not want the day-to-day hassle associated with a hearing aid.  With Lyric there is no battery changing or day-to-day cleaning or handling required.  Many people who wear Lyric say that they don’t actually feel like they wear a hearing aid, because they do not have this daily reminder. On top of this, Lyric is 100% invisible.

    Lyric hearing aids can be worn while exercising, sleeping and showering

    Lyric hearing aids can be worn while exercising, sleeping and showering.  The only time Lyric hearing aids should be removed is if you decide to go scuba diving, sky diving or if you’re having an MRI scan.

    Lots of people with a hearing loss are concerned about not hearing well at night – particularly if they live alone or have young children to look after.  With Lyric you have the option of leaving your devices switched ON at night, giving you peace of mind that you will be alerted to sounds.  Alternatively if you do not want to be disturbed, Lyric can be switched to the OFF position with the SoundLync and therefore acts as an effective ear plug, blocking out all external sounds. In addition to this there is a SLEEP setting, which means that your Lyric hearing aids become acoustically transparent, meaning that you hear the way you did without your Lyrics in place.

    For a confidential discussion about Lyric hearing aids, please contact us. We have hearing clinics in Marlow and Farnham Royal (Slough).

    Find out more about Lyric hearing aids in our Lyric website section.

  • Lyric hearing aids

    Lyric Hearing Aids Compared to Other Hearing Aids

    If Lyric Hearing Aids are new to you, here is a handy guide, comparing the Lyric with traditional hearing aids.

    Very natural sound quality

    Apart from the physical differences between the Lyric hearing aids and traditional hearing aids, 88% of Lyric users agree that the Lyric’s sound quality is very natural.* The Lyric is designed to have both its speaker and receiver located completely in the ear canal. This deep canal position provides many benefits in sound quality, for example reduced occlusion, feedback and improved localisation.

    Wear Lyric 24 x 7

    Lyric hearing aids can also be worn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months at a time (individual replacement needs may vary). Unlike traditional hearing aids that are taken out each night or when a user gets in the shower, Lyric hearing aids remain in the user’s ear for the life of the hearing aid.

    The Lyric hearing aid is providing many of the benefits patients desire that they may not have experienced from their other hearing aids.

    Below you will see photographs showing the different types of traditional hearing aid and the main facts about them, compared to the Lyric Invisible Hearing Aid.

    Traditional Daily Wear Hearing Devices

    open-fit-hearing-aid  completely-in-the-canal-hearing-aid  behind-the-ear-hearing-aid  in-the-ear-hearing-aid

     Traditional hearing aid main facts:

    • Visible
    • Daily insertion
    • Often removed when exercising, sleeping or showering
    • Replace or charge batteries every 4-10 days and repair as needed
    • Purchase new devices every few years
    • Numerous brands available

     

    Extended Wear Hearing Device

    lyric-hearing-aid

    Lyric hearing aids main facts:

    • 100% invisible
    • Worn 24×7 for months at a time
    • Can be worn during: exercising, sleeping, showering, talking on the phone
    • No batteries to replace, no device repairs required
    • Purchase annual subscription
    • One option available: Lyric™ Hearing

    Quick Guide to Lyric Hearing Aids Comparison

    lyric-hearing-aids-comparison-table

    Please click to find out more about the Lyric Hearing Aids we supply.

    *Based on a telephone survey of 100 patients who have worn Lyric for at least 30 days.

  • How are Lyric hearing aids fitted?

    How are Lyric hearing aids fitted?

    Lyric hearing aids are completely invisible and are the world’s first hearing aids which can be worn for extended periods of time. You can wear your Lyric hearing aids 24/7 for months without battery changes; you can wear them close up without anyone seeing them; and you wear them sleeping – no need to take them out when you go to bed.

    Getting started with the Lyric hearing aid is a simple, comfortable and non-invasive process.

    Your first appointment

    Your Lyric professional audiologist will give you a full hearing test and will also spend time with you to discuss your medical history and lifestyle requirements to make sure that the Lyric hearing aid is the most suitable choice for you.

    If we discover that you have any hearing loss, we will then let you know if this is in both ears or just one. This determines if you need one or two Lyric hearing aids.

    Having established that the Lyric hearing aid is right for you, we will carry out a thorough examination of the shape and condition of your ear canal – this is to make sure that the Lyric will sit snugly and comfortably in your ear, which avoids the problems of occlusion* and feedback.**

    Once we all agree that the Lyric hearing aid is right for you, we will measure your ear and the device will be placed in both ears (if the hearing loss is across both ears) or the ear with the hearing loss. We will then programme the Lyric to match your hearing test results.

    After your first appointment you may need to come back and see us for a follow-up appointment to make some minor adjustments to the positioning or the programming of the Lyric hearing aid/s.

    You will wear your Lyric hearing aids until they are no longer working, up to a maximum of 120 days. The amount of time the Lyrics function can vary between individuals. When your Lyric device needs to be replaced, just come back to us and we will fit you with a brand new device.

    Watch the video below to see how the Lyric invisible hearing aid is fitted.

     

    Adapting to hearing with your Lyric hearing aids

    Hearing clearly can take time to get used to – even if you are a previous hearing aid user you are going to be hearing lots of unfamiliar sounds with your Lyrics which you may not have heard for years! We can give you more information on this but if you are concerned at any time just give us a call.

    Adapting to the feel of the Lyric hearing aid

    As Lyric is placed deep in your ear canal it may take a little bit of time to get used to the feel of it in your ear. You may experience some discomfort during the first days and up to two weeks after the initial fitting.

    Please use the following classification for your sensation after the fitting:  After this initial settling period, most Lyric users forget that their Lyric hearing aid is even there!

    If you experience any itching during the first few days, simply massage the side of the ear until it subsides. Do not push, pull or scratch your ear. For the first few days try not to sleep with direct pressure on your ear; adjust your pillows or try to sleep on your back until Lyric settles.

    Can I change the settings of my Lyric hearing aid?

    We will programme your Lyric to match your hearing loss and due to the device’s fitting position there is no need to change any settings to adjust for the listening situation you are in (unlike other hearing aids). However there may be situations where you will want to be able to turn your Lyric hearing aid up or down, put it into sleep mode, switch it off or remove it – therefore when you try the Lyric hearing aid we will give you instructions on how to do this.

    If you think Lyric hearing aids might be right for you, please contact us to make a completely confidential appointment.

    Or you can read more about Lyric hearing aids on our Lyric pages.

    Also read our article: “Lyric hearing aid frequently asked questions.”

    * Occlusion: People who wear other hearing aid types often complain that their ear feels blocked up and that sounds, in particular their own voice, are echoey and unnatural. This is known as occlusion. When you speak, vibrations from your vocal cords vibrate the bones in your skull and jaw, which can cause this strange effect to your own voice. Normally when there is nothing blocking the ear, these vibrations escape with no issue. The Lyric hearing aid avoids this issue because the Lyric is placed so deep in the ear canal, the vibrations are absorbed by the device. Most people find that they have little or no occlusion issues when they are wearing a Lyric hearing aid.

    ** Feedback:  Another common complaint of hearing aid users is a whistling noise, which can be both distracting and embarrassing for the person who is wearing them. This whistling noise is called feedback. Feedback happens when sound coming out of the hearing aid receiver gets back into the microphone and is reprocessed. This sound goes around in a loop and gets louder, causing a whistling sound. As the Lyric hearing aid is placed in the ear canal and sealed against the canal walls, the amount of sound that can escape is reduced – meaning whistling is a thing of the past.

Hearing Health Event October, Marlow

Thursday, October 3rd 2019

Hearing Health Event October, Marlow